Germany introduces new renewable energy law


Germany's parliament has approved today, at the third reading, a draft of the reform of the country's renewable energy law, the so-called “EEG-Novelle.”

With the new provisions, several changes will be introduced for the PV sector. One of the most important ones relates to the exemption from the payment of the so-called EEG-levy, which is usually applied to all power producers and finances all of the country's renewable energy support schemes, that exemption will be applied to the owners of PV systems for self-consumption not exceeding 30 kW in size and producing no more than 30 MWh per year. Under the previous rules, this limit was set at 10 kW. The measure will apply to both existing and new PV systems, starting from January.

Furthermore, the feed-tariff scheme for rooftop PV has been maintained – although only for systems with a capacity of up to 300 kW – while, under the previous regulatory framework, this size limit was 750 kW.

The owners of PV installations ranging in size from 300 kW to 750 kW will be given two different options: building their projects under the tender scheme for utility scale PV, but without being allowed self-consumption; or receiving a FIT – halved compared to smaller systems – but with permission to self-consume the generated energy.

PV plants with an installed power of over 750 kW, as under previous rules, will be entitled to receive a premium payment but will have to be selected through public tenders.

The German sector has reacted lukewarmly to these new provisions. The German solar energy association, BSW-Solar, said that with the new reform, individual market brakes will be loosened but at the same time, new market barriers will be created. The trade body fears, in particular, that the planned FIT cuts for PV systems with a power of 300-750 kW will result in a significant market decline.

On the other hand, BSW-Solar sees the increase in the exemption for self-consumption for photovoltaic systems up to 30 kW as a step in the right direction. It also welcomed that operators of existing photovoltaic systems with an output of up to 7 kW will continue to be excluded from the compulsory installation of smart meters.

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