Solar Feed-in Tariffs Cuts For 1 July 2012 If No New Agreement Will be Reached

As many readers will know, an amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) with the aim to cut back solar feed-in tariffs was approved by Parliament in late March, but rejected by the Federal Council in May. The matter has been discussed in the Mediation Committee, but so far without a result. The next meeting of the Mediation Committee will take place on 27 June 2012. Should the EEG remain unchanged the following mid-year reduction of solar feed-in tariffs pursuant to the currently applicable EEG will take place.

The mid-year degression rate and the resulting solar feed-in tariffs as of 1 July 2012 have been established by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the German grid regulator, in accordance with the currently applicable Section 20a para. 5 EEG. The reductions are based on the additions of new solar power plants between 1 September 2011 and 1 May 2012. Since the threshold of 7,500 MW in Section 20a para. 5 EEG was exceeded, a 15% degression rate applies.

This degression rate translates into 1 July 2012 solar feed-in tariffs pursuant to Sections 32 and 33 EEG as below:

  • Freestanding installations pursuant to Section 32 para. 1 EEG: 15.25 ct/kWh
  • Freestanding installations on conversion areas pursuant to Section 32 para. 2 EEG: 15.95 ct/kWh
  • Installations in, attached to or on top of a building or a noise protection wall pursuant to Section 33 para. 1 EEG
    • with an installed capacity of up to 30 kW: 20.76 ct/kWh
    • with an installed capacity of up to 100 kW: 19.75 ct/kWh
    • with an installed capacity of up to 1 MW: 18.68 ct/kWh
    • with and installed capacity of more than 1 MW: 15.58 ct/kWh

BNetzA also emphasized that the bill to amend solar feed-in tariffs (that the Federal Council rejected) stipulates solar feed-in tariff cuts as of 1 April 2012. Depending on the outcome of the Mediation Committee procedure, it remains to be seen from when the new feed-in tariffs shall apply. In this context, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat will have to carefully consider whether or to what extent a retroactive effect of changes will be constitutional. Inter alia, the constitutional guarantee of protection of legitimate interests (Vertrauensschutz) will have to be observed. The fact that solar cuts have been discussed since the beginning of the year will also have to be taken into account.

Source: Federal Network Agency/Federal Gazette

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