Luxembourg bets on solar: additional 2.4 GW planned by 2050

Luxembourg is a small country which depends heavily on power imports from neighboring Germany and France. According to the Luxembourg Institute of Regulation (ILR), the small central European country covered 79.5% of its electricity demand with net power imports in 2015, while only 20.5% (including a 6.7% share from renewables) was met by domestic production.

In order to reduce this dependence on power imports, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure has now presented a new energy strategy which aims to increase the country’s power generation capacity with solar and renewables by around 4.8 GW by 2050.

This new capacity, the government said, is expected to come from solar, which is forecast to grow from 117.8 MW currently to 2.5 GW, and a combination of wind, hydropower and biomass, for which the government has set a target of 2.33 GW from 114 MW currently.

If achieved, this target would enable the country to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix from 6% currently (of which 3.3% comes from PV) to 70% by 2050.

As for the future growth of solar energy, the ministry said that approximately 75 MW per year will be installed by 2050, and that this will require only 0.8% of the country’s total surface. The ministry stressed that there are approximately 140,000 residential buildings and 5,000 commercial and industrial buildings that are suitable for PV solutions. Storage, the ministry added, will also be part of this future development.

In the document, however, the government has not provided details on how this new strategy will be implemented. The new targets were necessary since Luxembourg reached its 2020 solar target, which is 112 MW, after installing most of its capacity (around 100 MW) between 2012 and 2013.

Luxembourg has for a long time supported exclusively individual PV projects up to 30 kW. In August 2016, however, the ministry of energy has decided to start supporting community solar projects ranging in size from 30 kW to 200 kW with new 15-year FITs. At the time, the tariff for projects between 30 kW and 100 kW was €0.160/kWh, while that for PV systems with a power range of 100 kW to 200 kW was €0.153/kWh. Starting from 2017, these FITs are being reduced by 6% every year.