PV system size still diverse in Germany
French consultant and sustainable energy expert Bernard Chabot updates Germany's PV installation data in terms of system size vis-à-vis market share, compares it with the 2009-2011 distribution and draws some practical conclusions.
From detailed data published on the BundesNetzAgentur (BNetzA) web site, it is possible to describe and analyze the distribution of PV power in Germany versus the number of systems installed from January to April 2012 (for the figures from 2009-2011, see this recent article).
The 2,328.3 MW registered in the BNetzA data base during those four months are distributed across 73,756 systems. Table 1 summarizes the results using 11 classes of power (9 used in Germany from January to April 2012, compared to 10 on 2009-2011).
The general distribution is quite the same as from 2009-2011: one third of the power is from systems larger than 300 kWp (1 % of all systems, none larger than 21 MW), around one third from systems larger than 30 kW and up to 300 kW (13.6 % of systems), and a third from systems up to 30 kW (85.4 % of systems).
Within this general distribution, minor changes have occurred in the four first months of 2012 compared to the three years 2009-2011. Table 2 and figure 1 detail those changes.
The largest share of registered power is still in the 10 to 30 kW class, followed by the 30 to 100 kW and by a second lower maximum for the 3 to 10 MW range. The classes from 100 to 300 kW have increased their share. The classes from 1 to 30 MW present a slightly decreasing percentage, and there were no systems registered in the classes above 30 MW.
Some conclusions can already been drawn from the above analysis of the German PV market structure and deployment:
• Managing annual quantities installed from changes in feed-in tariffs now seems effective in Germany. But this result has to be confirmed in the remaining months of 2012 after the end of the period of installation in 2012 of large projects not grid-connected at the end of 2011. The effects of short term feed-in tariffs changes will have also to be analyzed.
• Diversity in PV systems power ranges and its related advantages is still present during the four 2012 months under analysis. Potential consequences on this diversity from future regulation and feed-in tariffs should be assessed as accurately as possible.
• This experience and those results can be now applied to define short-term annual installed power targets taking into account medium and long-term ones, together with regional and industrial policies requirements.
• As it is already the case in Germany, detailed, transparent and public data base on registered systems and their performance is a valuable and reliable tool to design, assess and decide changes in regulation and feed-in tariffs or other incentives. (Bernard Chabot / Craig Morris)