Germany’s solar sector to defy recession – group

27 May 2009 16:44  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s solar sector is set for continued growth this year, despite the recession, a domestic industry association said on Wednesday.

The main drivers for the industry were lower costs for photovoltaic systems and new government incentives to promote solar installations in homes, the Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW-Solar) said.

Since the start of the year, the price of an average solar power system had dropped by 15%, partly due to temporary oversupply and the impacts of the financial crisis, BSW-Solar general manager Carsten Kornig said.

Investing in a photovoltaic system had never been as financially attractive before, he added.

“We expect the industry to match the good results from last year, and hope to even exceed those numbers in 2009,” Kornig said.

Last year, the industry installed over 300,000 new solar power systems.

In fact, the solar sector was one of the few segments of the economy that showed growth even in the first quarter, with sales of solar heating systems up 10% from the 2008 first quarter, BSW-Solar said.

BSW-Solar also cited a recent study showing that some 20% of German homeowners were seriously thinking about installing solar systems.

The financial crisis and lower oil prices did not seem to have impacted homeowners' willingness to invest in solar power, the study by Bielefeld-based SOKO Instituts fur Sozialforschung und Kommunikation, said.

That assessment, however, contrasted with remarks by Germany’s building industry association, which said on Tuesday that the recession and lower energy prices had dampened homeowners’ enthusiasm to invest in upgrades and energy improvements.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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