EEG 2004: Commissioning Date of PV Modules Exchanged Due to Defects

Clearingstelle EEG (EEG Clearing Agency) has issued a recommendation (ref. no. 2008/19) regarding the commissioning date of PV modules pursuant to the Renewable Energy Sources Act 2004 (EEG 2004) that were exchanged due to defects.


EEG Clearing Agency is an independent body established by the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety that serves interested parties with regard to the interpretation and disputes relating to the EEG.

EEG 2004 stipulates in Section 3 para 4 that “Commissioning shall mean the first time a plant is put into operation, following establishment of operational readiness or its modernisation, if modernisation costs amount to at least 50 per cent of the investment costs required to build a completely new plant including all building structures and installations technically required for its operation”.

As the second alternative provides that if modernisation costs are lower than 50% of the investment costs, the original commissioning date of the plant, on which feed-in tariffs depend, remains unchanged, the question arose whether an exchange of PV modules due to material defects, falls under the second alternative of Section 3 para 4 EEG 2004.

In a complex 63-page long reasoning, EEG Clearingstelle argues against the application of the second alternative of Section 3 para 4 EEG 2004. It recommends to ascertain the commissioning date of the exchanged PV modules pursuant to the first alternative of Section 3 para 4 EEG 2004, i.e. the first time it is put into operation.

EEG 2004 has meanwhile been revised by EEG 2009. Section 3 no. 5 EEG 2009 does not contain the second alternative of Section 3 para 4 EEG 2004 any longer. It reads “commissioning” shall mean the first time an installation is put into operation, following the establishment of operational readiness, irrespective of whether the generator in the installation was put into operation using renewable energy sources, mine gas or other energy sources”.

Source: Clearingstelle EEG

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