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Number of support-free solar parks rises in Germany

Solar parks built without relying on financial support are becoming increasingly common in Germany, reports Claus Haffert for newswire dpa. Consultancy Energy Brainpool estimates that the combined capacity financed via power purchase agreements (PPAs) amounts to 560 megawatts (MW) – equivalent to parks the size of 1,100 football pitches –, according to the article carried by enorm magazine. This year alone, PPA-financed solar parks with a total capacity of 250 MW will start generating electricity, according to Energy Brainpool.

Utility EnBW is currently building Germany’s largest solar park without support payments, which will have a capacity of 187 MW and will go online step by step starting this month, according to the report. EnBW said the park near the capital Berlin will cost around 100 million euros. The utility said it is currently possible to profitably operate a solar park without support payments starting at a size of 50 MW. Utility RWE has also started to get involved and will provide electricity to car supplier Bosch from a number of smaller solar parks.

But the German Solar Association (BSW) cautioned the parks can only be realised “under ideal circumstances” at present. The lobby group said the outlook for parks that no longer rely on support payments will improve in the second half of this decade, as investment costs decrease further and CO2 prices are likely to rise.

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. Germany’s solar power industry marked its steepest climb in business climate in 15 years in the summer, with the industry crediting the improvement largely to the government’s decision to eliminate the 52-gigawatt funding cap for solar energy. The cap had been put in place in 2012 over worries about rising costs, but solar power prices have since plummeted, not least due to significantly cheaper production in Asia.

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