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German solar lobby warns 450,000 PV arrays could be decommissioned by 2030

Germany’s solar industry association BSW has warned that almost 450,000 PV arrays could be decommissioned by 2030 following the end of feed-in tariff payments, reports the newswire dpa in an article carried by Focus Online. An analysis commissioned by BSW and conducted by EUPD Research says that 446,000 installations with a combined capacity of 3.37 gigawatts could stop generating electricity. “From a technological point of view, the continued operation of these solar power arrays built in the early 2000s at least for another ten years is possible and makes sense in terms of climate policy,” said the EUPD’s Martin Ammon, who headed the research.

“The majority of operators will switch off their solar systems as soon as they are no longer eligible for subsidies after 20 years, as their continued operation will then no longer be profitable,” Ammon said, adding that the obligation to invest in expensive smart meters and the renewable levy on self-generated power will deter most owners from keeping their installations running. One option for owners could be to sell their power to utility companies that have recently said they will offer different schemes for small rooftop PV systems, such as bundling and selling the output or optimising own consumption.  

In the framework of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the core legislation of Germany’s energy transition, renewables operators can sell their electricity for a fixed price guaranteed for 20 years. This time period is nearing its end for many arrays built in the early 2000s. The same problem applies to many wind turbines. However, Germany will try to retain most of its wind power capacity that will lose its guaranteed remuneration after dropping out of the 20-year feed-in tariff support scheme from next year on with a strategy that combines the so-called repowering of older turbines with newer models at the same location and the power purchase agreements (PPAs) that allow companies to directly source their electricity from old wind farms. Germany is aiming to increase the share of renewables in power consumption, which rose to around 50 percent this year, to 65 percent by 2030 and is struggling to keep expansion at pace, which is why it can ill afford losing capacity that has already been built. 

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