SolarPower Europe criticizes EEG draft

European Solar Association Asks German Government For More Ambitious Solar Goals
06:09 PM (Beijing Time) - 20. April 2016

Key Takeaways

  • Solar Power Europe says German Government’s EEG draft is lost opportunity
  • The association asks for abolition of financial burden (EEG levy) on solar power for self-consumption and direct supply
  • Asks for tenders to be limited to solar power plants greater than 1 MW and ground-mounted systems
  • Asks for an increase in the annual tender volume to at least 1,000 MW; the current draft only targets 500 MW

I am very happy Brussels-based lobby association SolarPower Europe is supporting its solar friends in Germany at a crucial time – and I am strongly supporting this move.

Just before tomorrow’s deadline for comments on a draft for Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG), Solar Power Europe has criticized the Federal Government for its solar policy ambitions. “This bill is a lost opportunity for Germany to play again in the first Solar League,” said Oliver Schäfer, President of Solar Power Europe.

After Germany in the past 2 years even missed its unambitious target of 2.4 GW annually installed solar power (last year only 1.4 GW was installed), the former leader lost in 2015 its title “World’s Largest Solar Market” to China. This year, the massive push for solar in the US (about 15 GW expected) and Japan (about 9 GW expected) will possibly result that these two countries will have already at the end of 2016 more total solar power plants connected to the grid than Germany. In consequence, Germany would fall back on rank 4.

Solar Power Europe emphasizes that the continuously decreasing cost of solar power would be a strong argument to continue support for this unique renewable energy technology in Germany, which can be used both for distributed power generation on rooftops as well as for large centralized power plants. Solar power costs already less than half of household electricity and solar farms are quickly becoming more competitive. “The tenders for solar parks in Germany show that solar energy is cheaper than electricity from nuclear, coal, as well as offshore wind farms when comparing apples to apples,” says James Watson, CEO of Solar Power Europe. In the recent German solar tender, the average price was only 7.4 euro cents per kWh; a year ago, the bid level was nearly 20 % higher at 9.2 euro cents.

Also the change to a digital society with Smart Homes, battery-powered electric cars and homeowners who – as a prosumer – not only use energy but also provide power, offers a huge potential for solar energy and high-tech jobs in this area. However, Germany has lost 2008-2014 around 120,000 jobs in the solar industry; only about 30,000 solar jobs were left end of 2014. “If the conditions are right, the number of solar jobs may rise by about 50% by 2020,” says Watson. A study prepared by Ernst & Young on behalf of Solar Power Europe shows that the majority of new solar jobs would be created at local and regional level.

I am also very happy that Solar Power Europe has just called on the European Commission to raise the target for renewable energy in 2030 of 27% to 35%. “After the climate summit in Paris, it is about implementing the big promises into action,” says Schäfer. “In particular, Europe and Germany are here in the duty, but if you look at the EEG draft, the federal government does not seem to accept the mandate of Paris seriously.” I fully support this statement.

In consequence, Solar Power Europe calls for the following changes in the upcoming EEG amendment:

  • Abolition of financial burden (EEG levy) on solar power for self-consumption and direct supply
  • Tenders shall be limited to solar power plants greater than 1 MW and ground-mounted systems
  • An increase in the annual tender volume to at least 1,000 MW; the current draft only targets 500 MW

So let’s hope and see if Germany is still serious on solar or if their achievements are just some glorious history you can point at less and less. Because the new solar leaders are increasingly somewhere else.

Michael Schmela

Michael Schmela is the managing director of TaiyangNews. He also runs Mischco, a company that offers strategy consulting and communication services to solar companies. Michael also serves as the Executive Advisor to European Solar Sector's Lobby Association Solar Power Europe.

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Michael Schmela