Our figure of the month 04/2017: High number of private owners of photovoltaic installations affect total number of the energy supply firms considerably


The number of newly founded companies in the energy section without any employees (who pay social insurance contributions (essc)) amounts to approx. 95%.

The total number of companies within the energy supply section more than doubled between 2008 and 2014 (+170 %) and amounted to almost 64.000 in 2014. The biggest increase was registered in 2010 with a plus of 35 % (compared with the previous year). This can be traced back to the implementation of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2008). The same applies to the high growth rates in the following years.


The biggest impact1 on the continuously rising number of companies in the energy sector can be ascribed to the foundation of companies.2 In 2010, the growth rate of newly established firms amounted to over 80 % against the previous year. Even in 2009, the year of the worldwide economic backdrop, the increase in companies in this section amounted to +25 % as compared to the previous year. From 2013 onwards, the growth rate has been declining. This downturn of newly founded firms can also be linked to the amendments in the revised Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2012), which resulted in a smaller compensation for electricity feed-in from then onwards.

With regard to the size of newly founded companies, it becomes apparent that the majority of them (about 90 %) has no employees, i. e. these companies merely consist of privately owned photovoltaic installations that feed electricity into the public grid. Hereby the share of these small firms in the energy sector has climbed from 92 % in 2008 up to 98 % in 2013.

Please note: When installing photovoltaic panels on the roof of one’s house and feeding power into the public electricity grid, private individuals are regarded as an energy producing company.

[1] In addition to the balance of company foundings minus closures, other reasons like takeovers, incorporations or spinoffs of operating parts can have an effect on the variation of the total number of companies.

[2] In the underlying statistics, the newly founded companies are divided in four groups: companies having no employees (essc), those employing one to four, five to nine or ten and more employees (essc). The private owners of photovoltaic installations belong to the first group without employees.

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