Friday, August 29, 2008

Germany's feed-in tarriffs supporting PV

Germany's recently approved "climate package" is its latest step in securing the country's position as a leading investment location in renewable energies.

What is needed in the UK is a similar package of measures to guarantee a strong future for investors in renewable energies.

"The reforms maintain attractive feed-in tariffs and strengthen the legal framework for energy-efficiency investments, therefore adding to Germany's already inviting investment conditions in photovoltaic (PV) energy," says David Wortmann, Director of the Renewable Energies and Resources team at Invest in Germany.

One of the main drivers of PV investment in Germany is the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG in German). The EEG requires power companies to buy renewable energy from owners of renewable energy installations at a rate that is above the standard retail price.

The "feed-in-tariff" for PV projects beginning in 2008 stands at 35.49 - 51.75 EUR cents/KWh. The rate is guaranteed for 20 years. There is also no limit to the energy that can be sold into the grid at the EEG rates. This legal framework encourages Germans to invest in PV products, creating a long-term and sustainable domestic market.

Germany is turning its renowned scientific expertise into an asset for the solar industry. There are over 80 different academic degree options in solar energy and energy management at German universities, including a new Masters Degree program at Berlin's Technical University (TU).

An "energy university" will soon open in Berlin to offer graduate-level students from all over the world the chance to improve their knowledge of the energy industry. This qualified workforce contributes to Germany's high standard of quality in its PV products and also to its comparatively low product failure rate.

This expertise is found not only in universities, but also in the many research institutions in Germany that cooperate closely with PV investors.

For example, the Fraunhofer ISE is part of the internationally renowned Fraunhofer Society that is one of numerous research institutes and universities doing research on the latest technologies in PV, often in cooperation with the solar industry.

Supportive laws, qualified employees, and access to researchers and suppliers are some of the reasons that leading PV companies such as First Solar, Arise Technologies, Signet Solar, and recent entries like Intico Solar and Masdar PV GmbH have invested in Germany.

More will be revealed at the 23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (PVSEC), September 1 - 5, 2008 in Valencia, Spain.

If only it could happen in the UK.

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