PV Grid provides overview of installation rules
The PV Grid Project has published the first results on its website. The project is a database of information about the installed PV in various performance classes and in different countries.
The European Commission’s PV Grid project, which began in mid-November 2012, has published the first results three months before the actual deadline. The data is available for the first ten out of a total 16 participating EU countries on the project’s website. No data is available for Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Italy, nor is there data for grid connections in the Netherlands and Belgium. “For the German solar sector, the PV Grid is a critical instrument in developing the photovoltaic export market in Europe”, explains Jörg Mayer, manager of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), who coordinates the entire project. “In addition, PV Grid helps countries utilize the benefits of photovoltaics as efficiently as possible and economize network expansion”.
Starting on the homepage, the user gets a basic overview of the situation in individual European countries – a summary of the quantitative survey results of the respective national conditions of the participating countries. The results are based on the statements from industry representatives within the respective countries. A color scale shows the classification of each country. In this context, users can choose between three different market segments: small rooftop systems with (three kilowatts), commercial systems (50 kilowatts), and an industrial ground-mounted system (2.5 megawatts). Moreover, the installation duration of a solar array can be viewed from site selection to grid connection and commissioning. Even here, significant differences between countries are revealed; for instance, in Sweden the conditions for the construction of a commercial rooftop system are particularly poor.
In Spain and Greece it is also difficult to realize such a project. The best framework conditions for the construction of such a system are found in Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovakia. The comparison of individual segments within a country also reveals significantly different conditions. In Greece, for instance, small rooftop arrays go up relatively quickly because there are few administrative hurdles and a short waiting period for authorization, while large projects are hindered by significant administrative hurdles. A similar picture emerged in Belgium, France, Austria, Poland, and Bulgaria.
A direct comparison of the concrete values reveals the extent of the differences between countries, but also between the performance classes within a country. For instance, a project developer in Sweden needs an average of 92 weeks for the construction of a commercial rooftop system. Of those 92 weeks, he waits an average of 83 weeks for various authorizations from the administration and network operator. The waiting time for the grid connection alone is a total of seven weeks. In Spain, it takes 78 weeks for such a project; in this case, the waiting time for authorization is 45 weeks on average. Project developers wait nine weeks for authorization and implementation of the grid connection alone. Above all, access to solar power funding schemes prolongs the installation time in both countries. It takes an average of 78 weeks in Sweden and 29 weeks in Spain. In Germany, the situation is different; access to funding is particularly easy. Grid access is particularly troublesome however. Out of the nine weeks project developers need to realize the project, they wait seven for the grid connection.
“PV Grid findings give decision makers in politics and administration a transparent picture of the different practices within the EU”, comments BSW-Solar. “At the same time, the starting point for the optimization of the administrative processes becomes clear.” The next steps in the project, in addition to completing the database, are above all an analysis of the regulatory barriers that have impeded rapid network integration of solar power until now. (Craig Morris)