The Bundestag has passed a solar package. The expansion of solar energy is to be promoted with a variety of measures. Among other things, there are plans to make things easier for balcony power plants. The solar package also passed the Federal Council.

Push for the expansion of solar energy

Green party deputy Julia Verlinden spoke of a “booster” for renewable energies. There are also more opportunities for private households to participate in the energy transition with cheaper electricity from balconies and roofs.

Along with wind energy, solar energy is an important pillar of the energy transition – the gradual departure from fossil energies such as coal and gas. The federal government’s goal is: by 2030, 80 percent of electricity should come from renewable energies. Last year it was more than half.

Last year, the expansion of solar power increased significantly: According to figures from the Federal Network Agency, the expansion almost doubled compared to the previous year to 14.1 gigawatts. At the end of 2023, according to the Federal Network Agency, the total installed capacity in Germany was 81.7 gigawatts. This means that 19 gigawatts would have to be added annually in the future in order to achieve the expansion target of 215 gigawatts for solar in 2030.

Key points of the package

A wide range of measures are planned to facilitate and thus accelerate expansion. Balcony power plants, which are becoming increasingly popular, no longer need to be registered with the network operator. Registration in the Federal Network Agency’s market master data register should be sufficient. Registration should be easier and limited to a few details. Meters should not have to be retrofitted and the small balcony solar systems should also be able to be more efficient in the future. As of Thursday, 435,000 balcony power plants were registered in operation with the market master data register. 85,000 of these have been added since the beginning of the year.

In addition, hurdles for so-called tenant electricity, where the electricity for a residential building comes from the on-site solar system, are to be lowered. Solar on the roof is to become significantly more attractive with improved funding conditions, increased funding rates and uncomplicated billing options for self-used electricity. In addition, solar systems on commercial buildings such as supermarkets or factory halls as well as on company car parks are to be promoted and solar systems on agricultural land are to be promoted. There is also a point on the expansion of wind energy: so-called acceleration areas are to be introduced under European law in order to speed up expansion.

“Whether for tenants, property owners, farmers or entrepreneurs – access to inexpensive solar power will be much easier,” said Carsten Körnig, general manager of the Federal Solar Industry Association.

An alliance of environmental associations, including BUND and Deutsche Umwelthilfe, spoke of important climate and energy policy successes with regard to the solar package. A planned Solar Package II must include a nationwide and legally stipulated solar standard for new construction, conversion and renovation for all suitable roof areas and other suitable sealed areas.

No bonus for the domestic solar industry

The FDP rejected a “resilience bonus” that was primarily demanded by the Greens to promote the domestic solar industry. The background to the demand is much cheaper modules from China. SPD MP Nina Scheer said she regretted that such a bonus was not forthcoming. Germany should not become dependent on China. The FDP justified its rejection by saying that there would be no resilience bonus to subsidize individual companies at the expense of the general public.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) said in the Bundesrat: “I would have liked the package to also include funding for the production of solar panels in Germany.” Habeck referred to the implementation of the EU’s so-called Net Zero Industry Act to strengthen the competitiveness of the solar industry.

At the end of March, the Meyer Burger company finally closed its location in Freiberg, Saxony. The approximately 500 employees were therefore laid off. The company had made the future of the Freiberg location dependent on government support.

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