German lawmakers halt cuts to solar industry subsidies

04 June 2010 15:32  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s upper legislative chamber on Friday halted the government’s planned cuts in subsidies to the solar and photovoltaic industry.

The proposed cuts of up to 16% by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government would jeopardise photovoltaic production and research in Germany, the Bundesrat said in a statement.

At the same time, the cuts would call into question Germany’s national strategies for climate protection and renewable energies, it said.

Many chemical producers - including DuPont, Evonik, Wacker, and Solutia, among others - are developing the photovoltaic and solar sector as an important growth market for their products.

Germany grants producers of solar energy, including domestic households with photovoltaic panels on their roofs, favourable feed-in tariffs for their electricity. Those subsidies count as among the most generous in the world.

The Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s states, said it recognised the government’s aim to end “over-subsidisation” of the solar sector.

However, it argued for a cut of not more than 10% and referred the measure to a legislative mediation committee between it and the lower house, the Bundestag, it said.

The government of Brandenburg state, which led the opposition, said it welcomed the Bundesrat’s move.

Photovoltaic producers had invested in Germany, relying on the country’s framework for feed-in tariffs, said Ralf Christoffers, Brandenburg’s economics minister.

“Innovation needs financing, and financing needs a reliable framework,” he said. The government’s proposed cuts would jeopardise the solar industry and cost jobs, he said.

Germany’s photovoltaic and solar producers have repeatedly opposed the planned cuts. The industry employs some 60,000 workers in the country.

Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for views on sustainability issues
For more on DuPont, Wacker and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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