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Germany’s solar power industry marks steepest climb in business climate on record

The volume of photovoltaic power put into operation over the first half of 2020 jumped by about 20 percent compared to last year, according to the German Solar Industry Association (BSW). The association said in a press release that business expectations were also surging, with their index of industry sentiment nearly doubling in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year—the largest jump in such a short period since the index started 15 years ago, it said. The association credited the improvement largely to the government’s decision to eliminate the 52-gigawatt funding cap for solar energy. In May, the government agreed to remove the cap, which stipulated that new facilities of over 750-kilowatt capacity would stop receiving remuneration under the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) after Germany reaches 52 gigawatts of capacity—a figure which it is about to hit this year. The cap had been put in place in 2012 over worries about rising costs, but solar power prices have since plummeted.

The BSW said the coronavirus pandemic had not appeared to slow the willingness to invest in solar tech in Germany, with nearly a quarter of building owners now planning to build a solar power system, according to a survey by CO₂-Online. The latest solar auction was about four times oversubscribed, showing that investors are still keen to build solar power projects in the country. But the BSW statement added that the expansion of photovoltaics in Germany had to triple to reach climate targets. Germany aims to cover 65 percent of power consumption with renewables by 2030, with installed photovoltaic capacity providing 66 gigawatts in that mix. Total photovoltaic capacity currently stands at about 51 gigawatts.

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