Austria’s government has unveiled a new Green Energy Act, under which feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic plants over 500 kWp have been removed. Meanwhile, a new support structure has been devised for building integrated and rooftop systems.
According to the government, photovoltaics in Austria is "booming", due to the current funding program. While positive, it says a new framework must be introduced, to prevent the available funds from going to just a few plant operators.
As such, tariffs for photovoltaic systems over 500 kWp have been completely stopped. Meanwhile, in the future, building integrated and rooftop systems will receive a combination of investment grants and tariffs, so that "less wealthy citizens have the opportunity to build a PV system".
For 2H 2012, a tariff of €0.197 has been granted in combination with a subsidy totaling 30% of the investment costs up to a maximum of €200/kW – equivalent to the previous FIT system of €0.2196 cents. On the back of falling photovoltaic module costs and other projected cost reductions, the tariff will be reduced to €0.1812 cents, which plus the investment subsidy, equals €0.2020 cents, in 2013.
Ground-mounted systems up to 500 kWp have seen tariffs cut by 10%. As such, in 2H 2012, they will receive €0.1843/kWh cents, and in 2013, €0.1659 cents/kWh.
Overall, the government has increased annual funding for new renewable energy plants to €50 million. "To take account of technological developments and to promote incentives for R&D", the funding will decrease annually by €1 million, in order to reach €40 million by 2022.
However, a spokesperson for PV Austria told pv magazine there are no more funds available for photovoltaics in 2012, and that just €8 million will be offered in 2013. They added that there is an additional €18 million available in 2013 for new plants, but this will be shared among wind, small hydro and photovoltaic rooftop projects. New funding applications for photovoltaic systems may commence from Jaunary 1, 2013.
Commenting on the new measures, Austria’s Economy and Energy Minister, Reinhold Mitterlehner, Social Minister, Rudolf Hundstorfer and Environment Minister, Nikolaus Berlakovich said they want to expand Austria’s share of renewables, while also keeping in check the cost burden for households, businesses and industry.
Mitterlehner added, "We assume that the reduced rates for the green energy industry, due to the decreased costs of plants, will be well received. Through the more efficient use of funds we can, together with the more than doubled funding volume, support significantly more plants than previously."
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