Germany plans 1.5-GW extra solar tender to boost power supply

The 90-MW Klettwitz Nord solar park in Brandenburg, Germany. Image by GP JOULE.

September 14 (Renewables Now) - Germany is planning another set of changes to its energy legislation, including an additional 1.5-GW solar tender, in a push to increase green power production and cut gas consumption in the short term.

The third amendment to the Energy Security Act (EnSiG) and changes to other energy regulations should enable additional feed-in of photovoltaics, remove restrictions, provide more incentives for power production from biogas and accelerate grid expansion, the Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate Action said on Wednesday.

To spur the deployment of solar energy, the federal government plans to auction an additional 1.5 GW of photovoltaic capacity as part of a so-called "special crisis tender" which is scheduled to take place on January 15, 2023. Under the specific terms of the tender, the projects competing in the round must not exceed 100 MW and the solar plants must be connected to the grid within nine months so that they will be operational for the 2023/24 winter season.

The German solar industry association BSW welcomed the government's plan to leverage the potential for additional solar expansion. At the same time, the organisation warned that the terms of the special solar tender should be improved, otherwise it would fail to produce the desired results.

BSW believes that the nine-month implementation deadline for the projects that will be awarded in the tender is too short. Additionally, the planned increase in the capacity limit from 20 MW to 100 MW would be not effective unless a restrictive location requirement is removed, the association said in a statement on its website. The elimination of the location restriction is necessary because, under the current rules in most federal states, solar parks receiving EEG subsidies can be built only to a very limited extent on low-productivity soils, or the so-called disadvantaged areas.

The existing restriction for the installation of solar panels in these areas must be abolished, otherwise, solar tenders in Germany will be regularly undersubscribed in the future, said BSW's general manager Carsten Koernig.

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