Additional cuts to the subsidies will be made from 2011 if solar projects amount to more than 3,000 megawatts, said the sources and even more if they total more than 3,500 megawatts. Bigger subsidy cuts are planned for solar equipment on farm land.
A spokeswoman for the environment ministry said no decisions had yet been made. "That is planned for next week," she said.
In all likelihood, a market of three gigawatts would still be the largest in the world next year.
While the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) had been offering a one-off 4.5 percent reduction effective July 1, Frank Asbeck (CEO of Solarworld and BSW board member) stated a few months ago that an additional 15 percent reduction in 2010 would not be a problem.
Berlin-based photovoltaics publisher Solarpraxis writes that analysts from Commerzbank and LBBW (the State Bank of the German state of Baden-Württemberg) disagree. At the much anticipated meeting between politicians and industry on Wednesday, the bankers stated that such cuts would go too far and mainly benefit low-cost Asian competitors and that an ROI of less than seven percent would no longer provide sufficient investment security.
Consumer protectionists have warned that the money being devoted to photovoltaics is too great a burden on consumers, but a large majority of Germans (71% according to a survey reported by SolarServer) continue to support the current policy -- possibly because German law allows people who could once only be energy consumers to become energy producers themselves at a profit. Consumer protectionists may believe that they still represent the German public on this issue, but they may have failed to understand that Germans are no longer merely energy consumers.
From Q4 2008 two Q3 2009, some 2.4 gigawatts of photovoltaics was installed in Germany.