Seven questions about the German photovoltaics market for Carsten Körnig, CEO of the German Solar Association (BSW).
Mr. Körnig, how did the German photovoltaics market develop over the last year?
In 2017, roughly 67,200 new PV installations with a total output of 1.75 GW were registered with the German Federal Network Agency. That is about 15% more than in the previous year. In addition, at least 30,000 new solar storage systems were installed – an increase of about 50%.
What volume do you expect to see over the coming years?
At this time, we anticipate double-digit growth in the PV and storage system market in Germany annually through 2020. For 2018, we believe at least 2 GW of new PV capacity and about 40,000 new storage systems are achievable figures. Assuming the business climate does not cool off and politicians keep their promises, we could even see 3 GW in 2019 and 4 GW in 2020.
Which market segments do you consider particularly promising at the moment?
We anticipate a market upturn on just about every level. Markedly lower prices for components, a low interest rate and a strong construction industry are invigorating the PV building sector. The special tender schemes included in the new government’s coalition agreement are set to drive up the market volume of ground-mounted solar parks. Furthermore, photovoltaics, storage systems and e-mobility will increasingly spur each other on.
What issue is currently in the spotlight in the German PV market?
After years of consolidation and market downturns, the signs are finally pointing to growth again. The BSW is now vigorously advocating for action to secure and strengthen this positive growth potential in all relevant market segments. We still need to make a concerted effort to clear away considerable bureaucratic and financial barriers so that solar energy in the electricity, heating and mobility sectors can finally develop freely. The challenge for policymakers is to negotiate quickly and release the existing brakes on progress. The climate goals they have set themselves require an expansion of the annually installed solar power capacity to about 10 GW.
What prospects do you see for e-mobility in Germany?
There is no denying its success. However, for e-mobility to become a truly viable alternative, it must draw as much as possible on renewable sources of energy. We are thrilled that the new exhibition Power2Drive addresses this issue. With the right components, photovoltaics, storage systems and e-mobility will complement each other perfectly.
What role does photovoltaics play in the German energy mix?
With energy generation costs on the power plant scale already less than 5 euro cents/kWh, solar energy is developing into the central pillar of a climate-friendly and affordable energy supply. Currently, 7.5% of the domestic net energy demand is met with solar, and in the long term this share should reach at least one third. The political goal is to double the share of renewables in the energy mix to 65% by 2030. With considerably greater expansion of solar energy and storage technology, this goal could even be exceeded.
What do you anticipate from the new exhibition concept in Munich?
Solar energy, storage systems and e-mobility will play a decisive role in the energy system of the future – and they will be decentralized and intelligently networked in previously unimaginable ways. Successful business models and technical solutions are aligning with this trend. Smart solar buildings with integrated charging stations are becoming the new standard – and the four exhibitions under the umbrella of The smarter E will provide a road map and showcase for this standard. We are confident that the associated synergies will generate numerous new customer contacts. As the exclusive partner of the exhibition, we are excited to see many familiar and new faces and will actively support this opportunity for networking and generating new business.