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German solar industry files complaint against persisting support cap

Representatives of the German solar industry have lodged a complaint with the country’s highest court against the cap on support for solar power, which the government had promised to remove, writes the German Solar Association (BSW). The complainant, a solar company from the federal state Hesse whose existence is threatened by the cap, is supported by more than 100 companies from trade and energy industries, which find themselves in similar situations. The BSW estimates that failure to remove the cap on support for solar power could reduce the market in Germany to half its current size. The association has urged the German parliament to finally make a binding decision to remove the cap in the coming week, in which case it will “of course withdraw the constitutional complaint immediately,” said BSW head Carsten Körnig.

The solar power support cap was put in place in 2012 due to worries about rising costs before solar power prices started to plummet. It stipulates that new facilities with a capacity of up to 750 kilowatts— which do not have to participate in auctions for renewables support — would stop receiving remuneration under the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) once total solar capacity across Germany reaches 52 gigawatts. The government agreed last month to remove the cap and other hurdles to the country’s landmark energy transition. Economy minister Peter Altmaier said the removal of the cap would be attached to a legislative text already in parliament to help speed up the process.

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