© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of a solar park in-front of the Unterweser Nuclear Power Plant in Stadland, Germany August 26, 2022. REUTERS/Benjamin Westhoff/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – German demand for photovoltaic power systems is expected to grow at a double-digit rate this year with solar storage system installations by mid-year topping 2022’s total, the BSW solar power association said on Tuesday.

Solar power systems are booming in Europe’s biggest economy as consumers seek alternatives to expensive fossil fuels following a drop in Russian supply last year.

BSW said it expected new solar power installed capacity this year to be between 9 to 11 gigawatts (GW), up from 7.4 GW in 2022, meaning an increase of up to 49%. A total output of 5.3 GW of solar power systems were installed in 2021.

Some 159,000 residential solar systems were put in operation in the first quarter, a jump of 146% year on year, BSW said, reflecting a jump in orders made last year at the peak of Germany’s energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an easing of photovoltaic hardware supply bottlenecks this year.

Private home owner demand for photovoltaic systems and solar storage more than tripled between 2019 and 2022 and one in five home owners plans to install a solar power system in the next 12 months, BSW said, citing data register from the Federal Network Agency and YouGov survey conducted at the end of May.

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“Solar systems are inexpensive, the number of skilled workers is increasing, the delivery situation is improving and market barriers are increasingly being broken down,” BSW head Carsten Koernig said in a statement.

A new photovoltaic strategy expected to pass Germany’s parliament later this year is also expected to help spur the expansion of solar parks as the by removing market and bureaucratic barriers, BSW said.

Annual solar parks production currently covers more than 10% of the country’s electricity needs, BSW said, adding solar power expansion on commercial buildings was still weak compared to residential and solar parks.

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