Solar power is booming in Germany, and 2012 has proven to be a record-breaking year for the country’s already-impressive solar power generation. As part of the plan to eliminate nuclear energy and replace it with renewable energy by 2022, Germany has invested heavily in solar power, breaking all previous installation records and doubling installation goals. But all that positive momentum is threatened by the German government’s decision to cut subsidies, which has caused installations to taper off.
Solar power capacity in Germany reached an all-time high of 7.6 gigawatts last year, passing the previous record of 7.5 GW, which was set in 2011. With a goal of 2.5 – 3.5 GW, the country has far surpassed its original goals. This growth has been helped by subsidies that are given to energy generators and are guaranteed over 20 years. But while these subsidies help renewable energy growth, they also raise costs for the consumer and some claim that they slow economic growth.
To address this, subsidies were cut by 2.5 percent and as a result, solar growth has slowed from 611 megawatts in October to just 360 MW in December. The news isn’t all bad, however, because solar capacity in Germany for 2013 is still expected to sit in the 3.5 to 4 GW range, well above the original goal. Currently, solar power accounts for about 5 percent of Germany’s power generation.