Germany, Hungary fuel European solar growth with auction awards

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Image credit: Seth Fogelman / Unsplash

Solar has scored two auction victories in the space of a few days in Europe, bagging support both in the continent’s most established industry base as well as one of its more nascent markets.

Germany’s latest PV-only auction awarded 301.2MW of contracts to 51 project bidders, according to the results revealed recently by national regulator the Federal Network Agency (FNA).

The tariffs scored by solar winners went from 4.64 to 5.48 euro cents per kWh (5.11 to 6.04 US dollar cents per kWh), with the average sitting at 5.18 euro cents per kWh (5.71 US dollar cents per kWh).

In line with policy changes announced last week, FNA did not share any information beyond the aforementioned figures for overall capacity awarded and highest and lowest project tariffs.

FNA’s decision not to identify individual auction winners at this stage stems from a will to prevent construction deadlines from kicking in, in a bid to help developers facing COVID-19 delays.

The reprieve follows recent warnings from the German solar industry – at 50GW, Europe’s largest at present – of impacts from the intensifying virus outbreak, including supply and staff shortages.

Solar dazzles at Hungary’s green energy auction debut

To the southeast in Hungary, solar projects also emerged as the clear winners of a technology-neutral renewable auction, the first in the country’s history.

Last Friday, the former Soviet republic announced the tender under its so-called METÁR scheme has chosen a 193GWh-a-year fleet of 72 winners, down from the 168 that had applied.

According to state agency HEA, the auction will grant all winners – solar projects for the most part – combined annual subsidies of 229 million Hungarian forints (US$704,000) for 15 years. 

PV applicants dominated both the smaller (0.3MW to 1MW) and larger (1MW to 20MW) auction baskets, bagging 131MW-plus in tender contracts across both categories.

Hungary’s maiden tender programme comes alongside feed-in tariffs for 50-500kW plants and a separate green premium 0.5-1MW plants can opt to without the need for an auction.

The auctioning efforts come as the country becomes an increasing target of PV players, including Hevel Group (76.6MW), ReneSola (33.6MW), Unisun (6.76MW), ABO (6.2MW) and others.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in Germany, Hungary and the rest of Europe will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 30 June-1 July 2020).

This publication has also set up a tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at jrojo@solarmedia.co.uk or lstoker@solarmedia.co.uk.

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