Dazzling result for photovoltaics

Work to expand ground-mounted PV capacity is going to plan: Almost all projects approved in 2015 are now operational.

Two sheep on a meadow with solar panels.© Maria Parussel

Figures released by the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) in May this year show that the system of auctioning support for the building of ground-mounted photovoltaics installations is working extremely well. Almost all of the projects for which awards were approved at the beginning of 2015 had been realised by the start of May this year, and the relevant ground-mounted photovoltaics installations commenced operation.
“This is a fantastic outcome,” said Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The funding rates for these projects were set as part of a competitive process and we now know that operators are actually implementing their projects within this framework."

Funding rates fall significantly

Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2017) stipulates that funding rates for renewables installations are no longer to be set by government but be determined by competition. Auctions for ground-mounted PV installations were first piloted in 2015. Twenty-five of the 170 bids submitted were approved. Their combined capacity was 157 megawatts. The funding rate determined by the auctions at that time was an average of 9.17 cent per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. In the sixth and final round of pilot auctions at the end of 2016, this fell to 6.9 cent (overall development shown by our chart). In the first regular round of auctions, held in February 2017, the funding rate fell even further, dropping to 6.58 cent. This clearly shows that the auctioning schemes really do lead to considerable reductions in funding.

The operators of the new ground-mounted PV installations who had been granted funding in the first round of auctions at the start of 2015 were able to submit their applications for funding up until 6 May 2017. Almost all operators took advantage of this opportunity, with close to 100 per cent of all projects being realised as planned. There was only one project in which 15 per cent less capacity was built than was stated in the bid.

To be continued...

The pilot auctions for ground-mounted PV installations were a complete success and have now become standard practice, as stipulated in the 2017 Renewable Energy Sources Act. The next deadlines for bids to be submitted for solar installations are 1 June and 1 October 2017. The Bundesnetzagentur, the German regulatory authority for the energy market, will publish all of the relevant information six to eight weeks prior to each of these two dates.