A flood of bids in Germany's first round of PV tenders

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Network Agency this week released preliminary results for the first round of tenders for ground-mounted PV systems. A total of 170 bids were submitted, which far exceeded the 150 MW volume of the call for tenders. The Federal Network Agency is currently reviewing the admissibility of the bids. Once it is finished, the agency says, it will announce the successful bids. Initially, the authorities are neither providing any concrete information about just how oversubscribed the first round was, nor any comment on the range of the prices offered in the bids.

The German network agency have already declared the process a success. “We have demonstrated that a call for tenders for renewables can work. The high level of participation shows that the various players have accepted the new instrument for ground-mounted PV plants and that there are no fundamental obstacles to the process. The high number and diversity of the participants is a good sign that the wide range of actors and the broad-based participation of citizens can be maintained in the shift to calls for tender,” said State Secretary Rainer Baake. The President of the Federal Network Agency Jochen Homann added that ground-mounted PV plants that did not win contracts in this round can still participate in the next two rounds later in the year; the upcoming deadlines are 1 August and 1 December.

“A total of 500 MW will be awarded. In other words, a further 350 MW remains for the next two tender rounds this year. In 2016, the volume will be reduced to 400 MW, and in 2017 to 300 MW,” said Hohmann.

In the first round, the contracts for PV projects will be granted according to the pay-as-bid or reverse auction process. As such, the lowest offer will get the first contract, and so forth, until the 150 MW limit is reached. The project developers will each be compensated for the solar power they produce at the price listed in their bids.

For the next two rounds of tenders later this year, however, the authorities will use a uniform price process. That means that contracts will still be granted based on the lowest bids, but for all projects the power they produce will receive the same price, which will be based on the last accepted bid – that is, the highest price – regardless of what was originally bid.

Responding to a query from pv magazine, the network agency said that the results of the first-round tender would be announced five to ten days after the bidding deadline of 15 April and that the time it took to review all of the offers would depend on the quality of the bids.