• Germany's news in English

Germany pulls plug on solar subsidies

The Local · 9 Jul 2013, 06:35

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd