Germany reports record 60 per cent surge in solar energy generation

Germany saw solar output rise a record 60 per cent last year to more than 18 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, according to new figures from the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

The trade body said the output was equivalent to the entire electricity consumption of the state of Thuringia and could theoretically provide clean power to 5.1 million households for an entire year.

‘Solar power has become an indispensable ingredient for the success of the energy transformation,’ said Carsten Körnig, chief executive of BSW-Solar in a statement, adding that the surge in demand has been driven by rising oil and gas prices and the falling cost of solar technology.

The rapid roll out of new solar installations continued despite moves by the government to cut the level of incentives available through the country’s flagship feed-in tariff scheme during the year. Additional cuts of 15 per cent also came into effect as of 1 January in response to the continued reductions in the cost of solar panels.

Solar panel prices in Germany have fallen by about 50 per cent since 2007 and Körnig said the industry was standing by its commitment to reduce the cost of solar power to a level where incentives will eventually be phased out.