Photovoltaic generation systems in Germany are “significantly” more profitable than onshore wind installations, new research by Fraunhofer ISE has concluded.
The testing and analysis house looked at revenues and profits for both forms of generation as part of an ongoing study, ‘Impact of renewable energy sources’. The study is in part aimed at determining how evenly the benefits and costs of renewable energy capacity additions are spread in Germany.
As part of this wider research, Fraunhofer conducted the latest study, ‘Distributional effects of the promotion of photovoltaic expansion and wind onshore’. According to the findings, in 2012, PV was three times more profitable than onshore wind, despite generating less electricity. That year PV garnered realised profits of €2.7 billion (US$3.62 billion), compared to onshore’s €750 million (US$1 billion).
The study also found that revenues and profits vary from region to region within Germany. The federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemburg make the highest profits, while also accounting for as much as 40% of Germany’s PV generation capacity. This is apparently due to the higher concentration of often privately owned, smaller PV systems than in other regions, despite these systems individually bringing in lower profit margins than larger systems. Favourable conditions for installing solar including large amounts of available agricultural land and rooftop space contributed to the situation in these two states.
Despite Germany’s pioneering status within the solar industry, the rise in surcharges levied on consumer electricity bills has put political pressure on the country’s government to make sweeping changes to the Energiewende (‘energy transition’), a policy which has seen Germany attempt to wean itself off nuclear and fossil fuels.