Solar power in Germany

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Solar power Germany 2016 fact sheet: electricity generation, development, investments, capacity, employment and the public opinion. [1]
Electricity by source in 2014
NuclearBrown coalHard coalNatural gasWindSolarBiogasHydroCircle frame.svg
  •   Nuclear: 80 TWh (14.8%)
  •   Brown coal: 134.9 TWh (24.9%)
  •   Hard coal: 99.4 TWh (18.3%)
  •   Natural gas: 46.4 TWh (8.6%)
  •   Wind: 77.8 TWh (14.4%)
  •   Solar: 37.5 TWh (6.9%)
  •   Biomass: 47 TWh (8.7%)
  •   Hydro: 19.1 TWh (3.5%)
Net generated electricity in 2014[2]

Solar power in Germany consists almost exclusively of photovoltaics (PV) and accounted for an estimated 6.2 to 6.9 percent of the country's net-electricity generation in 2016.[3][4]About 1.5 million photovoltaic systems were installed around the country in 2014, ranging from small rooftop systems, to medium commercial and large utility-scale solar parks.[3]:5 Germany's largest solar farms are located in Meuro, Neuhardenberg, and Templin with capacities over 100 MW. Solar heating does not use solar energy for power generation and is therefore not included in this article.

Germany has been amongst the world's top PV installer for several years, with total installed capacity amounting to 41.3 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2016,[1] behind only China.However, new installations of PV systems have declined steadily since the record year of 2011.[5] It's estimated that by 2017 over 70% of the country's jobs in the solar industry have been lost in the solar sector in recent years.[1] Proponents from the PV industry blame the lack of governmental commitment, while others point out the financial burden associated with the fast paced roll-out of photovoltaics, rendering the transition to renewable energies unsustainable in their view.[6]

Germany's official governmental goal is to continuously increase renewables' contribution to the country's overall electricity consumption. Long-term minimum targets are 35% by 2020, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.[3]:6 The country is increasingly producing more electricity at specific times with high solar irradiation than it needs, driving down spot-market prices[7] and exporting its surplus of electricity to its neighboring countries, with a record exported surplus of 34 TWh in 2014.[2] A decline in spot-prices may however raise the electricity prices for retail customers, as the spread of the guaranteed feed-in tariff and spot-price increases as well.[3]:17 As the combined share of fluctuating wind and solar is approaching 17 percent on the national electricity mix, other issues are becoming more pressing and others more feasible. These include adapting the electrical grid, constructing new grid-storage capacity, dismantling and altering fossil and nuclear power plants – brown coal and nuclear power are the country's cheapest suppliers of electricity, according to today's calculations – and to construct a new generation of combined heat and power plants.[3]:7

Concentrated solar power (CSP), a solar power technology that does not use photovoltaics, has virtually no significance for Germany, as this technology demands much higher solar insolation. There is, however, a 1.5 MW experimental CSP-plant used for on-site engineering purposes rather than for commercial electricity generation, the Jülich Solar Tower owned by the German Aerospace Center.


Price of solar PV systems
History of PV roof-top prices in euros per kilowatt (€/kW).[8]


Since 2013, the number of new installations declined significantly due to more restrictive governmental policies.


More than 7 GW of PV capacity had been installed annually during the record years of 2010, 2011 and 2012. For this period, the installed capacity of 22.5 GW represented almost 30 percent of the worldwide deployed photovoltaics. On midday of Saturday May 26, 2012, solar energy provided over 40% of total electricity consumption in Germany, and 20% for the 24h-day.


Germany was one of the first countries to deploy grid-scale PV power. Since 2004 solar power in Germany has been growing considerably due to the country's feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, which were introduced by the German Renewable Energy Sources Act, and declining PV costs. Prices of PV systems decreased more than 50% in 5 years since 2006.[9] Solar PV provided 18 TWh of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity.[6] The federal government has set a target of 66 GW of installed solar PV capacity by 2030,[10]to be reached with an annual increase of 2.5–3.5 GW,[11] and a goal of 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2050.[12]


In 2004, it was the first country, together with Japan, to reach 1 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity.

Governmental policies[edit]

Feed-in tariff for rooftop solar[13]
History of German feed-in tariffs in ¢/kWh for rooftop solar of less than 10 kWp since 2001. For 2016, it amounted to 12.31 ¢/kWh.[13]

As of 2012, the feed-in tariff (FiT) costs about €14 billion (US$18 billion) per year for wind and solar installations. The cost is spread across all rate-payers in a surcharge of 3.6 €ct (4.6 ¢) per kWh[14] (approximately 15% of the total domestic cost of electricity).[15] On the other hand, as expensive peak power plants are displaced, the price at the power exchange is reduced due to the so-called merit order effect.[16]Germany set a world record for solar power production with 25.8 GW produced at midday on April 20 and April 21, 2015.[17]

According to the solar power industry, a feed-in tariff is the most effective means of developing solar power.[18] It is the same as a power purchase agreement, but is at a much higher rate. As the industry matures, it is reduced and becomes the same as a power purchase agreement. A feed-in tariff allows investors a guaranteed return on investment - a requirement for development. A primary difference between a tax credit and a feed-in tariff is that the cost is borne the year of installation with a tax credit, and is spread out over many years with a feed-in tariff. In both cases the incentive cost is distributed over all consumers. This means that the initial cost is very low for a feed-in tariff and very high for a tax credit. In both cases the learning curve reduces the cost of installation, but is not a large contribution to growth, as grid parity is still always reached.[19]

Since the end of the boom period, national PV market has since declined significantly, due to the amendments in the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) that reduced feed-in tariffs and set constraints on utility-scaled installations, limiting their size to no more than 10 kW.[20]

The current version of the EEG only guarantees financial assistance as long as the overall PV capacity has not yet reached 52 GW. It also foresees to regulate annual PV growth within a range of 2.5 GW to 3.5 GW by adjusting the guaranteed fees accordingly. The legislative reforms stipulates a 40 to 45 percent share from renewable energy sources by 2025 and a 55 to 60 percent share by 2035.[21]

As of November 2016, tenants in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) will soon be able to benefit from the PV panels mounted on the buildings in which they live.The state government has introduced measures covering the self-consumption of power, allowing tenants to acquire the electricity generated onsite more cheaply than their regular utility contracts stipulate.[22][23]

Grid capacity and stability issues[edit]

German electricity generation on May 25 and May 26, 2012

Approximately 9 GW of photovoltaic plants in Germany are being retrofitted to shut down[24] if the frequency increases to 50.2 Hz, indicating an excess of electricity on the grid. The frequency is unlikely to reach 50.2 Hz during normal operation, but can if Germany is exporting power to countries that suddenly experience a power failure. This leads to a surplus of generation in Germany, that is transferred to rotating load and generation, which causes system frequency to rise. This happened in 2003 and 2006.[25][26][27]

However, power failures could not have been caused by photovoltaics in 2006, as solar PV played a negligible role in the German energy mix at that time.[28] In December 2012, the president of Germany's "Bundesnetzagentur", the Federal Network Agency, stated that there is "no indication", that the switch to renewables is causing more power outages.[29] Amory Lovins from the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote about the German Energiewende in 2013, calling the discussion about grid stability a "disinformation campaign".[30]


Germany has about the same solar potential as Alaska, which has an average of 3.08 sun hours/day in Fairbanks.

Source: NREL, based on an average of 30 years of weather data.[31]


Annual Solar Capacity Added
Comparison of renewable technologies and conventional power plants in Germany in EuroCent per kWh (2018)[32]
Solar PV's share in the overall consumed electricity grew exponentially since 1990, doubling every 1.56 years, or growing 56% annually on average. The doubling time and growth rate differ from those of average power and installed capacity as the overall consumption also increased over time. After 2012 the increase slowed down notably.

The history of Germany's installed photovoltaic capacity, its average power output, produced electricity, and its share in the overall consumed electricity, showed a steady, exponential growth for more than two decades up to about 2012. Solar PV capacity doubled on average every 18 months in this period; an annual growth rate of more than 50 percent. Since about 2012 growth has slowed down significantly.


YearCapacity (MW)Annual generation (GWh)% of gross electricity consumption
Source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, for capacity figures[33]:7 and other figures[33]:16–41
Note: This table does not show net-consumption but gross electricity consumption, which includes self consumption of nuclear and coal-fire power plants. For 2014, net-consumption stands at approximately 6.9% (vs. 6.1% for gross-consumption).[3]:5
Nationwide PV capacity in megawatts on a linear scale since 1992.
Source: EPIA[34] and Bundesnetzagentur.[35]

PV capacity by federal states[edit]

Watts per capita by state in 2013[36]
  10 - 50 Watts
  50 - 100 Watts
  100 - 200 Watts
  200 - 350 Watts
  350 - 500 Watts
  500 - 750 Watts
  >750 Watts

Germany is made up of sixteen, partly sovereign federal states or Länder. The southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg account for about half of the total, nationwide PV deployment and are also the wealthiest and most populous states after North Rhine-Westphalia. However, photovoltaic installations are widespread throughout the sixteen states and are not limited to the southern region of the country as demonstrated by a watts per capita distribution.

PV capacity in MW[37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44]
State2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 
Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser).svg Baden-Württemberg1,2451,7722,9073,7535,838.06,111.84,984.55,117.0
Bayern Wappen.svg Bavaria2,3593,9556,3657,9619,700.510,424.711,099.811,309.2
Coat of arms of Berlin.svg Berlin1119685063.268.680.583.9
Brandenburg Wappen.svg Brandenburg722196381,3132,576.12,711.22,901.02,981.5
Bremen Wappen(Mittel).svg Bremen45143032.335.339.942.2
Coat of arms of Hamburg.svg Hamburg79272532.135.836.536.9
Coat of arms of Hesse.svg Hesse3505498681,1741,520.91,661.81,768.51,811.2
Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg Lower Saxony3527091,4792,0513,045.13,257.43,490.63,580.4
Coat of arms of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (great).svg Mecklenburg-Vorpommern4888263455957.71,098.51,337.91,414.4
Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westfalia.svg North Rhine-Westphalia6171,0461,9252,6013,582.03,878.54,234.94,363.7
Coat of arms of Rhineland-Palatinate.svg Rhineland-Palatinate3325048411,1241,528.21,670.81,862.21,920.5
Wappen des Saarlands.svg Saarland67100158218318.8365.4407.3415.8
Coat of arms of Saxony.svg Saxony1682885298361,280.81,412.31,575.11,607.5
Wappen Sachsen-Anhalt.svg Saxony-Anhalt941814508171,377.91,556.11,828.71,962.6
DEU Schleswig-Holstein COA.svg Schleswig-Holstein1593106959921,351.51,407.81,468.61,498.3
Coat of arms of Thuringia.svg Thuringia95159327467871.71,013.91,119.91,187.4
Cumulative total installed5,9799,91317,55423,86634,076.736,710.138,236.039,332.4
Capacity added3,9347,6416,31210,210.72,633.41,525.91,096.4

Photovoltaic power stations[edit]

Largest German photovoltaic power stations (20 MW or larger)[45]
PV Power stationCapacity
in MWp
Solarpark Meuro16670 MW completed 2011, 166 MW in 2012[45]
Neuhardenberg Solar Park145Completed September 2012[45][46]
Templin Solar Park128.5Completed September 2012[45][47]
Brandenburg-Briest Solarpark91Commissioned in December 2011
Solarpark Finow Tower84.7Completed in 2010/2011
Eggebek Solar Park83.6Completed in 2011
Senftenberg Solarpark82Phase II and III completed 2011, another 70 MW phase planned[48]
Finsterwalde Solar Park80.7Phase I completed 2009, phase II and III 2010 [49][50]
Lieberose Photovoltaic Park71.8Completed in 2009[51][52]
Solarpark Alt Daber67.8Completed in 2011[45]
Strasskirchen Solar Park54Commissioned in December 2009[45]
Walddrehna Solar Park52.3Completed June 2012
Waldpolenz Solar Park52550,000 CdTe modules. Completed December 2008[53][54]
Tutow Solar Park52Tutow I completed in 2009, II in 2010, III in 2011
Kothen Solar Park45Operational since 2009
Jura Solar Park43Completed in 2014[55]
Jännersdorf Solar Park40.5Commissioned in 2012
Fürstenwalde Solar Park39.6Commissioned in 2011
Reckahn Solar Park36Completed in 2011
Perleberg Solar Park35Completed in 2012
Krughütte Solar Park29.1Completed in 2012
Solarpark Heideblick27.5Completed in 2011
Solarpark Eiche26.5Completed in 2011
Lauingen Energy Park25.7Completed in 2010
Pocking Solar Park22Completed in March 2006
Mengkofen Solar Park21.7Commissioned in December 2009
Rothenburg Solar Park20Commissioned in 2009
Other notable photovoltaic (PV) power plants[56]
Name & DescriptionCapacity
in MWp
LocationAnnual yield
in MWh
Capacity factorCoordinates
Erlasee Solar Park, 1408 SOLON12Arnstein14,0000.1350°0′10″N 9°55′15″E / 50.00278°N 9.92083°E / 50.00278; 9.92083 (Erlasee Solar Park)
Gottelborn Solar Park8.4Göttelbornn.a.n.a.
Bavaria Solarpark, 57,600 solar modules6.3Mühlhausen6,7500.1249°09′29″N 11°25′59″E / 49.15806°N 11.43306°E / 49.15806; 11.43306 (Bavaria Solarpark)
Rote Jahne Solar Park, 92,880 thin-film modules,
First Solar, FS-260, FS-262 and FS-265[57][58]
Bürstadt Solar Farm, 30,000 BP Solar modules5.0Bürstadt4,2000.1049°39′N 8°28′E / 49.650°N 8.467°E / 49.650; 8.467
Espenhain, 33,500 Shell Solar modules5.0Espenhain5,0000.1151°12′N 12°31′E / 51.200°N 12.517°E / 51.200; 12.517
Geiseltalsee Solarpark, 24,864 BP solar modules4.0Merseburg3,4000.1051°22′N 12°0′E / 51.367°N 12.000°E / 51.367; 12.000 (Geiseltalsee Solarpark)
Hemau Solar Farm, 32,740 solar modules4.0Hemau3,9000.1149°3′N 11°47′E / 49.050°N 11.783°E / 49.050; 11.783
Solara, Sharp and Kyocera solar modules3.3Dingolfing3,0500.1148°38′N 12°30′E / 48.633°N 12.500°E / 48.633; 12.500
Solarpark Herten, 11.319 Modules from Astronergy3Rheinfelden3,0000.1147°32′39″N 7°43′30″E / 47.54417°N 7.72500°E / 47.54417; 7.72500
Bavaria Solarpark, Sharp solar modules1.9Günchingn.a.n.a.49°16′N 11°34′E / 49.267°N 11.567°E / 49.267; 11.567 (Bavaria Solarpark)
Bavaria Solarpark, Sharp solar modules1.9Minihofn.a.n.a.



Some companies have collapsed since 2008, facing harsh competition from imported solar panels. Some were taken over like Bosch Solar Energy by SolarWorld. Major German solar companies include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "GERMANY: SOLAR POWER FACTSHEET 2016". Strom-Report. 
  2. ^ a b "Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2014 (German version)" (pdf). Germany: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. 5 January 2015. pp. 2, 3, 6. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Recent facts about photovoltaics in Germany". Fraunhofer ISE. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2014" (pdf). Germany: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. 2014-07-21. p. 5. Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Germany adds about 610 MWp of solar PV in H1 2015". Renewables Now. 3 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "German solar power output up 60 pct in 2011". Reuters. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Electricity Spot-Prices and Production Data in Germany 2013" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Average turn-key prices for roof-top PV systems up to 100 kWp. Sources: for data since 2009, pv-preisindex , using for each year average price of month of January. Data source for previous years (2006-2008), see Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft e.V. (BSW-Solar), September 2009, page 4, quarterly figures from EUPD-Research.
  9. ^ "BSW-Solar – Statistische Zahlen der deutschen Solarstrombranche (Photovoltaik), Oct 2011" (PDF). 
  10. ^ Property Wire (2010-04-22). "Germany Reducing Incentives For Solar Property Investment". NuWire Investor. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  11. ^ Lang, Matthias (21 November 2011). "New German 7.5 GWp PV Record by End of 2011". German Energy Blog. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Germany
  13. ^ a b "Annual Report 2015". IEA-PVPS. 13 May 2016. p. 63. 
  14. ^ Lang, Matthias (14 October 2011). "2012 EEG Surcharge Increases Slightly to 3.592 ct/kWh". German Energy Blog. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Europe's Energy Portal » Fuel, Natural Gas and Electricity Prices From Past to Present". 
  16. ^ Morris, Craig (2 February 2012). "Merit order effect of PV in Germany". Renewables International. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "Transparency in Energy Markets - Germany". 
  18. ^ "The U.S. Needs a Feed-in Tariff". 
  19. ^ "PV Learning Curves:Past and Future Drivers of Cost Reduction" (PDF). 
  20. ^ "Changes for solar in Germany". 3 April 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  21. ^ Energie, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und. "Erneuerbare Energien". 
  22. ^ "Federal state supports "tenant electricity" models with solar PV". Clean Energy Wire (CLEW). Berlin, Germany. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  23. ^ "Minister Remmel: "NRW macht es vor — Mieterinnen und Mieter können künftig auch von der Energiewende profitieren." — Umweltministerium fördert Mieterstrom-Modelle und Energiespeicher" [Minister Remmel: "NRW makes it possible — tenants can also benefit from the Energiewende in the future." — Environment Ministry promotes tenant electricity models and energy storage] (Press release) (in German). Düsseldorf, Germany: Umweltministerium North Rhine-Westphalia. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  24. ^ Lang, Matthias. "Study Recommends Retrofitting of PV Power Plants to Solve 50.2 Hz Problem". German Energy Blog. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  25. ^ The “50.2 Hz” problem for photovoltaic power plants Archived June 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Timeline of the utility frequency: Timeline". 
  27. ^ "Impact of Large-scale Distributed Generation on Network Stability During Over-Frequency Events & Development of Mitigation Measures" (PDF). 
  28. ^ Michael Döring (1 January 2013). "Dealing with the 50.2 Hz problem". Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Germany's Network Agency says power outages "unlikely"". 6 December 2012. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  30. ^ Amory Lovins (23 August 2013). "Separating Fact from Fiction in Accounts of Germany's Renewables Revolution". Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "PV Watts". NREL. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  32. ^ "Studie: Stromgestehungskosten erneuerbare Energien - März 2018". Fraunhofer ISE. 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  33. ^ a b Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – Zeitreihen zur Entwicklung der erneuerbaren Energien in Deutschland (August 2016)
  34. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 34. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  35. ^ "Photovoltaikanlagen: Datenmeldungen sowie EEG-Vergütungssätze" [Monthly reported new installations of PV systems and current feed-in tariffs] (in German). Bundesnetzagentur. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  36. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  37. ^ Bundesnetzagentur – EEG-Statistikbericht 2008
  38. ^ "Bundesnetzagentur – EEG-Statistikbericht 2009" (PDF). 
  39. ^ Bundesnetzagentur – EEG-Statistikbericht 2010
  40. ^ Bundesnetzagentur – EEG-Statistikbericht 2011
  41. ^ "Bundesnetzagentur – EEG in Zahlen 2012". 
  42. ^ "Bundesnetzagentur – EEG in Zahlen 2013". 
  43. ^ Bundesnetzagentur – EEG in Zahlen 2014
  44. ^ "Bundesnetzagentur – Installierte EE-Leistung zum 31.12.2015 (vorläufig)" (PDF). 
  45. ^ a b c d e f PV (2009). World's largest photovoltaic power plants
  46. ^ LIMA Group GmbH. "Contract for services - LIMA Group". 
  47. ^ CFB News: Commerz Real Acquires Germany’s Largest Solar Park. "CFB-Fonds". 
  48. ^ "SolarServer: 78 MW of the world's largest solar photovoltaic plant connected to grid in Senftenberg, Germany". 
  49. ^ "Good Energies, NIBC Infrastructure Partners acquire Finsterwalde II and Finsterwalde III". 
  50. ^ "Implementation of the 39 MWp – „Solar Park Finsterwalde II and Finsterwalde III"" (PDF). 
  51. ^ "Lieberose solar farm becomes Germany's biggest, World's second-biggest". 
  52. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany (20 August 2009). "Leaders In Alternative Energy: Germany Turns On World's Biggest Solar Power Project". SPIEGEL ONLINE. 
  53. ^ "Germany's largest Solar parks connected to the grid (19 Dec 08)" (PDF). 
  54. ^ "Large photovoltaic plant in Muldentalkreis". 
  55. ^ Photovoltaik in Oberfranken: IBC SOLAR stellt Jura-Solarpark mit insgesamt 43 MW fertig; Energiewende soll den Wirtschaftsstandort auch künftig stärken, 26 February 2014
  56. ^ "Large-Scale Photovoltaic Power Plants - Top 50". 
  57. ^ Construction Complete on 6 MW Thin-Film PV Installation in Germany Renewable Energy Access, 5 April 2007.
  58. ^ Rote Jahne Factsheet (de)

External links[edit]