German coalition agrees to delay solar cuts

Germany's ruling coalition has agreed to delay cuts in solar incentives by two months, parliamentary officials said, boosting shares in solar companies.

German coalition agrees to delay solar cuts

Germany's ruling coalition has agreed to delay cuts in solar incentives by two months, parliamentary officials said on Tuesday, boosting shares in solar companies.

Support for new rooftop solar installations will be cut by 16 percent from June 1, said Hans-Peter Friedrich, parliamentary group leader for the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). The original plan was to introduce the cuts on April 1.

Solar stocks around the globe gained on the news, with shares in Q-Cells, SolarWorld, First Solar, Suntech, SMA Solar and Yingli all up 2.1 to 6.4 percent.

Critics, including members of Germany's ruling parties, have said the cuts could harm the expansion of photovoltaic technology in the world's largest solar market. About half of the world's solar electricity is produced in Germany.

The CSU is one of three parties in Merkel's centre-right coalition with the CDU and the Free Democrats, and had called for a delay in the cut to solar incentives. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to pass a law without CSU support.

The so-called feed-in tariffs -- prices utilities are obliged to pay to generators of renewable energy -- are the sector's lifeline as long as grid-parity, the point at which renewables cost the same as fossil fuel-based power, has not been reached.

But Germany's centre-right coalition wants to ease the German solar market towards free competition.

Friedrich said the coalition still wanted to cut the feed-in tariff for open field solar systems by 15 percent from July 1.

The coalition needs to agree final details on solar cuts, in particular on how to reduce subsidies for larger farm land installations, before sending the bill through parliament.

Reuters

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2010, 19:29
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