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Increasing interest in power from old solar PV installations

A growing number of regional utility companies are showing interest in buying electricity generated from solar PV installations that are more than 20 years old and will cease to receive feed-in payments in the coming year, Petra Hannen reports in pv magazine. Storage company Sonnen, utility company Wemag, and utility companies in the towns of Rot and Kassel will be offering different schemes to owners of small rooftop PV systems, such as bundling and selling their output or optimising the owners’ own consumption of their electricity. Some hurdles for these new business models remain – selling the power from the solar installations on the market requires an intelligent meter system that households would have to pay for and install, or be exempt from having. And the renewables surcharge, which consumers pay per kilowatt-hour, should be lifted for households that have generated the electricity themselves, Wemag project manager Björn Böttger argues in the article. Such changes could still be made to the new Renewable Energy Act, which is currently being drafted by the energy ministry.

A first draft of the bill includes an interim solution for the old solar PV installations, suggesting they could continue feeding into the grid and would receive the market value minus marketing costs for their electricity.

Germany has set itself a target of achieving a 65 percent renewables share of overall power consumption by 2030 in order to reach greenhouse-gas neutrality by 2050. But apart from a slow-down in renewables expansion rates over the past years, there is also a looming possibility that up to 17,000 megawatt of onshore wind and solar PV capacity could retire in the early 2020s if no feasible business model is found for them.

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