German renewable output soars in 2012

German solar power generation increased 50% in the first nine months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011, helping to push total renewable energy supply to over one-quarter of total power production.

According to the latest figures from the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), solar photovoltaic (PV) plants generated 24.9bn kWh during January-September this year, a 51% increase from the 16.5bn kWh during the same period in 2011.

Global information company IHS energy’s analyst Kash Burchett noted that German solar photovoltaic capacity additions rose during the first half of 2012 as developers rushed to take advantage of higher returns before the feed-in tariff cuts came into effect at the beginning of the third quarter.

Output from wind farms also increased, though at a far more moderate pace, from 32.5TWh from January-September 2011 to 35TWh for 2012. In total, wind accounted for 8.6% of total output (up from 8.0% in 2011), while solar accounted for 6.1%, up from 4.1% previously.

Biomass provided 5.78% of supply, hydro contributed 3.8%, and other forms of renewables provided 0.9%. In total, renewable energy accounted for 25.2% of total output.

Burchett predicts that the continued boom in renewable capacity additions will slow, but the pressure on conventional generators’ revenues will continue to mount.

“The growth in supply from renewable energy systems will further undermine the profitability of conventional thermal generation capacity, negatively affecting the utilities’ returns,” he said.

Conor McGlone

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie