Parliament Approves EEG Amendment Cutting Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Germany has come an important step closer to cutting solar feed-in tariffs. With 305 representatives in favour of the bill, 235 against and one abstention the German Bundestag (Parliament) yesterday approved the latest EEG amendment that cuts solar feed-in tariffs (mainly) as of 1 April 2012 for new plants.

Although the Bundestag’s press release (see link below) is not quite clear and only refers to the first draft (ref. no. 17/8877), it looks like Parliament voted in favour of the latest amendment made by the Environment Committee (ref. no. 17/9152) that contains the last minute changes by the ruling CDU/CSU and FDP coalition, we reported about. The press release by Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU – see link below) also confirms this view as the information regarding the changes include the latest changes.

The reduced feed-in tariffs reflect the enormous price decreases for solar power plants, BMU says, pointing out that the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) was only an instrument to facilitate market penetration of renewable energies and was not intended to provide excessive support. Hence, the amendment contained incentives for self-consumption of generated energy and for market integration of renewable energy.

As of 1 April a one time cut of tariffs for new plants takes place that differs depending on the type of PV installations. Certain grandfathering rules apply. As of May 2012 a further base degression applies (Section 20 b para. 1 EEG amendment) that can increase as of November 2012 (Section 20 b para. 2 et seqq.) if certain expansion targets are exceeded (so-called “breathing cap”).

Under the new “market-integration” provision (Section 33 EEG) small roof-top installations (up to 10 kW) will only receive feed-in tariff payments for 80% of the energy generated, larger plants (up to 1 MW) receive payments for 90% of the energy. Plants with a capacity of more than 1 MW and freestanding installations with a capacity of up to 10 MW will get feed-in payments for 100% of the energy generated. Thus the market integration provision is limited to plants for which either a self-consumption of the energy that is not remunerated or a sale of the energy makes sense, BMU points out.

Parliament also called on the government to intensify the support for storage technology. To this end the government will increase its activities with regard to research into storage technologies and draft proposals for a support programme for storage facilities, thus strengthening technical innovation with respect to decentralized generation and smart grids, BMU announced.

BMU further pointed out that the EEG amendment will improve cost efficiency and provide for an ecological and economical reasonable expansion of up to 52 GW by 2020. This would mean that solar energy accounted for 8% of the German electricity mix in 2020.

The next step on the road to lower EEG feed-in tariffs for solar energy is a vote by the Bundesrat (Federal Council). In today’s meeting of the Bundesrat, the Federal Council decided to refer a resolution on the amendment to the relevant Committee.

Source: Bundestag; Erneuerbare Energien

Related posts: