Germany: Bundestag approves new PV subsidy program


Less than 24 hours after the mediation committee reached a final photovoltaic subsidy compromise, the Bundestag (federal parliament) has voted in its favor. The new EEG was agreed upon, without debate: the Christian Democrat Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens all voted in favor of the new EEG. Only the Left abstained from voting.

Thus, by a large majority, the Bundestag has approved the new photovoltaic subsidies for Germany. As such, the compromise proposal is now on the Bundesrat’s agenda for tomorrow, June 29.

On May 11, the upper house stopped the previous EEG proposal, with a vote of two thirds to one, and brought in the help of a mediation committee. Since many of the criticisms have been addressed, this is not expected to happen again. Should the EEG be agreed upon, it will be retroactively applied from April 1, 2012.

Commenting on the news, industry analysts at Jefferies wrote, "The lack of an annual cap and the introduction of a 10-40kW class at a higher rate is a positive, however monthly 1% cuts remaining are less encouraging. Germany is likely to decelerate in 2H12 following 1H12 demand pull; announcement largely neutral to stocks."

An overview of the cuts:

  • From April 1, photovoltaic plants between 10 and 40 kW will receive 18.5 euro cents per kWh;
  • Plants smaller than 10 kW will receive 19.5 euro cents per kWh;
  • Plants over 40 kW to one MW will receive 16.5 euro cents per kWh; and
  • Plants between one and 10 MW will receive 13.5 euro cents per kWh.

All systems above 10 MW will not receive subsidies. However, Germany’s Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier stated that exceptions will be granted. "In the EEG, there will be regulatory power, which allows the federal government, with the consent of the Bundesrat and Bundestag, to introduce a subsidy for plants with a capacity of more than 10 MW," he said.

Meanwhile, monthly cuts of one percent will begin in July. Rates are to remain stable in 2013, after the 15 monthly cuts from July through to the end of 2012. Annual cuts will begin again in 2014.