Austrian solar incentives portal overwhelmed with applications, again

On January 9 at 5 pm, the starting signal for applying for solar incentives in Austria was given. As in previous years, there was a big rush, again, this year.

The local energy responsible for the incentive program, OeMAG registered 3,000 applicants in the first five minutes after the official launch of the program, a bigger rush than in the previous year. “In 2017, we reached the 3,000 mark after only 10 minutes,” said OeMAG CEO Magnus Brunner on Wednesday. In the past, the server had already collapsed due to the excessive number of applicants.

The enormous rush of applicants, however, came quite surprisingly this year, as the system to grant the incentives had been changed and the first-come-first basis was not the main criterium to select projects anymore. What is decisive now is a project’s rate of self-consumption. This means that the more solar power the photovoltaic system operators consume, the higher their chances of securing the incentives. The application will be ranked seven days after submission. However, applications can still be submitted afterwards.

The Austrian solar association, PVA had demanded and welcomed the conversion of the subsidy scheme. This would allow the funds to be distributed for more photovoltaic systems. “We expect an increase in expansion of between 30 and 40 percent due to the additional volume being allocated,” says Hans Kronberger from the PVA.

This could turn 2018 into a record year for PV in Austria. In addition to the €8 million that will be awarded in the course of the current allocation, there is a further funding pot that is available this year. From March 12, applications for a rebate for photovoltaic systems and storage can be submitted to OeMAG.

For this purpose, €15 million has been planned, of which at least €9 million should be accounted for the installation of photovoltaic systems. “Even the development of collective projects, which is now possible, will give us a record year in 2018,” continued Kronberger.