The 2014 Renewable Energy Sources Act has created the preconditions to enact an Ordinance converting the funding for ground-mounted photovoltaic installations from rates prescribed by the administration to rates determined by competition.

A pilot auction for ground-mounted photovoltaic installations aims to gather initial experience with the new promotion instrument in the field of renewable energies. From 2017 at the latest, auction models are in principle to be introduced for the other sources of renewable energy as well.

First PV pilot auction successfully held

The first round of the pilot auction was concluded on 15 April 2015. A large number of diverse bidders participated in the auction. The high level of participation reflects the level of acceptance of the new instrument. More detailed information about the outcome of the first auction round can be found (in German) here. The bids for the second round of the auction can be submitted to the Federal Network Agency by 1 August 2015; the deadline for the third round is 1 December 2015. Bidders which did not win in the first round can try again in the forthcoming rounds. The specific conditions and forms for the second and third rounds can usually be obtained eight weeks prior to the bidding deadline on the website of the Federal Network Agency (only in German).

The pilot auction for ground-mounted PV installations aims

  • to achieve the expansion targets for renewables in a cost-efficient manner while maintaining a high level of public acceptance and stakeholder diversity,
  • to steadily continue the installation of additional photovoltaic ground-mounted facilities, and
  • to gain experience regarding the future auction design for other types of renewable energy.

The auction has been designed to be as simple, transparent and comprehensible as possible - so that as many different investors as possible, including citizens' energy projects and energy cooperatives, can take part.

Ordinance as a legal basis for the pilot auction

The Ground-mounted PV Auction Ordinance implements the pilot auction for ground-mounted photovoltaic facilities provided for both in the coalition agreement and in the amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act. It was adopted by the cabinet on 28 January 2015 and published in the Federal Law Gazette on 11 February 2015. We have compiled key elements of the ordinance here (only in German).

At the same time, there is a large need for regulation, since it must be ensured that the procedure is equitable and that the conflicting interests are appropriately balanced. FAQs regarding the Ground-mounted PV Auction Ordinance can be found here.

Transparent switchover process for the funding system

The design of the pilot auction was discussed intensively with the relevant associations, the Länder and the market players. There was a public consultation on a first paper containing key principles in the summer of 2014, and in January 2015 there was a hearing of the Länder and associations on the specific draft of the Ordinance. Further to this, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy discussed details of the auction design in several workshops and forums and meetings with the relevant stakeholders.

Federal Government to report on experience made with pilot auction

The Federal Government will inform the Bundestag about the experience made with this pilot auction and present a report by 30 June 2016. This report will contain recommendations for action to determine the financial support and its amount by auction (including for other technologies) and regarding the amounts of electricity which are to be auctioned in order to attain the expansion targets for renewables.