Germany Launches New Solar Farm Incentive

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The Bundesnetzagentur has today published details of its first ever competitive tender process for large-scale ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

“This pilot scheme promoting solar farms marks a new chapter in incentives for renewable energy. Financial incentives will no longer be based on rates set by the administration but will be determined by the competitors themselves,” said Jochen Homann, Bundesnetzagentur President. “We will be keeping a close eye on the tenderers to make sure they stick to the rules of the game. We are confident that the tenders will mirror our current diversity of market players,” he added.

Under last year’s revised Renewable Energy Sources Act, incentive rates for renewable electricity will no longer be set by the government but by a market mechanism. The aim of the tender process is to cut the costs of expanding renewable energy but at the same time keep the present diversity of market players and meet the government’s expansion targets. The pilot scheme is being tested for solar farms before it is introduced for all other renewable energy forms by 2017. “We will be able to see just how well the scheme works and make any necessary improvements,” Mr Homann explained.

Three rounds of tenders for solar farms will be run each year. Details of each tender round will be published on the Bundesnetzagentur’s website about eight weeks in advance together with the strict requirements for the tender documents.

Investors have until 15 April to submit their first-round tenders to the Bundesnetzagentur. In this round, a total of 150 MW is being put out for tender, with the maximum rate set at 11.29 cents per kilowatt hour. Each tender must include information and documents on the land to be developed for the solar farm and must specify an incentive rate (in cents per kilowatt hour) for the electricity to be generated and the farm’s capacity in kilowatts. Contracts will be awarded from the bottom up to the tenders with the lowest rates until the total volume put out for tender has been reached.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.