EEG Clearing Agency on Feed-in Tariffs for Freestanding PV Power Plants > 500 kW under EEG 2014

The EEG Clearing Agency, which serves interested parties with regard to the interpretation and disputes relating to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), confirmed that under the EEG that entered into force in August 2014 (EEG 2014), new freestanding PV power plants with a capacity of more than 500 kW are no longer eligible for feed-in tariffs, but can (only) claim a market premium in addition to the revenue the operator obtains by selling power himself.

With the EEG 2014 a major change in the support system for new renewable energy occurred (certain grandfathering rules exist). Whereas operators could claim fixed feed-in tariffs in the past if they did not voluntarily opt for selling power themselves and claiming a market premium, direct marketing by operators has become mandatory under the EEG 2014 (cf.  Section 2 para. 2 EEG 2014). Fixed feed-in tariffs are only paid for small plants in the sense of Section 37 EEG 2014 and in case  of the so-called fallback remuneration (Ausfallvergütung), which applies in particular if the direct marketing counterparty is not available (e.g. because of insolvency; cf. Section 38 EEG 2014).

1. Feed-in Tariffs for Free-standing PV Power Plants Under the EEG 2014

EEG Clearing Agency pointed out that like any other renewable power plant freestanding PV power plants which are commissioned before 1 January 2016 only receive feed-tariff payments if they have a capacity of 500 kW or below. As of 1 January 2016 this threshold falls to 100 kW (see Section 37 para. 1 EEG 2014).

This rather unambiguous provision apparently still needed clarification by the EEG Clearing Agency as the agency further said “This provision (Section 37 para. 1 EEG 2014) applies irrespective of the fact that Section 55 paras. 1 and 2 EEG 2014, according to which financial support (under the EEG) is determined by auctions, does not apply until an auction model pursuant to Section 55 para. 3 EEG 2014 (for determining financial support for freestanding PV power plants under the EEG) is introduced. According to the EEG 2014 financial support for renewable energy sources and mine gas and its specific amount shall be determined through auctions by 2017 at the latest. Experience with auctions shall be gained in pilot projects with freestanding solar power plants. Auctions shall start in 2015 (for more information, please see here).

2. Establishing the Capacity of PV Power Plants

EEG Clearing Agency also commented on how to establish the capacity of PV power plants, stressing that plants can be considered as “one plant” just to establish financial support according to the EEG 2014. Capacity is established pursuant to Section 37 para. 4 which refers to Section 32 para. 1 sent. 1 EEG 2014 and, which is interesting, not to the special provision for PV power plants in Section 32 para. 2 EEG 2014 (according to which plants can be more easily considered “one plant”). Two main aspects for considering plants “one plant” pursuant to Section 32 para. 1 sent. 1 EEG 2014 are

  • whether they are located on one piece of land or in the immediate vicinity of one another
  • whether they are commissioned within twelve consecutive calendar months

Information by the EEG Clearing Agency as to when these criteria are fulfilled under the EEG 2014 are not yet available.

Source: EEG Clearing Agency

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