Germany plans to reduce government subsidies supporting solar power by up to 30 percent within a year because higher-than-expected demand has made the scheme far more costly than authorities initially expected.

The country’s drive to abandon nuclear energy in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has led to a boom in solar power installations last year that vastly exceeded the government’s forecasts. Owners of solar power installations in Germany receive a guaranteed above-market price for the electricity they sell to the energy grid. That amounted last year to a subsidy of some euro6 billion ($7.9 billion), which is financed through a levy on every household’s electricity bill. Homeowners and private investors installed new solar power capacity of about 7,500 megawatts last year, while the government had only forecast a new capacity from 2,500 megawatts to 3,500 megawatts.

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