The last amendment to the EEG 2021 has barely been in force for half a year, yet the German legislator has once again amended key provisions in the EEG 2021 that relate to PV installations.
Here an outline of the most important changes:
The changes in detail:
The increase in tender volumes for PV installations by 4.1 GW to 6 GW, which was already included in the proposed wording of the EEG amendment of April 2021, has now been approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.
Of this, 2 GW will be allocated to tenders for installations in the first segment (especially ground-mounted installations), 2 GW to tenders for installations in the second segment (especially rooftop installations) in 2022, and 100 MW more to solar installations in the innovation tender.
In 2022, three instead of two tenders are planned (1 April, 1 August, and 1 December) due to the increased tender volumes.
The increase is intended to enable the realisation of more PV installations in light of recent heavily oversubscribed tenders. If this increase is sufficient to really exploit unused PV potential seems questionable. However, it would definitely be a step in the right direction.
For PV installations of the first segment, i.e. in particular ground-mounted installations, it is now only necessary to provide a single security in the amount of EUR 50/kW immediately upon bid submission when participating in tenders. In addition, this amount can now be reduced by half if an approved development plan is submitted or if proof is provided that a planning approval procedure has been carried out in accordance with Section 38 of the German Building Code (BauGB).
Due to multiple delays in the realisation of PV installations as a result of the Corona pandemic, the realisation period, i.e. the period for commissioning the installation after successful participation in a tender, will temporarily be extended to 32 months for installations in the first segment. However, this only applies to installations that have received an award in the 2021 and 2022 tenders, as well as retroactively for awards granted before 1 January 2021, to the extent that they are still effective. From 2023, the familiar deadlines will apply again.
As a transitional measure, operators will therefore have more time for commissioning their installations after a successful participation in a tender; certainly a welcome relief for many operators.
However: If the originally applicable realisation periods (24 months) are exceeded, the value to be applied (anzulegender Wert) will be reduced by 0.3 ct/kWh.
According to the proposed changes, an awarded bid will immediately entitle the participant to remuneration under the EEG from the grid operator. It is therefore no longer necessary to apply to the BNetzA to receive a payment authorisation (Zahlungsberechtigung). In addition, an award no longer expires if certain implementation deadlines are exceeded, but will be valid for 21 years after publication. If the installation is commissioned immediately after publication, the total remuneration period can therefore be extended by up to one year.
For installations in the second segment, the tender process will therefore be as follows:
In addition, instead of the security of EUR 70/kW formerly required, a so-called project security contribution (Projektsicherungsbeitrag) of EUR 35/kW must now be paid. Although this means that a smaller amount must be paid, it is mandatory to pay it in cash into a deposit account of the Federal Network Agency. Proof of a bank guarantee is no longer possible. After realisation of the rooftop system, the grid operator repays the amount as part of the first final invoice.
For operators of installations in the second segment, this means that in addition to organisational simplifications, there are also opportunities to benefit from the EEG feed-in tariff for a longer period of time.
However, a large part of the new provisions, including those mentioned above, still requires approval by the European Commission under state aid law. Before approval is granted, new provisions such as the increase in the tender volume may not be applied. Until then, the previous provisions of the EEG 2021 will continue to apply in full.
If and when the Commission will approve the changes is not yet possible to say. We will inform you as soon as there is any news.