German consumers will pay only slightly more to back renewables next year, with subsidies set to edge up 1.8 per cent, while expansion in solar capacity will slow, say the country’s transmission service operators (TSOs).

A breakneck expansion in Germany’s renewable power fuelled by generous subsidies is now easing, according to research cited by the four leading high voltage operators, who forecast a modest renewable power charge (EEG tariff).

“Consumers in 2012 will contribute to promoting renewable energies in 2012 by paying 3.592 euro cents ($0.0492) per kilowatt hour (kWh),” the statement said.

“This is just little more than 3.530 euro cents/kWh paid this year.”

The TSOs predict that photovoltaic (PV) capacity will climb by 18.9 per cent to 28.3 GW in 2012, up from 23.8 GW expected by the end of 2011. The anticipated increase over 2011 is 37.5 per cent, while 2010 saw a 74.8 per cent rise.

Germany’s four grid firms are Vattenfall Europe’s former high voltage grid unit called 50Hertz, owned by Belgian Elia and Australian fund IFM; E.ON’s former high voltage grid unit TenneT; RWE’s former unit Amprion; and EnBW’s grid unit, still with its owner.

Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said in a statement that the EEG charge trend shows that the government’s target of renewables providing 35 per cent of power by 2020 is manageable.

Recent polls show that 80 per cent of Germans consider 3.5 euro cents/kWh for subsidising renewable power as adequate, or even too low, he added.

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