Germany: Revised photovoltaic draft

27. March 2012 | Top News, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Sandra Enkhardt/Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

The revised draft for the changes in the solar subsidies calls for some serious changes. The cuts remain though.

Changes have been put forth by the state governments.

The good news: the power of authority given to the economic and environment ministers to single-handedly make further changes to the solar subsidies is being completely revoked. This has been stated in the revised draft provided by the government parties CDU, CSU and FDP Monday evening.

The confirmation has also been given that the 'flexible ceiling', which provides for progressive reductions in feed-in tariffs (FITs) will, again, be included in the law. The parties are holding on to the originally planned monthly remunerations. After the one-time reduction on April 1, the FIT will be reduced by one percent per month May onwards.

Flexible ceiling

From November, the 'flexible ceiling' concept will be undertaken and the degressions will be based on the previous quarter. The parties agreed on concrete changes in FITs for following quarters should the ceiling be surpassed or should the installations fall below. These steps are being planned as the fractions want to avoid any sudden reactions or a one-time huge decrease.

If the installed capacity in the future exceeds 7,500 megawatts (MW), then the maximum reduction will increase to 29 percent. If the capacity remains in the politically prescribed corridor of 2,500 to 3,500 MW, then the decrease will be a maximum of 11.4 percent. If annual newly installed capacity is only 1,000 MW, then the monthly reductions will cease. If developments fall below that number, then theoratically, an increase of six percent to the FITs will be implemented.

The states fractions insist on going back to having a development corridor for photovoltaic systems. The government's forecast in 2017 lies only between 900 and 1,900 MW.

Transitional agreement

The state government parties have agreed in the draft for further transitional arrangements. Photovoltaic developers who have already submitted their planning applications or who already have a planning permission in hand will get more time to connect their plants to the grid under the old subsidy conditions. Installations on buildings or on noise barriers that have until February 24, "demonstrably made a written or electronic grid connection request with the exact location and capacity", can fall under the old conditions should they connect to the grid by June 30.

For solar parks, a development plan or an installation enactment must have been made until March 1. When so, then the installations have until September 30, to connect and be able to fall under the old conditions. The draft also states that photovoltaic installations on newly constructed non-residential buildings like barns or sheds will only qualify for the lowest open space subsidies of €0.135 per kilowatt-hour.

Changes have also been made to the market integration model. Roof installations up to 10 kilowatts (kW) will only get subsidised for 80 percent of generated electricity. The rest can be self-consumed or sold. For installations between 10 and 1,000 kW, 90 percent of generated electricity will be subsidised. For bigger installations, the parties have agreed to remove the market integration model. 

The draft will be considered on Wednesday by the environment commitee in the German parliament. On Thursday, the second and third reading in parliament will follow.


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