UPDATE 1-Bosch says German solar plans would end industry

Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:51am GMT

* EconMin pushes for cap after record 2011 installation

* Bosch writes down 500 mln eur of solar assets for 2011

* Total writedowns now 900 mln from 2 bln eur invested (Adds details, background)

STUTTGART, Jan 25 (Reuters) - A plan by Germany's economy minister to cap solar panel installation at just over a tenth of last year's level would spell the end of the domestic solar energy industry, German manufacturer Bosch said.

New solar installations last year reached a record 7,500 MW in Germany, the world's largest solar energy market, as prices fall and ahead of the phasing out of generous subsidies.

Soaring volumes have prompted opponents of large-scale government intervention, above all the junior coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP), to demand the industry wean itself off state support more quickly.

Economy Minister Philipp Roesler, the embattled leader of the highly unpopular FDP, has proposed legislation that would limit installation to only 1 gigawatt (GW) annually in a bid to shore up dwindling internal support for his leadership.

"Should we do that, then photovoltaic is dead in Germany," Bosch Chief Executive Franz Fehrenbach told reporters late on Tuesday in Stuttgart, where he also presented preliminary sales and earnings for last year.

The comments were embargoed for publication on Wednesday.   Continued...

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