Germany's Network Agency announced today that the threshold for a faster reduction in feed-in tariffs for solar power was surpassed. Normally, the rates would have been automatically reduced by nine percent as of January 1, but now they will automatically reduced by 11 percent, putting the most expensive rooftop rate at 39.14 cents and the least expensive ground-mounted system at 22.76 cents starting in the new year.
In a way, the announcement is not really news; this policy took effect, after all, on January 1, 2009. To keep the German solar market from overheating, rate reductions were to be stepped up if the market exceeded the threshold of 1.5 gigawatts for the year from October 1 to the following September 30. (The figures for the fourth quarter of 2009 obviously will not be in in time for any law to take effect on the following January 1.) And since hundreds of megawatts were installed in the fourth quarter of 2008, the actual budget for the first three quarters of 2009 was closer to one gigawatt. It turns out that 1,471 megawatts was installed in the first three quarters of this year (which means Germany is installing around 5.5 megawatts per day).
Note also that none of this pertains to the discussion about a possible revision of rates under the new governing coalition -- these accelerated rate reductions would have happened regardless of who won the elections.