Austria adds 230 MW of PV in 2012

In 2013, €8 million (US$10.3 million) of funding will be available for photovoltaics. An additional €18 million is available for new renewables plants, but this will be shared among wind, small hydro and photovoltaic rooftop projects.

However, on January 1, most applicants which were registering in the Energy Clearing Service Center to obtain funding for their photovoltaic systems received the message, "The service is unavailable." Due to the large number of applications received, the computer system had crashed.

Although the clearing office will organize the applications on a "first come, first served" basis, it is still unclear how many applicants will be approved because the data is still being analyzed.

A total of 140 MW have been approved for 2013, Hans Kronberger, president of the Photovoltaic Austria Federal Association, told pv magazine. Meanwhile, 200 applicants have sent their complaints to the Photovoltaic Austria Federal Association.

Last autumn, Austria‘s government unveiled a new Green Energy Act, under which feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic plants over 500 kWp were removed. In addition, a new support structure has been devised for building integrated and rooftop systems.

The new framework was introduced to prevent the available funds from being monopolized by a small number of plant operators.

On the back of falling photovoltaic module costs and other projected cost reductions, the tariff was reduced to €0.18/kWh this year which, plus the investment subsidy, equals €0.20. Ground-mounted systems up to 500 kWp have seen tariffs cut by 10% to €0.17/kWh.

Currently, photovoltaic power accounts to 0.6% of the energy mix in Austria. In June, the yearly energy report, with updated data, will be published by the Ministry of Economy.