• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germany pulls plug on solar subsidies

The Local · 9 Jul 2013, 06:35

Published: 09 Jul 2013 06:35 GMT+02:00

Peter Altmaier of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union had fought to set a ceiling of solar power capacity above which the government would no longer offer its financial backing.

He said Monday that the limit of 52 gigawatts would be reached by 2017 or 2018. Currently solar panels installed in Germany generate 34 gigawatts of power.

"The development of solar energy ran out of control in the last three years," Altmaier told a news conference.

The system of subsidies, under which solar energy producers are paid a guaranteed price for each kilowatt-hour of power generated, created a boom in recent years, making Germany a global leader in the field.

The farm sector in particular seized upon solar power as a chance to supplement income, and the low price of solar panels from Asia contributed to the craze.

The state support was justified in large part by Germany's much-heralded "energy revolution" in which it is phasing out nuclear power and aiming to produce 80 percent of its power with renewable resources by 2050.

But solar energy is notoriously unreliable as a power source and Germany has seen its market hobbled by oversupply and ferocious competition from players such as China.

Merkel, campaigning for a third term, has promised an overhaul of subsidies for renewable energy after the September general election, amid criticism particularly from the energy industry.

Berlin "has so far invested €216 billion in renewables and the biggest chunk went to solar, the technology which does least to ensure the power supply," said the head of industrial group Siemens, Peter Löscher, in an interview published in the business daily Handelsblatt on Monday.

Story continues below…

Germany has seen a wave of solar company insolvencies and the number of people employed in the industry fell to 87,000 in 2012 from 110,900 a year earlier, while sales plummeted by €11.9 billion, according to government figures.

Solar panels are at the heart of a current trade spat between China and the European Union, which accuses the Chinese of selling its solar panels below cost.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
 'One dead and two injured' in Germany machete attack
News channel NTV said there were scenes of panic in the city centre following the attack. Photo: DPA

A 21-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker killed a woman and injured two people with a machete Sunday in the southwest German city of Reutlingen in an incident local police said did not bear the hallmarks of a "terrorist attack".

Munich gunman planned attacks for one year: officials
Vigils continue in Munich to commemorate the victims, seven of whom were teenagers. Photo: DPA

The teenage gunman who killed nine people in Munich on Friday had been planning his attack for a year, according to German authorities.

Germany grapples with enigma of Munich gunman
A debate is already underway as to whether Germany's gun laws, which are already strict, should be tightened further. Photo: AFP

Investigators were seeking clues on Sunday into the mind of gunman David Ali Sonboly, the teen author of one of Germany's bloodiest killing sprees.

Munich shooting
 Social media a blessing and a curse in Munich shooting
The Munich gunman may have hacked a Facebook account to lure some of the victims to the McDonald's fast-food outlet where the shooting began. Photo: DPA

Social networks were both a curse and a blessing in the deadly shopping mall shooting in Munich, as police sometimes found themselves chasing fictitious leads and false alarms.

Munich shooting
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Munich shooting
Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,742
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd