Christoph Schmidt: Current Promotion of Solar Energy Mistake

In an interview with Spiegel, Christoph Schmidt calls solar energy the most expensive of all technologies to reduce CO2. 

Professor Dr. Christoph M. Schmidt, Ph.D., is the president of the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in Essen and a member of the German Council of Economic Experts.  The German Renewable Energy Sources Act may be well intended, but he considers it to be commercially highly inefficient.

Net costs for solar panels installed between 2000 and 2008 amout to EUR 35 billion over their 20 years of operation.  Should the current regime of promoting solar energy remain unchanged, this would lead to costs of EUR 53 billion by 2010.  The feed-in tariffs should therefore be reduced much further than currently planned.

In addition, he pointed out that the promotion of solar energy would not have a positive effect on CO2 emissions.  Solar power related reductions are emitted elsewhere.  Futhermore, jobs are lost, for example in the construction of conventional power plants.  Constantly taking away money from electricity customers also takes away purchasing power, which in turn negatively affects employment.

Prof. Schmidt argued in favour of using other incentives to reduce CO2 emissions: emission trading, with constantly reduced emission allowances, or a CO2 tax.

Source: Spiegel online