Switzerland installed 250 MW of new PV systems in 2016

Switzerland saw a decline in PV demand in 2016.

PV demand decreased in Switzerland in 2016. Although official statistics are still to be released, the local solar association Swissolar estimates that approximately 250 MW of new PV systems were installed in the country last year. In the previous two years, newly installed PV capacity was approximately 300 MW. For 2017, Swissolar also expects a drop in demand. The association expects that about 200 MW of new PV could be installed this year.

At the end of 2016, the country’s cumulative PV capacity had reached around 1.65 GW, according to the association. PV was able to cover 2.5% of the country’s electricity demand last year.

The country’s FIT scheme, Kostendeckende Einspeisevergütung (KEV) for PV and renewables, and the solar rebate program, which covers around 30% of the investment for installing a PV system up to 30 kW, are currently being negatively impacted by lack of financial resources.

A new regulation is expected for 2018. This new legislation could restore the funds for the rebate scheme, although a final decision will be taken in a referendum on the country’s future energy strategy “Energiestrategie 2050”, which will take place on May 21. The new law will also provide new rules for self-consumption. If the new rules are implemented, self-consumption will also be adopted in multi-family-houses and in adjacent allotments.

In December, the Swiss Federal Council decided that the FITs for PV will be reduced in two phases by 10% to 28% by the autumn of 2017. At the time, Swissolar criticized this decision, claiming it was based on unrealistic estimates of the cost reduction of solar panels. Furthermore, the associations said, this move is not considering several factors which determine the profitability of a PV project. Swissolar finds that the 22% FIT reduction announced for BIPV PV systems is quite disproportionate.