13 Oct 2020, 13:54
Alex Dziadosz

Germany's solar industry slams renewables act reform, cites possible EU law violation

Clean Energy Wire


The draft law that will amend Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) as of 2021 is receiving criticism from representatives of the country’s solar and wind energy industries. The German Solar Industry Association (Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft, BSW) said in a statement that Germany’s energy law was increasingly “discriminating” against solar operators—in particular those who consume some of the power themselves and do not feed the energy they produce entirely into the grid. The association pointed specifically to the EEG surcharge. Under the current plans, solar operators will need to pay a proportionate surcharge for solar self-consumption of more than 10 megawatt hours and for solar system output over 20 KWP (kilowatt peak), it said. After 20 years in operation, the surcharge will be due for every kilowatt hour of solar power consumed, it said. The EEG surcharge is added to consumer bills in proportion to power consumption and provides funds to remunerate electricity from renewable sources. In September, the state premier of Lower Saxony expressed support for scrapping the surcharge altogether because he said it was passing on the cost of the energy transition to the electricity sector.

The BSW said that the draft law could violate European law, which calls for member states to support self-consumption of solar power, and believed that the current plans could lead to a market slump in new photovoltaic installations and to thousands of solar systems becoming prematurely decommissioned. The association said the EEG surcharge had been criticised as a “sun tax” and called for solar operators to be exempted. “The 'sun tax' must finally fall,” Carsten Körnig, general manager of the German Solar Industry Association, said in a statement, arguing that the surcharge hindered retrofitting old solar power systems with battery storage, as well as e-filling stations and heat pumps and building new solar power systems.

In a separate statement, the German Wind Energy Association (Bundesverbands WindEnergie, BWE) criticised the draft amendment for no longer including the mandatory financial inclusion of local communities in profits earned by neighbouring wind farms. Instead, it includes a payment of 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour to “affected municipalities,” the BWE said. The association instead favours a mandatory payment with a more clearly defined recipient, as well as a percentage-based payment. The BWE said the voluntary option was “unsuitable” because it “does not clarify risks on the part of project developers and communities.”

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