Brandenburg’s »Solar Euro« in the state parliament today

The parliament of the German federal state of Brandenburg is debating today (October 19) a bill introduced by the governing parties (Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens) »for the payment to municipalities of a special levy for ground-mounted photovoltaic plants.« Under this »Solar Euro,« an annual levy of €2,000 ($2,111) per megawatt is to be paid to the municipality on whose territory the plant is built for each ground-mounted system with a capacity of 1 megawatt or more and commissioned as of January 2024.
The municipalities may only use the revenue for specified, albeit very broadly defined, purposes, which, in addition to social and cultural projects, the expansion of local infrastructure or the promotion of »entrepreneurial activity in the municipality,« also include the planning and expansion of renewable energies – for example, the preparation of urban land use plans and the establishment of or participation in citizen energy companies.
To justify the Solar Euro, the governing parties argue that there has not been a mandatory levy to allow municipalities to participate in the returns from solar power plants in Germany to date. Although the federal Renewable Energy Law (EEG) provides for the agreement of payments to municipalities, this is firstly voluntary and secondly only concerns electricity generation subsidized via the EEG. However, many large solar power plants are being built in whole or in part without EEG subsidies. In general, the Solar Euro is to apply in addition to the participation options provided for in the EEG.
The law is declaredly not intended to restrict the expansion of ground-mounted systems, but on the contrary to increase acceptance among the population and thus promote the targeted tripling of Brandenburg’s installed solar power capacity from the current 6.2 gigawatts (GW) to 18 GW by 2030. The solar industry, which has been in favor of financial participation by local communities for years, has nevertheless also reacted skeptically to the Solar Euro, arguing that such a high levy would give large, financially strong investors an advantage over smaller players.

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