3.3 GW of PV in 2013 in Germany
Germany's Network Agency has published PV installation figures for December 2013, showing that the country came in within its target corridor of 2.5-3.5 GW of newly installed solar capacity for the first time since the corridor was introduced. The solar sector nonetheless emphasizes the downside – the market shrank by more than 50 percent year-over-year.
According to the latest press release by Germany's Network Agency (in German), around 166 MW of PV was newly installed in December, bringing the country up to 3.3 GW for the year. Now that the country has returned to its target corridor, feed-in tariffs for new arrays will no longer drop each month by 1.4 percent, as was the case in the previous quarter, but rather by 1.0 percent.
Keep in mind that these rate reductions only apply to new systems; they do not represent retroactive reductions in rates paid to systems already installed, which are locked in for 20 years at the feed-in tariff applicable during the month when the array was connected to the grid.
The highest feed-in tariff, which is paid to the smallest arrays, this month is 13.55 cents per kilowatt-hour. On April 1, this rate for systems smaller than 10 kilowatts (generally, homeowners) will drop to 13.28 cents. By that time, the rate for the largest system size still applicable (1-10 MW) will have fallen to 9.19 cents.
In 2012, some 7.6 GW of PV was installed, so the market has shrunk by more than half. Indeed, from 2010-2012, Germany average around 7.5 GW. Obviously, there have been a lot of job losses among installers, who now only have half as much work, but the solar manufacturers also continue to struggle. Last week, the German government announced that the sector only employed 4,800 people at the end of the year, compared to 10,200 at the beginning of the previous year.
In 2012, jobs in the renewables sector overall stagnated in Germany mainly because so many jobs were cut in the solar industry. (Craig Morris)