German network authority the Bundesnetzagentur has made changes to the terms of its solar tenders in response to a call from developers last week to delay grid-connection deadlines for facilities being built under the national procurement program for large scale PV.
“The coronavirus has created an exceptional situation,” the authority said after taking measures to avoid penalties being applied for missed project completion deadlines. Developers made the call because of the disruption they are suffering thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tenders which are under way will experience a delay but the Bundesnetzagentur said developers should follow the existing timetable to lodge project bids. Rather than publishing the results online, which would trigger new deadlines under the normal procedure, the outcomes will be announced in another manner once an assessment of the Covid-19 situation has been made.
However, other key data relating to the tenders will continue to be made public, including the number of bids received and the range of electricity tariffs offered. “In the tenders, in which solar systems can participate, the capacity assigned to projects on arable and grassland areas will also published,” said the authority.
For example, the procurement round for ground-mounted projects has been split: one exercise will now allocate a third of the planned capacity on July 3 and another will allot the balance on November 3.
“The DGEC heard our proposal to maintain the July deadline by reducing the volume,” said Xavier Daval, president of the solar commission of French renewables trade body the Syndicate of renewable energies. “The impacts of coronavirus today concern all operators in the sector: module manufacturers, developers, manufacturers … But also other stakeholders in photovoltaic projects: network operators, administrative services, ecologists … This raises fears of a significant delay for the normal resumption of activities.”
The trade body and energy division are discussing how to approach connection deadlines and financial penalties for missing them. “We have a comprehensive and proactive administration in front of us,” Daval told pv magazine. In terms of rebooting the sector after Covid-19, the industry representative added: “Now is a good time to pinpoint inertia problems in the industry.”
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