“Germany’s new 4 GW solar tenders are a huge opportunity”

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From pv magazine Germany.

pv magazine: In Germany, the government recently launched a series of additional special tenders for PV projects that exceed 750 kW in size and which add up to 4 GW of total capacity. Will the German market become interesting again?

Carsten Körnig: Absolutely! We are going back to the gigawatt range. Overall, in addition to the existing regular tendered capacities, a further 4 GW will be allocated by 2021. This is a great opportunity for the companies that have been active in Germany to date, as well as for newcomers. Germany offers reliable framework conditions for investors and an attractive outlook.

What, specifically, do you mean by an attractive outlook?

The German Solar Association – BSW-Solar – has campaigned heavily for the special tenders, as solar parks can generate electricity very cheaply and, in addition to photovoltaic roof systems, are an essential element in achieving Germany’s climate goals. This is a considerable achievement for the companies active in this market segment because it will generate additional sales potential in the next three years in the range of €3.5 billion to €4.5 billion.

The special tenders are currently limited to 2021. How big is the risk that the market will then shrink, as it did after 2013?

The situation today is completely different: solar power has become very cheap and it is now a common idea that we must switch to clean energy production if Germany wants to achieve its own climate commitments. But [the energy transition] is not guaranteed! Every day we experience which forces are still being applied against renewable energies. That’s why BSW-Solar is so important. Currently, the members of our working group on large-scale solar – PV-Großkraftwerke – are increasing their efforts to understand how the temporary special tenders can be maintained. We invite all national and international actors to participate and to work towards this common goal.

The framework conditions for solar parks in Germany have changed considerably compared to the boom years we saw from 2010 to 2013. What should companies pay attention to when they want to re-enter the German market?

Above all, it is important to understand the auction rules well and to adapt your own business strategy accordingly. On which areas may solar parks be built? Which capacity restrictions are there? How can I switch between the fixed premium tariff over the market price and other forms of selling power? These and other questions will be discussed on February 13, in a one-hour English language webinar.

What trends do you see in Germany for utility-scale PV projects?

As an industrialized country, Germany will increasingly rely on large photovoltaic power plants for a secure and cost-effective power supply. It is not just about generating kWh, but also increasingly about renewable combined cycle power plants and system services. In this way, new synergies, sources of revenue and business models will be associated in the future. Many ideas and approaches have just outgrown the research and development stage. With the right framework for the planned innovation tenders, new business models can emerge.