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German solar growth revives as 579 MW capacity added in Jan

Highlights

February output up 18% year on year at 2.4 TWh

52 GW solar cap could be reached next year

2018 saw highest growth since 2013, with 3 GW added

London — Some 579 MW of new German solar capacity were added in January as last year's revival gathered pace, data from grid regulator BNetzA showed Thursday.

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In 2018, some 3 GW of solar PV capacity were installed, a five-year high, but still below the boom years of 2010-2012, when 7 GW/year were added.

Total German solar capacity now stands at 46.508 GW.

The current rate of growth indicated the country's 52 GW solar cap, above which no more subsidies will be available for roof-top installations, could be reached as early as next year.

That has prompted solar, housing and green associations to call on the government to abolish the cap.

"The solar cap stems from a different time," the head of Germany's BSW solar association, Carsten Koenig, said Wednesday.

"The federal government has recognized in the meantime that significantly more solar capacity would be needed to achieve the climate targets," he said.

Germany's solar market splits into three distinct segments: ground-based solar projects above 0.75 MW in size, with sliding premium contracts awarded via competitive auction commercial roof-top projects of 40-750 kW, where feed-in tariffs are to be cut to Eur89/MWh from April residential roof-top units up to 40 kW, where feed-in subsidies remain above Eur100/MWh, and where a tenant bonus encourages community projects.

Germany's latest ground-based solar auction, for 500 MW, is set to close Friday. The last tender cleared at an average Eur46.90/MWh ($53.5/MWh).

Subsidy-free development is just emerging, with EnBW lining up two utility-scale PV projects for 2020 that it says will be viable without support.

Meanwhile preliminary TSO data show German solar output in February of 2.4 TWh, 18% up on year with 11 days recording 20 GW-plus peaks.

German solar generated 46 TWh last year, covering 8% of national electricity demand. Almost three quarters of this was produced during the summer season (April to September).

-- Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Dan Lalor, newsdesk@spglobal.com

Tighter EU carbon market set to prompt more power fuel switching in Europe

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