Austria adds 500 MW of photovoltaic energy in the first quarter

The Austrian Federal Photovoltaic Energy Association (PV Austria) says Austria added 500 MW of new solar capacity in the first quarter, driven by investments in private rooftop PV systems that benefit from a value-added tax (VAT) exemption. .
Austria has seen 497 MW of newly installed PV capacity in the first quarter of 2024. The country is still on track to reach the 2,000 MW of additional annual PV capacity that are planned in the country’s updated grid infrastructure plan, according to the Association Austria’s Federal Photovoltaic Energy Authority (PV Austria) said this week, citing an E-Control report based on data from major distribution network operators.

The report also shows that the number of applications for photovoltaic systems with a power of up to 1 MW has decreased significantly compared to the same quarter last year, but for systems up to 250 kW it is at least higher than the previous quarter. In contrast, the number of approved commissioning applications is more on par with the previous year’s figures. According to the report, commissioning usually takes place one or two quarters after application. The average request processing time for network connection varies greatly depending on the type of system. For PV systems up to 20 kW, it takes an average of 6.9 days between submission of the complete grid access request to the grid operator and confirmation of the request. For systems between 20 and 2050 kW the time period is 19.8 days and for systems between 250 and 1000 kW it is 32.5 days. However, the ranges vary greatly from one operator to another. According to E-Control, the fastest responses took one day, the longest, 124 days.

The figures indicate that private households are currently driving photovoltaic expansion, mainly due to the VAT exemption for small photovoltaic installations. On the contrary, the industrial and commercial sectors are showing reluctance as a result of the economically tense environment. The country has been in recession for the fourth consecutive quarter. Added to this are high wage costs and loan interest rates, as well as the second highest inflation in the EU.
“We are currently seeing a normalization of demand for photovoltaic systems,” said PV Austria CEO Vera Immitzer. “The fact is that the recession and economic uncertainty are currently holding back especially commercial PV systems and the government must counteract this.” The association also promotes investment in photovoltaic self-consumption systems, which represent great savings by not paying fees, taxes or network fees. Furthermore, subsidies are attractive and electricity storage prices are falling rapidly, PV Austria noted.

PV Austria calls on the government to implement six concrete measures to “continue the success story of photovoltaics in Austria.” For example, companies should shorten the depreciation period of new PV systems and create attractive financing options for investments. The adoption of the electricity law (E-Wirtschaftsgesetz) would create new opportunities for profitable and grid-friendly activities in the electricity market. An acceleration of network expansion is necessary. The drafting of the Act on Accelerating the Expansion of Renewable Energies should be linked to the exemption from authorization for the construction of photovoltaic installations, as well as to uniform and simplified procedures for installations in open spaces in the federal states. A small and large-scale storage offensive is needed to harmonize electricity generation and consumption. Furthermore, more flexible tariffs should also provide incentives for the transition of transport and heating.

“Despite favorable framework conditions, such as falling prices for photovoltaic installations and electricity storage, the federal government must take the necessary measures to keep demand stable and successfully advance the energy transition,” said Immitzer. .

Sandra Enkhardt,