Germany's Solar Cell Promotion: Dark Clouds on the Horizon

22 Pages Posted: 13 May 2008

See all articles by Manuel Frondel

Manuel Frondel

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ; Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)

Nolan Ritter

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen)

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen); Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

This article demonstrates that the large feed-in tariffs currently guaranteed for solar electricity in Germany constitute a subsidization regime that, if extended to 2020, threatens to reach a level comparable to that of German hard coal production, a notoriously outstanding example of misguided political intervention. Yet, as a consequence of the coexistence of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the increased use of renewable energy technologies does not imply any additional emission reductions beyond those already achieved by ETS alone. Similarly disappointing is the net employment balance, which is likely to be negative if one takes into account the opportunity cost of this form of solar photovoltaic support. Along the lines of the International Energy Agency (IEA 2007:77), we therefore recommend the immediate and drastic reduction of the magnitude of the feed-in tariffs granted for solar-based electricity. Ultimately, producing electricity on this basis is among the most expensive greenhouse gas abatement options.

Keywords: Energy policy, energy security, learning effects

JEL Classification: Q28, Q42, Q48

Suggested Citation

Frondel, Manuel and Ritter, Nolan and Schmidt, Christoph M., Germany's Solar Cell Promotion: Dark Clouds on the Horizon (March 2008). Ruhr Economic Paper No. 40. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1132744 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1132744

Manuel Frondel (Contact Author)

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen
Germany

Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) ( email )

Universitätsstraße 150
Bochum, NRW 44780
Germany

Nolan Ritter

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstraße 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany
++49 201 8149-227 (Phone)
++49 201 8149-236 (Fax)

Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)

GC 2/150
Universitätsstr. 150
D-44780 Bochum
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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