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EnBW's German solar PV program to include 175 MW zero-subsidy plant

Highlights

Plans Germany's biggest solar park without subsidies

Investment decision end-2019, project could be online 2020

Utility-scale PV seen subsidy-free as costs decline

London — German utility EnBW has built up a project pipeline of 800 MW of solar capacity with an investment decision for the country's biggest solar project due later this year, it said Wednesday.

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The 175 MW Weesow-Willmersdorf solar farm northeast of Berlin would be Germany's first utility-scale solar farm without subsidies.

"Development costs for solar parks in Germany have plunged by up to 90% over the past 10 years," EnBW's head of generation portfolio development, Dirk Guesewell, said.

"We anticipate that the first major [utility-scale] solar projects can be realized without subsidies in the foreseeable future," he said, a reference to recent auction results for ground-based solar averaging Eur45/MWh in 2018.

Construction of Weesow-Willmersdorf, acquired by EnBW last year from Procon Solar, could start later this year with 164 hectares of land secured. The project would generate 175 GWh/year.

"With the realization [of this project]...we will once again send an important signal for the market viability of renewables following our zero-subsidies bid for the offshore wind project He Dreiht in 2017," EnBW board member Hans-Josef Zimmer said.

German solar installations of 3 GW in 2018 were up 69% year on year, taking total installed capacity to 46 GW.

Solar generated 46 TWh in 2018, with capture prices averaging Eur44/MWh, up a third on 2017, TSO data showed.

Last month, solar developer BayWa and utility Vattenfall made the case for up to 14.5 GW of industrial-scale solar capacity on former opencast lignite mines.

-- Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Daniel Lalor, newsdesk@spglobal.com