While the US administration of Jimmy Carter can rightly claim the invention of the feed-in tariff, it was Germany’s 1990 ‘Feed-in law’ which provided the initial impetus to the large scale development of wind and solar technologies. Revised in 2000, it became the EEG, which, depending on your point of view, has been the single most successful spark to the global Energy Revolution (my view), or an unnecessary burden on German ratepayers, featuring a big slug of overpriced solar pv for which ratepayers will be coughing up for most of the next twenty years.
While a complex and overarching piece of legislation, the EEG (and its relatives and spin-offs in other parts of the world), had two things which set it apart: a) fixed price for power production which you could take to the bank; and b) priority access to the grid. These were the building blocks of the German industry, which has contributed so much to building a global RE sector.
After a mammoth struggle against neo-liberal forces from the World Bank and the Anglo-Saxon world, China’s landmark Renewable Energy Law of 2006 contained a feed-in tariff instead of a certificate or some other system. The results speak for themselves.