Classing the recent FiT cuts as “harsh”, EPIA president Ingmar Wilhelm has penned an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an appeal against the revisions. PV-Tech’s Nilima Choudhury attended the 20,000-strong protest march in Berlin on March 5, which clearly demonstrated the industry’s displeasure at the excessive revisions made to the country’s incentives programme.
Uncertainty remains as to whether the cuts will be revised in the face of such vehement industry opposition.
The full letter is transcribed below:
Dear Chancellor Merkel,
As the voice of the solar photovoltaic industry in Europe, EPIA is concerned together with many other companies, business leaders and associations about your Government’s decision to dramatically reduce feed-in tariffs for PV in Germany.
We would like to stress that this decision sends the wrong message about renewables at a critical time for the industry and for efforts by Germany and the greater EU to achieve our future energy goals. No one believes that PV support schemes should last forever – not even for much longer – and everyone knows that these need to be smart, sustainable and properly adapted to changing market conditions. However, this does not mean that they should be reduced all of a sudden and to unsustainable levels.
Germany’s “Energiewende” is a commitment to a future powered by renewable energy and inspires not only Europe but also many other regions in the world. This can become a real German success story. It establishes renewables as the pillar of your national energy supply in the very near future. Like many renewable energy associations from around the globe, we applaud Germany for its courage, foresight, and leadership in engaging into the Energiewende.
However, we also express our deep concern about your Government’s decision to make so harsh of a cut in the feed-in tariff at this time.
In recent years, gradual and measured reductions of support schemes have helped shrink significantly the competitiveness gap between PV and conventional electricity sources. Unfortunately, the Government’s new proposal risks creating an unreliable regulatory climate threatening not only the entire PV industry but also renewables investors’ confidence in your own country.
All potential investors in PV, from ordinary citizens to small and medium sized companies as well as larger investors, need assurance when they commit to a clean, sustainable, and secure energy source and that they will not be taken on an incentive-level roller-coaster ride.
Thanks also to strong German policies in recent years, PV has significantly driven down its unit costs, thereby gaining a tangible market share and paving the way to becoming a mainstream part of the energy mix. With solar PV getting ever closer to a level of true cost competitiveness compared to all conventional sources of power generation, we now need policies that maintain this momentum in order to reach that goal soon.
Together with our German partner association, we are at your disposal to highlight different, cost-efficient and sustainable solutions which would allow us not to lose the momentum of this promising technology and its importance for research and development, investment and job creation in Europe.