Unsubsidized 175 MW solar project under development in Germany

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From pv magazine Germany.

Solar developer EnBW has announced it wants to build the largest PV power plant in Germany, in the northeastern region of Brandenburg.

A statement by the company today revealed EnBW has acquired the 175 MW Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park from Procon Solar, and that the project has been in development since 2009.

A 164-hectare plot has already been secured for the project, which has had its development plan approved, and development is currently in the technical detail planning stage with EnBW able to begin construction by the end of the year.

Business newspaper Handelsblatt has reported the decision over whether to start construction this year will depend on the market situation.

EnBW says the project would be built without any subsidy provided for under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) with the developer convinced subsidy-free large solar parks will be economically feasible in the near future in Germany.

Subsidy-free German solar

“We have seen a remarkable development over the past few years in solar technology,” said Dirk Güsewell, head of generation portfolio development at EnBW. “Due to technical advances, the cost of constructing solar parks has fallen dramatically – by up to 90% over the last ten years in Germany. Therefore, today the costs involved in solar energy are on at least an equal footing with other technologies – which has also been demonstrated by the results of the latest [renewable energy procurement] auctions. We anticipate that the first large solar projects will be realized without EEG funding in the foreseeable future. Solar energy thus has a realistic chance of achieving this market maturity.”

Utility-scale PV plants can generate power for less than €0.05/kWh in Germany at a time when electricity spot prices are rising.

EnBW said it wants to invest in further large-scale solar projects and has an 800 MW pipeline. The company currently has 70 MW of grid connected PV capacity in Germany and says it has four more projects, with a total capacity of 25 MW, either under construction or at the planning stage.

The largest current operational PV project in Germany is also in Brandenburg – on waste tips of the former Meuro lignite mine – and consists of solar park Schipkau, with a 72 MW capacity, and the Senftenberg I, II and III parks, with a further 96 MW.

This article was amended on 06/02/19 to include the details of EnBW’s press statement. Max Hall contributed to the revised article.