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German solar body warns of 'severe damage' to industry as subsidy cap looms

The German solar association is urging lawmakers to speed up the implementation of new renewables legislation, laid out in a September 2019 draft which, if transposed into law, would see the country's current 52-GW cap on solar subsidies lifted, paving the way for more installations.

BSW Solar said in an open letter on Jan. 9 that, with 50 GW of capacity currently installed in Germany, the 52-GW threshold could be reached by April. "There is an acute need for action," the group said. "Even a temporary subsidy stop for new solar units would cause a collapse in demand, resulting in severe damage to the solar industry."

The government's credibility on climate policy, as well as investor confidence, would sink if the subsidies were allowed to expire, the group added.

The way forward for renewables in Germany, which is also planning its exit from coal power, is subject to fierce debate. A lack of agreement on the issue meant that the finalization of the legislation was pushed to March 2020.

BSW Solar asked in its letter that lawmakers scrap the capacity cap via a fast-tracked early bill "in the beginning of the year," and follow up with a plan for the expansion of renewables in the spring.