Friday, March 2, 2012

Two thirds of population opposed to cutting solar power

GERMANY: Two thirds of the German population supports the continuing of a robust expansion course for solar power, in the future as well. As a recent representative Emnid survey commissioned by the German Solar Industry Association shows, 65 percent of those surveyed think it is a mistake to cut the annual expansion of solar power generation by more than half, compared to the past two years. Asked if they agree with reductions in support of between 30 and 40 percent for solar power generated by PV system operators, 65 percent of those surveyed said they do not. The survey was carried out by TNS Emnid on February 24 and 25 among 1006 representatively selected citizens.

"In Germany there is a clear civic majority that stands firmly behind clean solar power," emphasizes Carsten Körnig, CEO of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar). "The population has come to understand that the transformation of the energy system cannot succeed without a citizen-friendly energy such as solar power. Photovoltaics turn citizens into electricity producers, thereby giving them autonomy and protecting them from the financial influence of major energy companies."

The German Federal Government, however, is disregarding the will of the population by trying to implement radical cuts in support for solar power. As early as Tuesday of next week, the government intends to introduce draft legislation to the Bundestag, Germany's Upper House of Parliament. The legislation proposes a reduction by more than half, in comparison to the past two years, of newly installed solar power capacity in 2012, and further reductions in subsequent years.

In the eyes of the solar industry, therefore, this draft legislation amounts to a "solar phase-out law." The industry fears not only a wave of bankruptcies, but also the loss of thousands of jobs.

Resistance to these moves is growing. At 1 p.m. this coming Monday, a broad alliance made up of unions and industry associations will join in a demonstration against the "solar phase-out law." The rally, which will be held in front of the Brandenburg Gate, has been called by the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), the Industrial Union of Steel Workers (IG Metall), the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE), the German Environmental Aid Association (DUH) and the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar). Numerous other initiatives and association have already pledged their support.

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