Wednesday, July 7, 2010

German figures for solar in Q1 published

In the midst of my blogging on soccer (and as we wait for my new energy website to go on line at the beginning of September), I wanted to report the latest figures on solar in Germany, especially because there seems to be a misconception in the English-speaking world that Germany has changed its solar policy like Spain did, with the expectation being that the German market will not grow in 2010. For instance, in May this guy forecast no growth for Germany in 2010 and claimed in his title, "Germany No Longer Critical To PV Market Growth." Also at Renewable Energy World, an editor claimed in May that Germany has used up "the allocated budget" for solar (actually, there is no budget) and added, "even under earlier scenarios for feed-in tariff reduction, the growth of the German market was expected to slow in 2010."

Actually, the German market was only expected to slow down in English. In German, I have seen nothing but expectations of record growth.

Now, the official figures are slowly coming in. Germany's Network Agency reports at SolarServer that 714 MW was installed in the first quarter - far more than the US installed all of last year (estimated at 435 MW). In fact, that performance alone would make Germany a leader (probably in second place behind Italy) in 2010 if nothing else were installed for the rest of the year. As the Network Agency points out, the figure is 10 times greater than for Q1 2009, when a total of 3.8 GW was eventually installed.

The report quotes EuPD as estimating that Germany will install 5.5 GW this year, a figure that is at the bottom of what is seriously being floated. iSuppli believes (PDF) that Germany will install 6.6 GW in 2010. Other estimates go up to 10 GW.

The breakdown of array size is also interesting. According to the report, 55 percent of installed capacity and 91 percent of installed systems were smaller than 50 kilowatts, with the average arrays size being 23.2 kilowatts in Q1 2010, only slightly below the average size of 23.8 kilowatts in 2009. Clearly, small systems are driving the world's solar leader.

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