Switzerland introduces auctions for systems of 150 kilowatts and above

The Swiss Federal Council on Wednesday (Nov. 23) made changes to subsidies for photovoltaic systems, adopting ordinances for this purpose that will take effect Jan. 1, 2023. Certain parts from the »Federal Law on a Secure Supply of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources« (»Mantelerlass«), which is still under parliamentary discussion, were brought forward in accordance with a parliamentary resolution passed in 2021; these include the introduction of auctions for »large« rooftop photovoltaic systems - by which lawmakers mean systems with a capacity of 150 kilowatts or more.
Systems of this size without self-consumption will therefore receive a one-off payment, the amount of which will be determined in auctions. In this way, the Federal Council wants to create an incentive for investment even for those projects whose electricity yield cannot be used for self-consumption. The tender conditions are defined by the Federal Office of Energy; if a contract is awarded, there is an obligation to build the plant. For plants on »infrastructure facilities such as dams or noise barriers« there is to be the possibility for »special auctions« because of the higher costs in these cases. A bonus is envisaged for plants in alpine locations because, according to the Federal Council, they are significant for »winter electricity« - such plants have a yield advantage in winter, albeit only a slight one.
The Swiss solar industry association Swissolar criticizes the limit of 150 kilowatts for mandatory participation in tenders, because plants of this size »will probably lose out in many cases to large-scale plants due to higher costs.« Swissolar had advocated a limit of 500 kilowatts.
The Swiss Energy Foundation welcomed the decision in a statement, but also criticized the 150-kilowatt limit and the lack of a gradation according to power classes.

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