Solar Feed-in Tariff Cut in April?

Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen (CDU) wants an extra solar feed-in tariff cut to become effective on 1 April 2012, Reuters reported after a meeting of the parliamentary party leaders of the ruling CDU/CSU and FDP coalition on Wednesday.

Details of the cut still remain unclear. Minister Röttgen again dismissed proposals by his colleague Economics Minister Philipp Rösler and others for a 1,000 MW cap on solar funding, arguing this would cripple the solar industry in Germany, Reuters said. The news agency quoted CDU member and energy expert Joachim Pfeiffer as saying that the participants of the meeting agreed that another large extra cut was necessary. Proposals ranged from 10% to 40%, Reuters said.

Minister Röttgen announced to work on the details together with the Economics Ministry starting next week, Reuters further reported. Allegedly Minister Röttgen also sees the need for tariff cuts for freestanding installations on large areas of land. In the recent past about one third of new capacity was erected on brownfield sites, Reuters pointed out (for the 2011 solar feed-in tariffs, please see here).

A change of the EEG by 1 April is procedurally challenging, and it is not yet clear how it shall be done. Different options appear to be discussed, including using an ordinance or backpacking the changes onto another (non-EEG) bill that is already further advanced in the parliamentary process. The latter technique was used for an EEG amendment which introduced capacity based additional cuts as of 1 July respectively 1 September 2011 (they eventually did not take place as capacities were not reached at the time).

The new discussion about an extra solar feed-in tariff cut was sparked by last year’s 7.5 GW PV record that happened despite regular annual as well as additional feed-in reductions in the past. Thus solar tariff cuts are yet again on the political agenda. 

Source: Reuters, energate

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