Solar Package I and amendment of the Climate Protection Act - Overview of the most important key points

All players in the energy industry have had to wait since late last summer for the amendment to the Climate Protection Act - and therefore also the Solar Package I. The so-called resilience bonus for the domestic solar industry in particular had become a bone of contention. On 26 April 2024, the time had finally come - we summarize the most important changes.

Solar package I - background and objective

To implement the photovoltaic strategy [1] of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), the Solar Package I [2] was put together last summer, which aims to accelerate the expansion of photovoltaics and reduce bureaucratic hurdles. Only a few of the regulations were passed in December 2023, meaning that the adoption of the law was delayed due to a debate about the resilience bonus (see below) for the domestic solar industry.

In order to achieve the expansion target of 215 GWp [3] in 2030 (82 GWp installed capacity as of 12/2023), the parliamentary groups of the traffic light coalitions agreed on the following in their meeting on 15.04.2024 

Key points of the solar package [4]:

No resilience bonus

  • There is no resilience bonus to support the domestic solar industry for cell and module production. The resilience bonus should be offered to end customers who opt for photovoltaic components from Europe. Instead, the BMWK wants to advocate alternative funding opportunities for photovoltaic manufacturers at EU level.

Balcony power plants

  • Only a greatly simplified registration in the market master data register is required (Section 8 (5a) EEG-E).
  • The grid operator can replace the electricity meter at a later date, even if the existing old one is still running backwards (Section 10a (3) EEG-E).

Grid connection

  • Extension of the simplified grid connection procedure for systems up to 30 kW instead of the previous 10.8 kW.
  • The originally envisaged obligation to tolerate the laying of cable routes in the ground of neighboring properties only applies to publicly owned properties and not to private owners (Section 11a EEG-E).

Building supply with PV electricity for apartment buildings

  • With the communal building supply (§ 42b EnWG) by passing on solar electricity to private and commercial electricity consumers within a building, the system operator no longer has to fulfill any obligations as an energy supplier. The additional electricity can be purchased by the consumers from a supplier of their choice. 

Higher statutory remuneration

  • The higher statutory remuneration applies to systems between 40 kW and 750 kW.

Direct marketing

  • Systems < 200 kW (e.g. with surplus electricity) are assigned to the new form of sale of free of charge purchase if the system operator is not actively assigned (Section 21 c (1) sentence 3 EEG-E).
  • The statutory provisions on technical requirements in accordance with Section 10b (1) EEG-E will only apply to systems larger than 25 kW in future.

Roof systems

  • The tendering threshold for rooftop systems has been lowered from 1 MW to 750 kW in future.
  • The replacement of existing modules (repowering) will be simplified.

Ground-mounted systems

  • The tendering threshold has been raised from 20 MWp to 50 MWp in future. This will allow more systems to participate in tenders with market premiums.
  • Agricultural land in disadvantaged areas will be easier to use, but the use of agricultural land will be limited to 80 GWp by 2030. All newly subsidized solar parks must meet a selection of minimum nature conservation criteria.
  • Special solar installations (floating, agricultural, moorland and parking lot PV) will receive their own tender segment, also due to higher costs and their own maximum value.

Storage

  • For the first time, operation is possible as grey and green electricity storage with the possibility of switching during the year with EEG funding for the renewable period or share (Section 19 (3b) EEG-E), but subject to the BNetzA's authority to issue regulations in accordance with Section 85d EEG-E for green electricity operation.

 

Amendment to the Federal Climate Protection Act (KSG) - background and objective

The parliamentary group agreement in the solar package required concessions for the highly controversial amendment to the Climate Protection Act [5].

If individual sectors such as transport or buildings fail to meet the statutory CO2 emissions targets, the responsible ministries have had to submit immediate action programs in the following year (Section 8 (1) KSG). The debate on driving bans by Transport Minister Wissing was to be understood against this background, as the transport sector, among others, has repeatedly failed to meet its reduction targets.

 

According to the new Climate Protection Act:

  • The annual sector targets have been abolished.
  • Emissions will be calculated across all sectors.
  • Countermeasures in the event of shortfalls will also be implemented across all sectors; there will no longer be an immediate program for individual sectors.
  • The Federal Government is also committed to drawing up specific climate protection measures for the period from 2030 to 2040.

In future, a forward-looking, multi-year and cross-sectoral overall calculation will be decisive for further measures. Instead of focusing on past target failures as in the past, the increased focus on future emissions should make it easier than before to check whether Germany is on the right track - or whether measures need to be tightened up.

Critics doubt whether the targets can be better met in future in view of the feared decrease in transparency and the softening of responsibilities.

The solar package was adopted by the Bundestag on April 26 and passed in the plenary session of the Bundesrat on the same day.

 

Do you have questions about the solar package or the Climate Protection Act? Please feel free to contact us!

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[1] https://www.bmwk.de/Redaktion/DE/Publikationen/Energie/photovoltaik-stategie-2023.html

[2] „Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Änderung des Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetzes und weiterer energiewirtschaftsrechtlicher Vorschriften zur Steigerung des Ausbaus photovoltaischer Energieerzeugung“, https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/20/086/2008657.pdf

[3] § 4 Nr. 3d EEG 2023

[4] https://www.bundestag.de/resource/blob/999260/96eed847b449993dba78f63b2927a22b/Aenderungsantrag_Koalitionsfraktionen.pdf

[5] https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/20/082/2008290.pdf