Higher Feed-In Tariffs for Solar Energy in Germany

The reform of the German Law on Priority for Renewable Energy that recently passed the German Parliament (Bundestag) is a long text with many interesting aspects. Understanding all the details requires some serious efforts. Energy lawyer Matthias Lang reports he had an intern running away from his internship when he asked him for help studying this issue.

I for one don’t plan on running. But it is of course also impossible to discuss all aspects of this reform in one blog post. For anyone who wants a short overview I recommend this post by Craig Morris.

The way to go ahead is to look at the new law and discuss interesting points in separate posts.

With this post, I would like to point to Article 29 Paragraph 4 Number 3 of the new law. It introduces for the first time the possibility to increase solar feed-in tariffs.

Paragraph 1 sets a goal of between 2.4 and 2.6 GW a year of new capacity. Wind has the same goal in Article 28 Paragraph 1, except that for wind all capacity abandoned in that year is added, so the goal is a net increase.

If there is less than 1 GW new solar capacity, the feed-in tariffs go up by 1.5%. As far as I know that is a new idea. Solar feed-in tariffs only ever moved in one direction.

Down.

There was already a ceiling of 52 GW solar capacity before this reform. And Germany already has 36.5 GW as of 31 May of this year. There are only 15.5 GW left until that ceiling is reached. It doesn’t matter ever so much now how fast that will happen. 70 percent of the goal of 52 GW is already achieved.

But it is still worth noting that this law does not want the remaining 15.5 GW to take much more than six years. And it resorts to the unheard of extreme measure of increasing feed-in tariffs if the speed goes down too much.

Update: As Paul Gipe kindly pointed out by mail, the possibility of increasing feed-in tariffs for solar actually already existed before. I should have checked this and regret the mistake. A look at Article 20b of the Law in its current state confirms this.

Damn. So much for my attempt to find any good news.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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