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German solar industry wants more land for expansion after oversubscribed auction

The German solar power industry wants the government to loosen restrictions and free up land to expand solar capacity, after far more bidders submitted offers in the first 2019 solar power auction than the 500-megawatt (MW) tender could absorb. Germany’s network agency BNetzA said in a press release that it received bids for a total capacity of almost 870 MW and awarded those with a capacity of roughly 505 MW, with most projects located in southern and eastern Germany. The average support level for all bids submitted was 6.59 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), up from 4.8 ct/kWh in the previous auction. The lowest accepted bid was 3.9 ct/kWh.
“The solar power industry (…) stands ready to take on greater responsibility for the energy transition,” BSW head Carsten Körnig said in a press release. The lobby group leader called for removing the “corset” of restrictions on solar power expansion and designating more land for solar power development. Körnig said annual expansion would have to triple or even quadruple to achieve a share of solar power needed for Germany to meet renewable power targets.

The German government coalition has revised the 2030 target for renewables share in electricity consumption from 55 to 65 percent. In 2018, renewables made up about 38 percent of power used in Germany. A greater share of wind, solar and other renewables is necessary as Germany will gradually phase out nuclear and coal power in the next years. Researchers have said Germany must come up with a comprehensive strategy to boost the expansion of solar power, especially within cities and by homeowners, to make better use of the technology’s vast potential.

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