Investors must bear in mind that solar is less a business than it is a subsidy conduit.
A twofer. First up, Reuters:
The government, photovoltaic companies and consumer lobby groups moved closer on Wednesday toward an agreement on trimming state-mandated incentives for solar power to reflect a steeper overall slide in costs.
Although no decision was reached at the meeting, officials at the two rounds of hearings at the Environment Ministry in Berlin said they expected a decision on moderate reductions in the feed-in tariffs to be made soon....
...A spokeswoman for the Environment Ministry said the ministry would likely make a new proposal next week, which would then be discussed by the ruling parties. It was not clear if the next cut in feed-in tariffs would be July 1 or on January 1, 2011.
Any added reduction in the state-mandated fees that utilities pay for photovoltaic power are expected to be moderate to avoid damaging this growing sector and its thousands of jobs....MORE
And from TheStreet.com:
France today announced that it is cutting its solar feed-in tariff for rooftop systems from 55 euro cents to 42 euro cents, a 24% reduction in its solar-incentive system. Solar companies and investors have been in panic mode about an upcoming feed-in tariff cut from Germany, the world's biggest solar market by far, but the French reduction is significant.
Is the French reduction a harbinger of worse to come from Germany? The German environmental minister has been quoted recently as saying an announcement about the feed-in tariff cut could be made within days.
There are some important distinctions to be made between France and Germany's solar markets. First and foremost, France is a blip compared to Germany on the solar power global grid. Germany represents between 50%-60% of the global solar market, while France, even breaking into the Top Ten in 2009, represents a mere fraction of Germany's solar dominance.
However, France is a growing solar market, and an important one, so the feed-in tariff reduction is reason for solar companies to pause and reflect on the significance of a 24% reduction. It probably won't keep solar companies from chasing business in France, though.
The big solar players like First Solar(FSLR), SunPower(SPWRA ) and the Chinese solar gang led by Yingli Green Energy(YGE), Trina Solar(TSL) and Suntech Power Holdings(STP) are all anxious to exploit new feed-in tariff geographies ahead of the German tariff reduction....MORE
Remember this headline from a few weeks ago?UPDATE "...First Solar eyes Blanquefort for French plant" (FSLR)