274.67 MW were installed in Germany last month. In a rather surprising turn the sub-10 kW category actually installed over 25% more power this year than last despite the FiT reduction from 24.43 to 17.02 cents/kWh in the twelve months between January of 2012 and 2013. All other FiT tranches showed reduced installations in 2013 compared to last year but not so bad as to cause alarm. It's still early but my first impression of the numbers leads me to believe around 4.5 GW will be installed in 2013. That said, I'm optimistic that these relatively healthy installation figures will strengthen as the year progresses.
From Profit to Savings
2013 is a wildcard transition year for Germany. The market is shifting from a profit driven market to a savings driven market and, although it depends on the customer, there are more savings to be had in 2013 than there was profit to take in 2012. How is this possible? Well, system prices have fallen from 2100 to 1600 Euro/kWp in the last 12 months and electricity rates have climbed from 26 to nearly 30 cents/kWh. Even with 30% lower FiT rates, the NPVs, IRRs and MIRRs are all higher today than they were 12 months ago. From this we could naturally conclude that installations are going to be higher in 2013 compared to 2012. This would be a fair conclusion if it weren't for the loss of the +10 MW uber tranche. It's really hard to say what's going to happen. 4.5 GW makes sense. I want to say 6 GW but it's really hard to say.
There will be Blood
The reduced FiT has taken a toll on solar installers. Hungry people make hungry decisions. The profit motive is going to drive photoelectric installers into the space and water heating business. They'll do this by partenering up with HVAC companies and offering heat pump installations to photoelectric customers. It's a certainty that the solar thermal businesses in Germany are going to take a bath.