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German Solar PV installations increased by 10% in 2021

Tuesday, 04 January 2022

Author: Selma P. Utonih

According to preliminary results from the German Solar Industry Association (BSW), Germany saw the installation of 240,000 new solar power systems with a total capacity of 5.3 Gigawatts (GW) in 2021. This is an increase over the 2020 capacity of 4.8 GW. Solar PV now covers around 10% of domestic electricity consumption.

According to the climate protection projects of the government 'Ampel' coalition, the newly installed photovoltaic capacity is to be tripled over the coming decade. The latest BSW industry barometer (a representative survey of over 200 solar entrepreneurs) shows that the German government's plans are giving the solar industry a positive outlook into the new year.

However, while the demand for solar power systems in the residential sector and for solar parks built at ground level rose sharply in the past year, the same could not be said for growth in new commercial solar roof installations that according to the BSW fell significantly in some cases. The renewable association added that the monthly lowering of market premiums and an abundance of disproportionate bureaucratic requirements were dampening the willingness to invest. As such, BSW appealed to the new federal government to immediately implement its climate protection program before Easter this year. 

BSW Managing Director Carsten Körnig, warned that fast and courageous political action was essential as further delays could result in a swift deterioration of investments in the solar industry. 

 "If acting quickly, the federal government will be able to reap the first fruits of its work during this legislative period, since the planning stages for solar power plants are comparatively short in contrast to other new power plants. Our climate protection industry is ready, ”assured Körnig.

The new federal government has set itself the goal of expanding the solar power output installed in Germany from currently around 59 GW to 200 GW by 2030 and has proposed making rooftop solar mandatory for new commercial buildings and establishing them “as a rule” on new private buildings.

The first two German states to implement mandatory rooftops

As of 1 January 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Baden-Württemberg are the first two German states to ring in the new year by implementing a solar PV obligation for certain construction projects, according to reports by PV magazine. Several German states are expected to follow with similar legislation in the coming months. 

Since the start of the year in Baden-Württemberg, photovoltaic systems have to be installed on newly built non-residential buildings, and in the future, parking spaces with more than 35 spaces will also have to be roofed with a photovoltaic system.  However, this only applies to builders who submit their building applications after 1 January, and projects already under construction are exempt from the obligation.

Furthermore, from 1 May 2022, photovoltaics will also be mandatory for newly built homes while from next year onwards, photovoltaics will be mandatory for extensive roof renovations in existing buildings.

“Baden-Württemberg wants to be climate neutral by 2040 - five years earlier than the federal government. In addition to wind energy, photovoltaics is an essential part of expanding renewable energies, creating security of supply and achieving our climate protection goals, ”explains Baden-Württemberg's Environment Minister Thekla Walker.

In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), commercial car parks with more than 35 spaces must be covered with a PV system for which a building application was submitted after 1 January. 

This means that Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia are the first two federal states in which photovoltaic requirements come into force. Although the state governments of Berlin, Hamburg, and Rhineland-Palatinate have already passed similar laws however the obligations will not apply until 2023.


BSW (in German)

PV Magazine (in German)