* Subsidies to drop starting from July
* Parliament vote deals blow to world's top solar cell mkt
(Adds detail, background, paragraphs 3-12)
By Markus Wacket
BERLIN, Feb 24 German lawmakers passed on
Thursday a law cutting solar power subsidies by up to 15
percent from this summer, six months earlier than originally
planned, dealing a blow to the world's biggest photovoltaic
The lower parliamentary house voted to introduce the cuts
for roof installations from July and for ground-based cell
assemblies from September.
The vote, which went as expected, ratified a compromise
deal agreed at the start of this month by the German cabinet
that brought to an end a dispute between the economy and
The economy ministry had wanted cuts of up to 25 percent to
slow booming growth in the sector in Germany.
Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen announced plans last
month to bring forward the start of the subsidy cuts by six
months to July 1.
Germany is the world's biggest photovoltaic energy market
and has helped drive down prices for photovoltaic systems,
which turn sunlight into electricity.
The share prices of solar companies such as Solarworld
SWVG.DE, Q-Cells QCEG.DE and SMA Solar (S92G.DE) have been
at the mercy of German government decisions.
The industry boomed after the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in
2000, which guarantees investors above-market fees for solar
power for 20 years from the point of installation.
Germany added 7 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in a
record-breaking year in 2010 to bring the total to nearly 17
GW, equal to 17 large power plants.
A government advisory panel presented a report in January
saying the photovoltaic sector in Germany was growing too fast,
but the German solar power association (BSW) lobby group said a
cap would devastate the sector and endanger 130,000 jobs.
In 2010 German incentives for renewables -- about half of
which was for solar power -- totalled about 13 billion euros
The solar cuts bill does not require approval from
Germany's upper house of parliament to become law.
(Reporting by Markus Wacket, writing by John Stonestreet;
Editing by David Gregorio)