Solar continues to bloom in Germany despite lower FiT

A solar array—with sheep!Germany remains the world’s largest solar country, and its just not going to slow down the amount of solar it installs, apparently. The country’s Bundesverbandes der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft (BDEW)—its association of energy industries reported Monday Nov. 5 that the country now has 50 percent more solar installed than it did last year at the same period. That’s despite steep drops to the country’s feed-in tariff (FiT).

The latest figures from the organization found that there were 24.9 billion kilowatt-hours produced by solar in Germany between January and September this year. During the same period in 2011 solar in the country produced 16.5 billion kilowatt hours. In September alone, the country’s solar arrays surpassed 2.9 billion kilowatt hours. More than 4 billion kilowatt hours were produced in May 2012, a record.

Meanwhile the largest renewable energy source in Germany continues to be wind. Over the same period Germany’s wind turbines produced 35 billion kilowatt hours, slightly higher than the 32.5 billion kilowatt hours produced by wind over the same period in 2011.

Still, solar could overtake wind in Germany, after all it’s growing at a much quicker pace. "The extension of photovoltaic systems is still high. In September alone was this almost 1 gigawatt,” said Jochen Homann, president of Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur, it’s federal network agency (via Google Translate). With growth like that solar has risen to 6.1 percent of the nation’s electric supply over the period between January and September 2012, up from 4.1 percent the same period in 2011. Meanwhile wind, which comprised 8.6 percent of Germany’s electricity supply over the 2012 period, grew from 8.0 percent over the previous year.

The country is still concerned that solar is growing too fast. Over the period in questions the country expected about 3 gigawatts of new solar. It’s closer to 9 gigawatts. “Which is more than twice exceeded," Homann said.

The strong adoption rates have been fostered by Germany’s popular FiT which pays homeowners and businesses a premium for the power produced by their arrays. To help slow down growth to a more sustainable level, Germany has been reduce the FiT rate. And it will continue to do so. November 1 it reduced the FiT by 2.5 percent and will do so each month through January 2013.