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Germany adds 459 MW of solar PV in Q1, lowest level in 3 years


Germany added 156 MW of new solar PV capacity in March, bringing total Q1 solar additions to 459 MW, the lowest level for this period in at least three years, according to the latest data from the federal grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA).

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Total installed solar PV capacity now stands at 36.2 GW, of which two- thirds was added since 2010 alone.

However, annual solar PV additions are now back in line with government expansion targets for a second year in a row after having exceeded 7 GW in 2010-2012 amid an extraordinary boom for solar installations.

The grid regulator has to publish the data on a monthly basis to avoid a last-minute rush before looming subsidy cut deadlines. Operators of solar PV panels need to register their units with the federal agency to benefit from subsidies paid for solar-generated power.

Solar PV has become Germany's single largest energy source by installed capacity. Overall, however, solar power contributed just over 5% to Germany's total electricity consumption in 2013, according to data from industry body BDEW.

German electricity consumers will have to pay 18% more for subsidies paid to renewable power producers in 2014 through the green levy as wholesale power prices have dropped sharply, boosting the sum paid to operators of renewable energy installations to an estimated Eur21.5 billion ($29 billion).

Germany's new solar installations are now trailing solar PV in the UK with industry sources estimating that more than 1,000 MW of new solar capacity was connected to the grid mainly in England and Wales in the first quarter.

The UK government said April 4 it hoped to bring forward the deployment of up to 20 GW of solar installations early in the next decade, from capacity levels of just 2.7 GW by the end of last year.

Germany's government introduced an upper ceiling of 52 GW above which it will not subsidize any new solar installations.

--Andreas Franke,
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,

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