- Germany expects up to 200 GW solar PV capacity can be installed in the country through agrivoltaics and marshland
- A white paper released by 3 federal ministries recommends using all available and suitable land to be used for the purpose
- Such projects can then be funded under the EEG act for which BMWK can include a proposal in the Easter package
A white paper released by the German Ministries of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), Environment (BMUV) and Agriculture (BMEL) sees great potential to use open agricultural spaces to deploy solar PV capacity, and counts PV potential of up to 200 GW through agrivoltaics and marshland.
The new coalition government in Germany has already promised to bring in a Solar Acceleration Package to install up to 20 GW capacity annually later this decade to achieve 200 GW solar installed capacity target by 2030, up from around 60 GW today (see Germany Pushing Renewables For Climate Targets).
Now 3 ministries led by the Green Party suggest agricultural areas and moorland to be used extensively for the expansion of solar PV in the future, funded under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). They plan to include the proposal in the Easter package of BMWK for it to be added in legal regulations in the EEG.
German Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said, “We aim to generate 80% of our electricity from renewable sources in less than 9 years. Today we are at just over 40% and electricity consumption will increase, meaning we need to more than double the percentage. Today we are presenting a proposal that can make a significant contribution to the expansion of photovoltaics. We expect that up to 200 GW of additional PV capacity can be installed as a result. That is an enormous increase, today we have a total of almost 60 GW of installed PV capacity. This advances climate protection and at the same time keeps an eye on the interests of agriculture and nature conservation.”
They recommend agrivoltaics (agri-PV) systems to be permitted on all arable land, leaving out protected areas, grasslands and that reserved for nature conservation. Such projects can be funded through the existing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds, provided agricultural use is only affected by electricity generation by up to 15%.
Less favored areas or disadvantages areas identified as such by various states can also be opened up for PV installation which would spare around 9% more space compared to that permitted under previous EEG. Drained peatlands need to be rewetted to secure subsidy. Municipalities will be required to prescribe nature conservation criteria for all ground mounted PV installations.
In addition, the areas permitted previously permitted under the EEG can continue to be used for the purpose.
“Agri-photovoltaics enable our farmers to contribute to the supply of renewable energies and still be able to continue to cultivate agricultural land. Our proposal includes opportunities for all three areas, i.e. a win-win-win for the climate, nature and for our agriculture,” stated Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir.
German Solar Industry Association BSW Solar has welcomed the recommendations ‘in principle’, yet terms them insufficient to be able to use sufficient areas for solar power generation.
BSW Solar CEO Carsten Körnig explained, “The currently very far-reaching legal restriction of possible solar park locations to traffic shoulders, conversion areas and selected disadvantaged areas is neither appropriate nor up-to-date. It is incomprehensible that so far no nationwide opening of photovoltaic locations in so-called ‘disadvantaged areas’ has been sought. In the BSW’s opinion, it is also not expedient that each municipality should be left to define nature conservation criteria when approving solar parks.”