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Minister Habeck: “More speed and less bureaucracy for the expansion of solar energy” – solar package paves the way for the rate of expansion to triple
Today, the Federal Government adopted the solar package tabled by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action in the Cabinet. In light of the ambitious PV targets for 2030, the adopted measures will speed up the rate of expansion of PV capacity. The legislative package draws on a large-scale consultation process with the solar industry and also with citizens and implements key elements of the Photovoltaics Strategy, which was presented by the ministry in May 2023. At the same time, the solar package sets an example in terms of cutting red tape. A reality check preceding the drawing up of the solar package was used to identify bureaucratic obstacles and clear them away in the new legislation.
Says Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck: “We need more speed and less bureaucracy for the expansion of solar energy, and this is exactly what we have designed this solar package to achieve. To attain our expansion targets, we need to triple the rate of expansion to reach an annual increase of 22 gigawatts by 2026. This is ambitious, given that we added 7.5 gigawatts last year. Therefore, we adopted the solar package in the Cabinet today, with a large number of new provisions that will increase the rate of expansion of ground-mounted and rooftop capacity and improve public participation. At the same time, we are removing obstacles and cutting through the masses of red tape.”
This means, for instance, that the requirement for balcony PV installations to be registered with the grid operator is to be scrapped. Overall, the options for direct marketing of electricity will be more flexible, including in apartment blocks.
“Another focus of the package is on providing areas for solar farms in a way that is sustainable and compatible with nature and on using agrivoltaics to allow for farming land to be used for two purposes at the same time – for agriculture and for electricity generation”, Minister Habeck continued.
The key points of the solar package:
1. Acceleration of PV expansion in rural and urban areas
In the interest of reaching the target of 215 gigawatts of PV capacity by 2030, annual expansion is to be tripled from 7.5 gigawatts in 2022 to 22 gigawatts in 2026. This additional capacity is to come from rooftop installations and ground-mounted installations in roughly equal shares. The legislative package addresses both types of installation. To increase the amount of ground-mounted capacity, new types of areas will be opened up to a sensible degree and funding for innovative solar installations such as agrivoltaics, biodiversity PV and installations on car parks increased. A host of bureaucratic hurdles will be cleared away to boost the uptake of rooftop installations, landlord-to-tenant electricity supply and balcony PV installations; also grid connections will be established faster.
2. Ground-mounted PV: expansion in tune with nature conservation and agriculture
A central element of the package is to also protect the interests of agriculture and nature conservation. In principle, funding for solar installations is to also become available in disadvantaged areas that have previously been used as agricultural land. At the same time, however, a clear upper limit will ensure a sound balance between the two types of land use. Also, once one per cent of the agricultural land in a German Land is used for solar installations, this Land can also decide to close off these disadvantaged areas to further PV use. For special PV installations allowing for a particularly efficient dual use of land (agrivoltaics, installations on car parks, floating voltaics and peatland voltaics), a separate auctions segment will be introduced and gradually increased in volume, so that these types of installations will account for an increasing share of the ground-mounted installations. In the interest of nature protection, a new category called ‘biodiversity voltaics’ will be introduced and measures for nature conservation given special funding in the context of agrivoltaics.
3. Cutting red tape to speed up expansion of rooftop capacity
In the interest of achieving an additional expansion of rooftop capacity by 11 gigawatts every year, some major obstacles are being addressed and removed. These were identified in a so-called reality check in cooperation with the industry, as well as in a large-scale consultation on the PV Strategy with associations, civil society and municipalities, and in a petition regarding balcony PV installations. There is a focus on rooftops of commercial buildings: the obligation to engage in direct marketing as soon as 100 kW of capacity has been reached will be made more flexible; the threshold for the need for an installation certificate will be increased from 135 kW to 270 kW of feed-in quantity, and the pooling of installations will be limited to those using the same grid connection. For smaller PV installations, connection to the grid will be established faster and the technical requirements for direct marketing loosened. Funding will be made available for PV installations on existing buildings that are not yet used for PV and ‘repowering’ made possible, e.g. a renewal of rooftop installations.
4. Significant simplification of landlord-to-tenant and balcony PV electricity supply
The solar package also seeks to give citizens an opportunity to participate in the expansion of PV. To this end, the rules governing the joint use of PV installations (e.g. on multi-family homes) will be drastically simplified. The so-called “communal building supply” will make it possible to easily share PV electricity within the same building – without having to fulfil all the requirements of a (commercial) electricity supplier. At the same time, landlord-to-tenant electricity supply will also be simplified and extended to commercial buildings.
The rules on balcony solar PV will also become much less complicated: instead of the current two applications, only one much simpler one will be required and there will be no more need to wait until a new meter has been installed. Until the arrival of the new meter, it will be acceptable for the old one to run backwards.
For further information on the draft legislation, please consult the following documents: