Germany: Is PV going where the sunshine and money are?

Plater, S. and Boyle, G. (2006). Germany: Is PV going where the sunshine and money are? In: Proceedings of 21st European Photovoltaics Conference, 4-8 Sep, Dresden, Germany.

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Abstract

The paper reports on initial findings of ongoing research into the technical and non-technical factors underlying the uptake of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology in Germany. The rapid build-up of PV capacity in Germany over the last few years is commonly ascribed to financial incentives, especially its attractive ‘feed-in tariff’ in which a premium price is paid for solar electricity. Our research is aimed at testing whether it is a straightforward question of cause and effect, or whether other factors contribute, such as environmental consciousness and political orientation. If money is driving the build-up, capacity should be going where projected array output and hence feed-in tariff payments are higher. Initial tests for such linkage, with data aggregated into six broad north-south geographical bands by insolation level, produce only a weak correlation. Continuing research will investigate possible reasons for this, e.g. that PV deployment is still at an early stage in Germany, that there are shortcomings in the dataset used – or that there are indeed other drivers of PV buildup besides financial incentives.

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