Austria announces new solar and storage incentives for 2018

In Austria, a lot will change in the coming year regarding the promotion of photovoltaic and storage systems. On the one hand, €8 million will again be available in 2018 for the subsidization of PV systems with outputs between 5 and 200 kW under a FIT scheme, confirmed Vera Liebl of the Photovoltaic Austria (PVA) to pv magazine. “The exact amount of the FIT and the solar rebate has not yet been determined. However, the publication will probably take place in the coming days,” Liebl added.

The new FIT rate will be announced by January 9, when the application process for projects eligible to access the program will begin. “This time, however, the time of registration will not be decisive. From 2018, the ranking will be based on a project’s self-consumption rate, “said Liebl. According to PVA, only the specified percentage of the injected electricity will be reimbursed under the newly launched scheme. So, with 80% solar self-consumption, there is compensation for 20%.

If the PV system operators feed more, then they got the market price for the “additional” excess power. In the fourth quarter this was set at €0.036 cents per kWh in Austria, Liebl explained. Operators who rely on both solar rebate and FITs must set up their PV systems in accordance with legal requirements within nine months of the funding commitment.

In addition, there is still a second funding pot in Austria, which is filled with €15 million for next year. It includes a rebate for PV systems as well as for electricity storage. According to Liebl’s statement, €6 million is to be provided for the promotion of storage. This is the first nationwide incentive scheme for electricity storage in the country, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to officially launch it on 12 March 2018. There is no limit for the size of the storage system, but eligible storage projects must have a ratio between 0.5 and 10 kWh per kW of PV installed. PVA gives as an example that with a photovoltaic system with 12 kilowatts of power a storage between 6 and 120 kWh would be eligible. With this upwardly open limit for funding – both in terms of performance and subsidy – the association was not entirely happy. The investment subsidy for electricity storage is €500 per kWh.

The amount of the rebate for PV systems is also fixed. Up to 100 kW of power, there are €250 per kW of installed power. Larger plants receive €200 per kW installed. However, the subsidy is capped at a maximum of 30% of the buying cost of the PV system, which should be no larger than 500 kW.

The nationwide storage incentive scheme should also be provided with another €6 million in 2019. With this additional €30 million for PV and electricity storage, the PVA expects a market growth of 25% for 2018 in PV – which would be between 40 and 50 MW of additions installations. The inclusion of self-consumption in the promotion of FITs would also allow for the promotion of more PV systems with an annual budget of €8 million. This innovation, too, should give the Austrian PV market a further boost of probably 20 MW in the coming year.