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Balcony power plant on a house in Dusseldorf: The previous regulations slow down investments

Photo: Robert Poorten / IMAGO

The German government wants to significantly reduce the bureaucratic burden for solar power plants – and thus ensure more electricity from the roofs and balconies of residential buildings. The cabinet wants to decide on Wednesday a package of measures, the so-called solar package I, as it was called from the green-led Ministry of Economics.

More than 50 bureaucratic barriers to this type of electricity generation have been identified. The corresponding law could be discussed in parliament in the fall – and possibly come into force at the beginning of 2024.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently spoke of a bureaucratic jungle that had developed over the decades. "In the meantime, this has become a real obstacle to investment." This must be addressed.

More open spaces for solar parks

His ministry has developed a practical check in exchange with the business community and those affected. For example, in the case of solar systems on balconies, registration with the grid operator is to be omitted. In addition, the transfer of solar power within apartment buildings will be facilitated.

The required registration in the so-called market master register is to be limited to a few details. In addition, according to the plans, reverse-turning electricity meters are to be tolerated until bidirectional meters are installed. Users of balcony power plants would thus save the usual price for each kilowatt hour fed into the grid.

Large plants with high self-consumption should also benefit from the legislative changes in the solar package: The proposal provides that plants with an installed capacity of one hundred kilowatts can pass on their surplus quantities to the grid operator without remuneration, but also without costs. So far, operators of such plants have been obliged to market directly.

In addition, more open spaces are to be used as solar parks. To this end, disadvantaged areas of agriculture are also to be opened up to the promotion of PV systems. The expansion of photovoltaics on agricultural land is to be limited to 80 gigawatts by 2030. The federal states can also curb the expansion if a certain proportion is already used by PV systems.

By 2030, according to the will of the traffic light coalition, the share of renewable energies in electricity consumption should be 80 percent. In addition to wind energy, solar plays a key role. In 2022, a capacity of 7.3 gigawatts was added. This has already been exceeded by July 2023.

The ministry's draft bill states that despite the reduction in bureaucracy, additional annual costs of almost 2027 million euros are expected until 25. These are mainly due to additional subsidies.