Alongside wind power and biomass, photovoltaic technology is to play a bigger part in Germany’s energy shift, the move to put the country’s energy supply on a more sustainable footing. To this end the German government intends to tap the potential offered by 3.8 million apartments and enable tenants too to benefit from steps to support the energy shift.
Although tenants cannot receive the new assistance directly, they benefit indirectly as electricity becomes cheaper for them. The price is lower because they no longer pay national grid charges, levies imposed by the grid, electricity tax and concession fees. The precondition for this support, which has been in place for two years, is that at least 40 per cent of the floor space of the building must be used for residential purposes.
Attractive for tenants and landlords
Only the operator of the solar plant on the roof of a residential building can apply for the support. Support consists of what is termed the tenants’ electricity supplement, which is accorded by the operators of the electricity grid. The precise amount depends on the dimensions of the solar plant and the photovoltaic installation as a whole, but lies between 2.2 cent and 3.8 cent per kilowatt hour. This also includes a payment for the additional costs entailed by the operator, generally the landlord, as a result of the work involved in ensuring the mandatory contracts and invoicing, registration and informing all parties.
Free choice of electricity provider retained
At the same time the right to freely select an electricity provider must be retained. Parties wishing to continue to purchase power from the base utility must be free to do so. There cannot then be any coupling of the solar power provisions with the lease. And a ceiling is in place for the price of this tenant electricity, equivalent to 90 per cent of the basic tariff charged by the base utility.
Solar power converted directly to electric power
Photovoltaic plants, also known as solar plants, convert the energy of the sun directly into electric power. New solar plants today offer some of the most affordable renewable energy technologies. Second to onshore wind power, which has an installed capacity of more than 52 gigawatt, a total of more than 1.6 solar plants represented the second largest renewable power generation system at the end of 2018, with a total capacity of around 45 gigawatt.