Germany aims to replace lost solar panel subsidy, Habeck says

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck said he aimed to replace a subsidy to makers of solar panels that fell victim to a court ruling last month that scrapped swathes of the budget, arguing support was needed to compete with Chinese manufacturers.

“It’s important for Germany to have at least a foundation share of its own production,” Habeck said in an interview with the RND newspaper group, noting the sector’s importance for job creation.

While solar energy is booming, most of the panels are imported from China.

Habeck said a premium should be made available to manufacturers who met certain quality standards.

“Solar products from Germany meet certain standards that others do not,” he said. “German manufacturers often manage without toxic chemicals or make particularly efficient panels … Such contributions to resilience should be rewarded.”

The main victim of the Constitutional Court’s budget ruling was a Climate and Transformation Fund whose purpose was to use left-over coronavirus pandemic funds to finance Germany’s green transition.

(Reporting by Hans Busemann, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by Christina Fincher)