The German federal government has finally agreed on a regulation regarding the minimum distances between residential areas and onshore wind turbines, as confirmed to Deutsche Presse-Agentur by the Christian Democratic Union’s Carsten Linnemann and the Social Democratic Party’s Matthias Miersch. This also clears the way for the removal of the 52 GW cap for solar incentives in the residential and commercial segments.
The limit was introduced through an amendment to the country’s renewable energy law (EEG) in 2011. It outlines an end to the country’s feed-in tariff program for all PV systems not exceeding 750 kW in size.
Given current levels of solar development, the 52 GW threshold would have been reached by the fall at the latest. But the possibility that the cap might remain in place had weighed on the mood of the German solar industry. According to the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), the business expectations index halved between January and April of this year.
In a statement following the conclusion of the agreement, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier did not provide a concrete timetable for the abolition of the 52 GW cap.
“We have found a balanced solution with the agreement on a country opening clause for the wind clearance areas,” he said. “And we keep our word on the abolition of the photovoltaic cap.”
Altmaier said that he sees the agreement as “an excellent result for the energy transition and climate protection.” He claimed it provides “strong stimulus for the economy and employment, especially in these difficult times.” Regarding an agreement to accelerate planning for approval procedures, Altmaier stated that digital options should be used more in the future.