Researchers at the Michigan Technological University claim to have demonstrated that PV system owners in the United Stated are unjustly subsidizing electric utilities. Their analysis showed that, thanks to rooftop PV, utilities and their non-PV customers can save money from avoided costs for new grid, reserve, and generation capacity, as well as for avoided operation and maintenance and environmental and health liabilities due to fossil fuel power generation.
The Dutch government said that the budget increase will allow several solar projects that were excluded from the previous round to secure contracts in the next one. In the last round, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency received €9.06 billion of applications for just €5 billion of available subsidies.
The draft feed-in tariff scheme should be approved by the end of the month. Payments for residential solar systems are expected to fall only 0.34% but those for utility scale solar may be reduced by 2.2%. An increase is set to be granted to projects in remote areas and also to those which rely on high-efficiency modules.
The pitfalls of riding the ‘solar coaster,’ with boom-and-bust cycles dictated by government policies, are well known. Given this, it should come as little surprise that subsidy-free PV in Europe is a theme for which there is a particular appetite. The Future PV Roundtable and The smarter E Europe 2019 event tackled this theme. The first part of the event focused on the utility scale, and the following are some of the key takeaways.
In addition to solar subsidy cutbacks of around 20%, planned for the start of 2019, the German Federal Ministry of Economics’ draft Energy Sources Act includes special tenders for PV and onshore wind. While many say the cuts cause great uncertainty for large-scale project developers, politician Peter Altmaier sees it differently: the energy transition is becoming safer and more affordable, he says. The decision to adopt or change the act now lies with the Federal Parliament.
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