IBC Solar completes eight German tender projects

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Signs are beginning to emerge that momentum is building in Germany’s PV power plant market segment. Since the country moved away from its FIT program for utility scale PV and rolled out its tender system, development in the sector has largely stalled.

German solar distributor and project developer IBC Solar announced today that it has commissioned 23.5 MW of projects awarded under the tender program. The new PV power plant capacity was added across three sites.

Germany launched its PV power plant tender program in April 2015. Across five rounds, 650 MW of capacity was awarded. Development of these projects, however, has been slow, with around 20% of the tendered projects having been installed to date – before the 23.5 MW announced by IBC Solar today.

IBC Solar reports that it has plans to develop "several" projects in 2017, having been awarded 20 MW of capacity under tender in 2016. It currently has eight projects under developments, which will all be realized within 18 months. IBC submitted bids for the sixth tender round, under which 160 MW of capacity will be allocated.

The 23.5 MW of recently completed projects, announced today, were comprised of projects both owned by IBC Solar and in which the company acted as an EPC. The projects include the 10 MW “Solarpark Seßlach,” which was completed on land classified as "farmland in a disadvantaged area." The ground-mounted array was completed in seven months and is located nearby to a transformer station.

IBC Solar has also entered bids in the 50 MW Danish-German cross-border large scale project solar program, which is currently being assessed by Germany’s Federal Network Agency.

“We are very pleased with these positive developments in the project business, and especially with the newly added cross-border tender,” said Oliver Partheymüller, Head of Project Development and EPC Germany, in a statement. “Generally speaking, tender procedures in Germany still involve quantities that are far too low and will not lead to the government’s desired expansion corridor of 2.5 GW per year,” added Partheymüller.

Today’s announcement from IBC Solar confirms informal reports pv magazine has been receiving that the German PV power plant market is beginning to restart. With module prices having fallen dramatically in recent months and the amount of module production capacity outside of China having expanded significantly, the low tariffs awarded under the German tenders are beginning to look attractive to developers. However, the ground mounted market segment is limited by the annual tender volume, which will be 500 MW in 2017.

After some years of anemic growth, the German market has been tipped to well exceed 1 GW of new capacity in 2017, with some more optimistic scenarios tipping around 2 GW of solar, across all market segments, to be added to the country’s grid next year.