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View Diary: Germany now has 1.3 million solar energy systems which generated 28 billion kilowatt hours in 2012 (139 comments)

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  •  I'd temper my enthusiasm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, translatorpro

    The prevalence of solar is looking good - but it comes at a price; and thus it is a matter of serious contention right now.

    The issue is the so-called "Energy Infusion Law"(formally, the "Renewable Energy Act"), that allows solar panel owner to supply power to the grid.   That one contains a complex set of compensation rules, which effectively create a highly subsidized environment for solar power.  

    This has led to much higher invest into solar by the private sector than expected, and that in turn is expected to give all Germans a pretty nasty hike (up to 20%) in their electricity bills, to a degree that papers have speculated poor people would not be able to heat and light their places any more.  Residential customer electricity prices are traditionally modified in January, so most observers expect a nasty political backlash to the law in the next months.

    The Utilities are allowed and quite willing to explain to consumers that their drastic price increase is owed to the widely villified solar power law subsidies.  It also didn't help that the government bowed to the whining lobby of some major power hungry industries and gave them special rebates, thus even more increasing the burden on private consumers. And there are federal elections this year.  Did I mention Ms Merkel really would like to be reelected?

    So, the numbers sound nice, but they may yet prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for the solar lobby.

    ______
    "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

    by cris0000 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:22:18 PM PST

    •  Nonetheless, the early adopter high feed-in-tariff (6+ / 0-)

      rates for solar have now led to solar being quite inexpensive in terms of new electricity generation systems, ie. the solar that is currently being added isn't contributing to price increases anymore.  In fact, it is expected to reduce prices, starting in 2014.

      Furthermore, solar has now shot past consumption grid parity in Germany and there are an increasing amount of cases where solar plus storage for homes and businesses actually is cheaper than using power from the grid.

      There may be a reduction in added solar for a few years, but it'll likely come roaring back right after that.

      I won't argue with you about the current center-right coalition having mismanaged things, though.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:31:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  20% create their very own set of facts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, translatorpro, IM

        Especially in election years, and especially with energy being more expensive in Germany than the US anyway.

        20% is quite much. More so when people can read in the paper that big industrial customers have been allowed to avoid the surcharge.

        And some old lady living from a meager pension in a rental unit really has no appreciation for the fact that wealthy homeowners now get solar panels for less money.

        ______
        "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

        by cris0000 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:38:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, there's been a noticeable, concerted effort (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          squarewheel, BYw, translatorpro, IM, adrianrf

          by the Springer Press and industrial(ist) think tanks like R.W.I. to distort the effects of solar and make it look bad.

          The center-right coalition has also mismanaged the social issues.  A temporary tax surcharge on wealthy Germans to finance grid modernization would have been great, for example.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:52:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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