Abstract for: Assessing the Boom and Bust of the German Photovoltaic Market – An Analysis of the German Photovoltaic Market

Renewable Energies (RE) are planned to cover at least 80 percent of Germany’s energy supply by 2050 to meet the international climate goals. This goal, inter alia, depends on the installed capacity of RE. While the cumulated installed capacity of RE grew constantly through the years, the installed Photovoltaic (PV) capacity did not develop gradually. The yearly PV installation rates demonstrated a boom and bust behavior. Here, we analyze the origin of these developments, developing a system dynamics (SD) simulation model of the German PV market. We combine quantitative data with qualitative data from six expert interviews and a literature review on SD models on RE. The simulation run reveals that the boom and bust dynamics arose from profitability changes of PV, politically triggered through the feed-in tariff (FIT). We test two policy scenarios in retrospect to provide additional insights into the system’s behavior. The first tests the developments under harmonized FIT degression rates. The second investigates the system’s behavior assuming that more marketing awareness campaigns had been launched. Our paper concludes that the dynamics of the German PV market are primarily politically triggered through the FIT, thus emphasizing the importance of policy actions in fostering the diffusion of RE.