The U.S. installed about 1.7 gigawatts of photovoltaic panels in 2011, according to GTM Research.

Germany installed more than 2 gigawatts of solar in the month of December alone.

That's good news and bad news. Good news because there is still demand for solar and Germany is amazingly efficient at deploying solar panels; bad news because it reveals the market distortions provoked by subsidies and fading subsidies.

December traditions in Germany involve Christmas, stollen, and a rush to install solar panels before the feed-in tariff subsidy drops. Installations for the full year will be nearly 7 gigawatts according to a press release from the BSW (Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft, the German Solar Industry Association). Germany installed 7.4 gigawatts of solar panels in 2010.

The feed-in tariff was subjected to a 15 percent reduction on January 1, 2012 and will likely be cut another 15 percent on July 1.


According to the BSW, solar power contributes approximately three percent of the German electricity supply, with a goal of 10 percent by 2020. 



Note the drop in pricing for solar installations in Germany: Q3 2011 pricing was $2.80 per watt. These are "average end-customer prices" for PV systems under 100 kilowatts. Compare that to the $5.20 per watt average price in the U.S.