Germany finally compromises on PV subsidies


On Wednesday evening, at the second mediation committee meeting, representatives of the federal and state governments finally agreed on a compromise on photovoltaic subsidies in Germany. As expected, the planned cuts will be backdated to April 1.

Furthermore, a new class for large rooftop systems between 10 and 40 kW will be added to the EEG (renewable energy law), which starting also from April 1, should receive an allowance of 18.50 euro cents per kWh. The monthly degression will also be maintained.

A new inclusion to the EEG is the fact that photovoltaic subsidies will be stopped when a cumulative capacity of 52 GW is reached. After this point, no new photovoltaic systems will receive support, "because the overall development goal is reached". Meanwhile, the lowering of the growth corridor was not included in the new law. As such, up until the 52 GW is reached, the annual growth corridor remains between 2.5 and 3.5 GW.

What will be seen as a disappointment for many, there was no change regarding photovoltaic plants over 10 MW in size. As such, they will no longer be subsidized. On a positive note, however, the mediation committee has decided that the four kilometer perimeter between ground-mounted plants should be reduced to two kilometers, meaning that all plants in a two kilometer radius will be counted as one plant.

In a declaration, which was not a formal part of the mediation committee’s proposal, the federal government has decided that there will be a new open technology market incentive program, with low interest loans offered from German bank, KfW for storage. The program should be introduced, at the latest, by January 1, 2013. The government has said it wants to provide €50 million of grants in this area. They additionally want substantial funds for research into renewable energy systems, application-oriented photovoltaic solutions and production technologies.

As aforementioned, Germany’s state and federal governments are expected to discuss the mediation committee’s new proposals in the Bundestag and Bundesrat this week. In order for the EEG to pass into law, both houses must approve it. On May 11, the federal council, by a majority of two thirds, stopped the EEG amendment adopted by the Bundestag, and established the mediation committee.

Translated by Becky Beetz.