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Cut in solar power support sparks row

Published: 24 Feb 2012 09:02 GMT+01:00

Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Economy Minister Philipp Rösler, of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) this week presented plans to cut solar power subsidies by one-third, prompting environmental groups to express their disappointment.

Solar power producers will now only receive between €0.135 and €0.195 for every kilowatt hour they send to the grid. Despite this, Germany still plans to build new solar power facilities with a total capacity of 2,500 – 3,500 megawatts over the next two years.

Röttgen said photovoltaic power must “grow in a sensible framework when it comes to costs and maintaining grid stability.”

Rösler described the solar power subsidies as “sweet poison” for solar power operators. “If, out of €12 billion set aside by the Renewable Energy Act, €6 billion is spent on photovoltaic power, when it accounts for three percent of electricity production, then obviously we have to think about its economic value,” he said.

Ulrich Kelber, deputy parliamentary leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), criticized Rösler sharply. “The government’s plans to attack solar power have Rösler’s ideological handwriting all over them,” he said. “He has imposed his will on the environment minister.”

Green party parliamentary leader Jürgen Trittin accused the government of sacrificing Germany’s switch to renewable energy for the sake of peace in the coalition. He called the subsidy cuts, “completely out of proportion and therefore irresponsible.”

“The agreement frightens investors, endangers thousands of jobs and hurts climate protection,” he added.

Greenpeace energy expert Sven Teske said the plan threatens 130,000 jobs in 10,000 mid-sized companies, while World Wildlife Fund board member Eberhard Brandes described the deal as a “tragedy for energy policy.”

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:31 February 24, 2012 by 1TruthTeller
For climatic reasons alone solar power can only do so much. No matter how much the Greens jump up and down all in a flap, the science speaks for itself. Solar energy has to be seen as a part of an entire energy plan, and not as a stand-alone panacea. It's not. However, factored into a reasoned, long-term plan which includes other forms of renewables and an inevitable carbon-based power supply, it makes sense. What also makes sense is that subsidies be rationalized. Just handing out cash for the 'feel-good factor,' which seems to have been going on up until now, doesn't make sense. Sound finances, a German oxymoron, need to be brought into play here.
12:55 February 24, 2012 by Simon_Kellett
Rsler: nice confusion: he seems to be trying to suggest that 50% of something produces 3% of something else. But he is comparing a Renewable subsidy? with a percentage of total energy production. Apples and pears !!
15:17 February 24, 2012 by derExDeutsche
in 2010, US Solar Panel producers donated large amounts of money to the our Presidents election campaign. Today, some of those producers are bankrupt and have cost taxpayers over a billion dollars, even though our President knew that taxpayer money would never be paid back. And to think, a home loan and a special Rate on VW lease with no evidence of any favors is enough to bring down the President of Germany.
15:58 February 24, 2012 by Civical
My estimate is that Solar power in Germany accounts for approx 17% of installed capacity from which you are getting 3% of supply at a price around 10 X the bus bar price average for Europe. I wouldn't fancy paying your electricity bills in the future (if you have much electricity anyway). Go on turn those Nukes back on you might save enough to bail out the Greeks.
17:01 February 24, 2012 by neunElf
These enviro-facists will continue to push for more subsidies until the economy finally breaks!

Artificially burdening an economy, based on manufacturing and exporting, with ever increasing and inefficient energy will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs!

Wake up people!

Your future is in the balance.
18:47 February 24, 2012 by carlm
The Al Gore man made global warming fraud is dying a death of a thousand cuts with each passing day.

The world has centuries worth of fossil fuels that can be used with minimal environmental damage.

Let the greens and their stupid ideas make it on their own without any taxpayer help, if they can.

I still remember the "forests are dying" fraud of the 80's due to high speed driving on autobahn's.

These crooks will never stop.
19:08 February 24, 2012 by derExDeutsche
These 'green' crooks still claim that their view is the Consensus. Ha.

Funny that there was once a consensus stating that the earth was flat. It took brave people to dispute that consensus, as well. They can't comprehend the truth, because it isn't written into their Bibles.
21:02 February 24, 2012 by narfmaster
*sigh* Once again people feel compelled to comment without having a clue what is going on...The idea behind the German solar subsidies was to increase the cost of power for everyone a certain percentage (I think it was 3%) and then to use that money to promise a certain price for the feed in tariffs. Feed in tariffs are the amount of money someone gets paid for the power their pv panels send back to the grid. That amount is more than the market cost of electricity. In this way, it makes sense to buy panels because you sell power for more than you buy it, thus a good investment.

This was fine for a while, but then something happened. The price of panels dropped very quickly, due to technological advancements but also the Chinese coming into the market. Suddenly, many people in Germany were installing panels. That meant the 3% extra in the normal price of electricity was no longer enough to cover everyone. Instead of taxing more, they lowered the amount that went to the homes with solar panels. The tax has remained the same, but as more panels were installed, less was paid out to each individual. The FDP seems to be against anything ecological and the CDU like to watch the books, so they could both agree to not raise taxes or borrow more money to fix the difference.

I personally think they should raise the tax on power or get the money from gasoline taxes or some such and keep the subsidies a bit higher so as to continue the spread of panels across the country. It's free energy that doesn't require digging a hole in the ground and freeing up captured carbon. They should also promise more loans to solar energy companies as that is what the Chinese have done and why they are more competitive. The very things Obama is getting criticised for, lending money to solar companies, is what the Chinese are doing. Non-Chinese countries put their companies at a disadvantage and shouldn't be surprised when they get mowed down.
21:55 February 24, 2012 by derExDeutsche
@narfmaster

as it turns out, trying to compete with China, producing Solar Panels might not be in everyone's best interest . ESPECIALLY when solar panels are yet to prove that they are worthwhile investments. But we aren't talking about the prudent thing to do are we? no, we're really just talking about your misguided sense of 'morality' and your very own self interest? Agreed, I am sure Solar Panels are great business for China. They get some pretty amazing perks from the Governemtnt there, no doubt. It sounds like your kind of place.
22:38 February 24, 2012 by ProgandaLady
http://youtu.be/4OwIo05nsNA
15:59 February 25, 2012 by moshe rosen
Please help me understand this position that has been taken.

Germany takes a very big step towards eliminating Nuclear power. Good for the country!

Now they seem to have stepped backwards on this position. Why?

I can only suppose that Germany has no intentions on really doing away with the Atomic Energy plants.

Please!, make up your minds and then stick with it. Any holdup on utilizing solar energy will put us right back where we were.

To an outsider, or insider, it seems the people running the system are schizo!
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