In case you have missed it, there is apparently amazing energy revolution going on in Germany. Photovoltaics are an in integral part of the associated hype. I checked the rates of monthly installations.

Figure 1: Monthly installations of PV in Germany 2009-2014.

Figure 1: Monthly installations of PV in Germany 2009-2014.

Installations increased rapidly from the early 2009. What caused this increase? I might of course be wrong (I don’t think I am), but this increase coincides quite nicely with the collapse in the German share of the photovoltaics industry and increasing Chinese dominance in the marketplace. Germans had adjusted their feed in tariffs based on German manufacturing costs. This attracted Chinese who could produce same thing far more cheaply and gave rise to investment bubble in Germany. Subsidies were sold  as buying Germans a large share of an exponentially increasing export market. Instead German producers of photovoltaics panels collapsed. Strangely enough silence on this has been deafening and and the same argument is used to sell similar policies in other countries as if nothing happened. (Does anyone know a country were subsidies are NOT justified by capturing export markets?)

Figure 2: Market shares of photovoltaic cells

What causes those spikes in installation rates? As has been demonstrated time and time again, installations are driven by subsidies and they tend to peak just when some form of subsidy is about to expire. Sure enough, if I check what has happened to feed-in tariffs in Germany I find a clear correlation with installation rates and FiT changes (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Fractional change in the Feed in Tariffs

Figure 3: Fractional change in the Feed in Tariffs

Since the monthly data is more noisy I finally show the results over half a year periods. It is quite interesting that decrease in installations since the start of the Energiewende buzz has been exponential (to a good accuracy) with a half-life of about a year. The current rate of installations with 25 year lifetime, implies around 50GW of solar capacity which translates to less than 10% of German electricity consumption. We are saved!

Figure 4: Installations over half a year periods. For your convenience I makrk the start of the Energiewende hype with an arrow.

Figure 4: Installations over half a year periods. For your convenience I mark the start of the Energiewende hype with an arrow.