The coronavirus crisis does not appear to have slowed the rollout of solar energy in Germany, reports Sandra Enkhardt in pv magazine. In April, 380 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity went online, the largest addition so far this year. The new capacity takes total additions to 1,480 MW for the year, according to figures from the country’s grid agency. Rooftop installations, which are not part of Germany’s renewable tender system, remained particularly stable. “The coronavirus crisis therefore appears to have had little effect on the demand for private or commercial photovoltaic roof systems to date,” Enkhardt writes. However, she adds, many investors may have hurried to add capacity given uncertainty around the 52-gigawatt cap on solar support, which would end subsidies for PV systems up to 750 kilowatts. Current solar capacity counting towards the cap stands at around 50.46 gigawatts, according to the article.
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 up to 750 kilowatts of capacity — 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 industry expects this to happen by mid-2020, and has warned that the cap would threaten further expansion. 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.