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Swiss Federal Council Simplifies Approvals for Utility Scale Solar Power Projects; Says No PV Systems on Crop Rotation Land

  • Federal Council of Switzerland has approved amendments that simplify approval process for large scale solar systems
  • Eligible projects need to come online by 2030 and will get up to 60% of their project cost as one-off payment
  • Swissolar finds the requirement for these plants to feed 10 GWh to the grid by 2025-end a hurdle in areas with no grid connection

Switzerland’s Federal Council has passed amendments that simplify the approval process for large scale solar PV systems. It provides subsidies till 2025 covering 60% of large scale solar’s total cost as one-off payment, till these can start generating an annual total production of a maximum of 2 TWh.

The Energy Ordinance, Energy Subsidy Ordinance and the Electricity Supply Ordinance amendments clear the changes to the Energy Act passed by the Swiss Parliament in 2022 to undertake urgent measures for a secure energy supply through a solar offensive in winters. These come into effect from April 1, 2023.

Under these, local cantons will issue building permits with consent of locals. It will also specify dismantling requirements.

Electrical development permits will be required from the Federal Heavy Current Inspectorate or the Federal Office of Energy.

To be eligible for this subsidy, at least 10% of the expected production of the entire planned solar project or 10 GWh is fed into the grid by the end of 2025. Such projects need to be fully commissioned by the end of 2030. Local solar energy association Swissolar says this is likely to be a big hurdle for some plants especially in areas with no grid connection.

Projects will not be allowed on crop rotation areas to prevent PV systems from competing with food production, the council specified.

“The fact that the price scenario for the development of electricity prices to be provided by the SFOE is not yet available is very unsatisfactory for investors. This means that no profitability calculation can be made at the moment, but this would be urgent given the tight deadlines,” explained Swissolar. “On the positive side, the scientific monitoring of projects can be shown as chargeable costs. This is important because there is little experience with high alpine solar systems.”

In 2023, Switzerland is offering CHF 600 million subsidies for small, large and auctioned solar PV projects under KLEIV, GREIV and HEIV schemes.

Source from Taiyang News

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