German solar industry in favour of limits: executive

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2012 10:03 AM

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - A goal of limiting new installations of solar panel capacity to 3,500-5,000 megawatt (MW) a year makes sense, Frank Asbeck, board member at BSW, Germany's largest solar industry association, said on Thursday.

"This would have worked in 2011, if the German market had not been flooded by Chinese modules at dumping prices by the end of the year," he said.

German solar industry representatives meet with Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen later on Thursday to discuss ways to address soaring demand for solar modules.

New solar installations reached a record 7.5 gigawatts (GW) in Germany in 2011, playing into the hands of advocates for steeper cuts in tariff subsidies.

Additions in December alone amounted to 3 GW, the German network agency said, citing preliminary figures and noting that pace could spur a 15 percent cut in tariffs under the feed-in law for renewable energy from July if unabated.

Asbeck, who is also chief executive of No.2 German solar group SolarWorld, suggests instead that feed-in tariffs for solar power should be cut in several small steps each year.

Another option would be to pay higher tariffs for solar power generated in the northern part of Germany, where exposure to sunshine is lower, and lower ones in the south, an industry source told Reuters.

Solar power accounts for about 3 percent of Germany's energy mix but nearly half of the total 17.1 billion euros ($21.9 billion) paid for renewable energy by consumers.

(Reporting by Anneli Palmen; Writing by Christoph Steitz; editing by Jason Neely)