Country: Germany

Please find below latest updates as regards national policy and legal-administrative changes. For more information on these measures please contact the national association, contact details are available here

August 2014 - The latest EEG amendment (EEG 2014) applies as of 1 August 2014.

The Act amending the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and further acts and ordinances that (mainly) relate to energy law has been published in the German Federal Law Gazette (in German) on July 24th. With the entry into force of the so-called EEG 2014 or EEG 2.0 on 1 August 2014, the political framework for PV investments in Germany has changed in several aspects.pv

Here are some key changes of the EEG amendment as they pertain to Solar PV:

SOLAR SELF-CONSUMPTION

Under previous versions of the EEG, power generated by the consumer himself was not subject to the EEG surcharge. Repeated EEG surcharge increases (up to 6.24 ct/kWh in 2014) made it commercially more and more attractive to consume self-generated power (also referred to as auto-generation), without having to pay the EEG surcharge for it.

As of 1 August 2014, all new installations will be charged a pro rata EEG fee for electricity that operators produce and consume themselves. There will be an across-the-board charge of 40 percent of the respective EEG surcharge for all CHP and renewable energy electricity generation systems. Other fossil-fuel based auto-producers will be required to pay 100 percent of the EEG surcharge. This means that the differentiation between charges for manufacturing and non-manufacturing industry that has existed until now will no longer be applicable.

The full charge for all new systems commissioned after 1 August 2014 will be attained in three stages: 30 percent by the end of 2015, 35 percent by the end of 2016 and 40 percent of the EEG surcharge as of the year 2017. These reduced percentage rates are only applicable in those years. After 2017, systems commissioned in the years 2014 to 2016 will also be subject to the 40-percent surcharge. This currently corresponds to around 2.5 cents per kWh.

Newly installed systems with a capacity of up to 10 kWp and an annual output of 10 MWh will remain completely exempt from the EEG surcharge. This means the residential market segment on rooftops (17% of the market in GW in 2013) will be exempt.

Systems commissioned before 1 August 2014 and used for actual self-consumption or for self-consumption operations are exempted from the EEG surcharge. Systems operating in full feed-in mode that had planned to switch to self-consumption after 1 August 2014 in order to take advantage of the grandfathering clause will now have to be switched to self-consumption before 1 August.

The supply of tenants with solar power using direct supply models, which under the provisions of the former EEG could claim a partial exemption from the EEG surcharge, will in the future have to pay 100 percent of the EEG surcharge (elimination of the “solar green electricity privilege”).

RENUMERATION FOR PHOTOVOLTAICS

The existing breathing cap for solar power is modified with regard to the thresholds and the applicable additional support reductions or increases. Monthly solar support level adjustments start 1 September 2014.

The degression below 2,600 MW p.a. will decrease slightly. In case of a weaker market, the mechanism was improved. The FIT will decrease less or even increase in case of fewer systems being built in Germany.

The minimal “compensation” of the EEG self-consumption surcharge through the one-time increase in PV remuneration as of 1 August by 0.3 ct/kWh remains in place.

DIRECT MARKETING AND AUCTIONING

Contrary to the EEG 2012, the majority of new renewable power plants will not receive fixed feed-in tariffs for renewable energy under the EEG 2014. Instead, producers of renewable electricity will in principle be obliged to sell directly. They will obtain support in the form of market premiums paid on top of the market price for electricity, substantially covering the gap to the feed-in tariff amount (Section 19 EEG 2014). Until 31 December 2016 the market premiums will be determined by reference to the feed-in tariff amounts.

Under EEG 2014 direct marketing will be the rule, and only in exceptional cases will the operators of new renewable plants receive feed-in tariffs. One exception are small renewable power plants, in particular:

· plants commissioned before 1 January 2016 with an installed capacity of less than 500 kW (Section 37 para. 2 no. 1 EEG 2014)

· plants commissioned after 31 December 2015 with an installed capacity of less than 100 kW (Section 37 para. 2 no. 2 EEG 2014)

The coalition leaders were in agreement that the introduction of mandatory direct marketing should come about quicker than has so far been planned: Already as of 2016, all systems with an output of 100 kWp and more will be required to market electricity directly (until now this was not planned until 2017). A so-called statutory ordinance will be added, which as a follow-up to the passing of the law can introduce a green electricity marketing model

To test the viability of auctioning to determine support levels in the future, the EEG 2014 provides for the introduction of a tendering process for freestanding PV installations as a pilot project.

March 2014 - German Ministry of Economy publishes first draft of new Renewable Energy Law

On March 4th, 2014, the German Ministry of Economy introduced the first official draft revising the current Renewable Energy Law (EEG) and started the consultation process with national associations. The proposal is lacking clear rules regarding a possible new fee on self-consumed PV electricity. However, such rules are still supposed to be included during the political process finalizing the proposal. The government expects to issue a final version of the proposal in early April. German Parliament could then approve the reform in July, and it could then come into effect  starting on August 1st.  

February 2014 - German government responds to EU proceedings on German renewable energy law 

On February 28th, 2014, the German government has filed a complaint with the General Court of the European Union against an in-depth investigation opened by the European Commission in mid-December looking into whether EEG levy exemptions granted to energy-intensive companies in Germany violate EU state aid rules. The German Ministry of Economy (BMWi) claims that the reduction in the levy for energy-intensive companies is not state aid and that such exemptions are compliant with EU legislation. Under the German Renewable Energy Law as amended in 2012 (EEG Act 2012), energy intensive industries are granted reductions on the EEG levy, a surcharge on electricity bills that funds the country’s renewable energy programs. Over 2,300 companies applied to be exempted from paying the full EEG levy in 2014. For more information visit: http://www.bmwi.de/DE/Themen/Energie/Energiepolitik/europaeische-energiepolitik,did=627026.html (in German)

January 2014: New fee on self-consumed electricity under discussion

A new fee on self-consumed PV electricity could be introduced in Germany. According to the draft revision of the German Renewables Law (EEG), newly-installed PV systems between 10 kW and 10 MW would pay a fee on self-consumed electricity.

It would amount to 70% of the EEG surcharge that is set at 6.24 EUR cent/kWh, which means a 4.4 EUR cent/kWh fee on self-consumed PV electricity. This decision would affect negatively PV owners' electricity bill and the evolution of the PV installed capacity in Germany.  In addition, the draft EEG contains the progressive imposition of the “market integration program”, which until now was only one option among the different support schemes in Germany.  The draft EEG should be adopted by the Government in April 2014 and finally endorsed in the first half of 2014.