German cabinet approves controversial energy reforms

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The German cabinet approved changes to the country’s energy reforms on Tuesday that could ramp up the pressure on the county’s PV sector.

The original changes included annual caps for onshore wind and solar PV of 2.5GW each. The rules around wind’s restrictions were softened after an appeal to Chancellor Angela Merkel by regional leaders.

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In 2012, Germany installed 7.6GW of solar and another 3.3GW in 2013.

Under the new plans, solar power used for self-consumption will incur the EEG surcharge, albeit at a reduced rate. The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) levy funds the country’s clean energy transition.

Major industrial polluters are exempt from paying the EEG, a move that lead some European neighbours to say this gave them a competitive advantage over rivals.

The EU is expected to confirm tomorrow that the exemption is within the bloc’s trade laws.

Earlier this year executives from German firm AS Solar said the changes would lead to the “total collapse” of the country’s PV sector.

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