german-solar-systemGermany has more solar than any other country in the world and, as we’ve recently noted, most likely, more solar EV charging stations than any other nation on earth. Given Germany’s strong and so far unbeatable commitment to solar energy then, it’s not surprising that Germany’s solar market is the most efficient and cost effective in Europe, according to a recent survey by PV Legal.

While the average time to connect a new small-scale system to the grid is between 14 and 50 weeks across Europe, German residents are connected in only 6 weeks on average.

At the same time, 19 to 65 percent of small-scale project expenses (excluding equipment) go to legal-administrative costs, whereas Germans pay only 7 percent on average. This result is a testament to the country’s extensive photovoltaic infrastructure that includes installers, utilities and banks with photovoltaic expertise.

“Germany continues to confirm its leadership role in renewable energies,” said Thomas Grigoleit, renewable energies expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin.

Feed-in tariffs
In last month’s semiannual update to the Renewable Energies Act (EEG), the bedrock of Germany’s sustainable energy push, feed-in tariffs – which require utilities to pay a generous rate for any electricity generated by privately owned solar systems — for solar energy were reconfirmed with no fixed capacity cap in sight.

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The “own consumption bonus” was also extended until 2013, providing a strong signal for the further expansion of the residential, decentralized market. Additional federal funding has been announced in recent weeks for energy storage and smart grid technologies, which will serve to balance Germany’s growing fluctuating energy supply with consumer demand.

Already the home of nearly half of all solar installations worldwide, the German PV market is on the verge of a paradigm shift that can’t be found anywhere else: the development of a grid parity market.

Soon feed-in tariffs will be redundant, as solar electricity will be cheaper than power from the socket. Falling system prices are driving this shift. This year, system prices in Europe have already dropped approximately 16 percent, according to Solarbuzz.com.

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