Germany installs record 4,300 MW photovoltaic solar energy in first half

Germany installed a record of around 4,300 megawatts of solar power capacity in the first half of 2012, raising the total in the world’s largest photovoltaic market to more than 28,000 MW, the federal network agency (Bundesnetzagentur) reported on Thursday.

Nearly half of that amount, or about 1,800 MW, came in June in a building frenzy just before a 30 to 40 percent cut in government-mandated incentives took effect in July.

Government-mandated incentives have helped Germany become a leader in renewable energy, and it now has more than a third of the world’s installed solar energy generation capacity.

The country gets 5.3 percent of its electricity from solar power, up from 4 percent in 2011. All renewable sources combined provide about 25 percent, including wind energy at 9.2 percent and biomass at 5.7 percent.

On sunny days Germany’s 1.2 million solar power plants can produce as much power as 20 nuclear plants and cover about a third of the country’s electricity needs during daylight hours on weekdays and about half on weekend days.

A steep fall in solar power prices in Germany has also helped drive down prices worldwide. The FIT is the lifeblood of the industry until photovoltaic prices fall further to levels in line with conventional power production.