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Solar industry warns German renewables reform could choke off roof-mounted installations

The reform of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) could severely damage the expansion of roof-mounted solar power capacity and cause the economy damages worth up to eight billion euros over the next decade, solar power lobby group BSW Solar has warned. If the EEG draft proposed by energy minister Peter Altmaier is adopted, solar PV installations with a capacity of more than 750 kilowatt peak (kWp) would have to partake in tenders in order to receive support. BSW Solar says this would lead many landlords to scrap plans to install panels on their roofs due to high transaction costs and uncertain rewards.

Antje Gerstein, head of the German Retail Federation (HDE) that represents about 400,000 retailers across the country, said many of its members would like to use the vast rooftop spaces on their buildings for solar power production. “The current government plans would quickly stall investment plans, because it is simply not attractive and auctions are going to create less planning security.” She argued that increasing the threshold to partake in auctions to one megawatt could significantly change many companies’ calculus and give roof-mounted PV a boost. Market researcher EUPD expects the newly installed capacity on commercial buildings to shrink by two thirds next year if the EEG goes ahead as planned and a reduced expansion of about 4.2 gigawatts until 2030. EUPD estimated that this would mean German solar power companies lose up to three billion euros and subsequent climate and health damages amounting to 4.5 billion euros over the next decade.

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