Anyone who has ever looked over the rooftops of Frankfurt may have spotted the exhibition halls that extend over large parts of the European Quarter. In Hall 12, 5,300 modules are spread over an area of a football field – that's quite a lot. The roof area of the two logistics halls, which the wholesaler Metro has now built with photovoltaic modules, is 14 times as large – a gigantic area. A few kilometers from the coal-fired power plant in Marl, Germany's largest solar plant now stands on a roof – symbolism of the energy transition.
Photovoltaics is booming throughout Germany. In the first half of the year alone, around 465,000 new solar systems with a capacity of 6500 megawatts went into operation, 64 percent more than in the same period last year. Speed is also urgently needed in view of the German government's ambitious expansion targets – 22 gigawatts of expansion every year from 2026. There is no reason for euphoria: the large number of plants indicates that it is mainly the expansion of homeowners that is booming.
There is still a lot of potential for the energy transition
Many companies, on the other hand, are hesitant. For them, the installation and operation of a solar system is particularly worthwhile if they consume a large proportion of the electricity generated themselves. According to a representative Yougov survey published by the German Solar Industry Association last autumn, more than a third of companies are planning to install a photovoltaic system on their roofs.
But many companies – especially those with few opportunities for self-consumption – have not yet put their plans into practice. They are struggling with rising interest rates, which make financing via the market premium much less attractive. Also not helpful are the numerous requirements for grid connection, which can vary greatly from state to state, from grid operator to grid operator (a total of almost 900 in Germany). This small-scale statehood is not particularly helpful.
The German government has already adopted a bit of bureaucracy reduction with the solar package. This is where it has to keep at it. So far, only one tenth of the roof areas of commercial enterprises that are theoretically suitable for photovoltaic systems have been equipped with these. There is still a lot of potential for the energy transition here.