German solar subsidies to fade 15 percent from 2012

FRANKFURT Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:14am EDT

Sheep graze between the solar panels of a solar park in Waghaeusel, 20 km (12 miles) southeast of Karlsruhe, March 21, 2011.  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Sheep graze between the solar panels of a solar park in Waghaeusel, 20 km (12 miles) southeast of Karlsruhe, March 21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's solar feed-in tariffs, subsidies the industry needs to be competitive, will fall 15 percent from 2012.

The move announced by the German network regulator on Thursday, was expected by industry executives and analysts.

Bonn-based Bundesnetzagentur said solar installations in the 12 months to September 2011 -- the reference period determining the size of the cut -- reached about 5,200 megawatts (MW), down from 7,800 MW in the year-earlier period.

For cuts of 15 percent, installations during the 12-month period needed to be greater than 4,500 MW, according to the German renewable act EEG. Latest available statistics had suggested a cut of at least 12 percent.

Germany is the world's largest solar market by installations and therefore a major sales market of sector bellwethers such as U.S.-based First Solar, China's Suntech, Norway's Renewable Energy Corp and Germany's SMA Solar.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz)

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