Hungary launches first renewables auction and tops 1.1 GW of solar

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The Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (HEPURA) has launched the nation’s first auction for procuring renewable energy generation capacity.

The process was opened for bids today and participants have until December 12 to lodge their proposals. The results are expected to be published early next year.

Under the procurement exercise, HEPURA will award feed-in premium payments – on top of wholesale electricity returns – during 15-year contracts to two types of project: Facilities with a generation capacity of 300 kW-1 MW and 1-20 MW installations.

The auction is part of the METAR-KÁT renewables incentive program introduced by the Hungarian government in 2017. The scheme was approved by the European Commission in July last year and entered force three months later with a 10-year budget of HUF45 billion ($153 million). The initiative pays a feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy systems with a generation capacity of up to 500 kW, premium payments to supplement wholesale power prices for 500 kW-1 MW installations and introduced the auction system for larger projects.

Another record year

HEPURA revealed Hungary’s installed PV capacity grew from around 726 MW at the end of last year to approximately 1,144 MW at the end of June. The approximately 418 MW of solar added in the first half of this year surpassed the 411 MW which came online in the whole of 2018. The authority said residential PV systems account for around 388.5 MW of Hungary’s solar capacity.

The rise of solar in the 18 months covered by the latest figures is down to a rush to approve projects by the end of 2016, when the previous FIT (in Hungarian, KÁT) regime expired. HEPURA said it expects 1.4 GW of new solar to come online in the years ahead as a result of the old and new renewables incentive systems.

Hungary’s National Renewable Action Plan aims to have renewables supply 14.65% of the nation’s electricity by next year.