First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) management has noticed that the market for solar power projects in Germany has returned. In fact, there’s a proposed tender for 600 megawatts of large-scale solar there, and First Solar is trying to attract some of that business.
First Solar wants Germany
PV Tech spoke with First Solar VP of Business Development for Europe Christopher Burghardt last week. He focused on three key markets in Europe, which are Germany, Turkey and the U.K.
Specifically, he said Germany’s large scale solar market is heating up again, saying tenders are bringing the market back for next year. He said Germany is preparing for the 600 megawatt tender process next year. The country will be looking for the most competitive bids, and Burghardt said this is a big positive for the solar market as a whole.
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Germany drafts solar bill
The German government is reportedly in the process of drafting a bill. According to DWR ECO, a communications and strategy consulting group, lawmakers have asked for stakeholders to participate in drafting that bill.
Officials in Germany seem to want to avoid the negative things that have happened in other countries like France and Brazil. In those countries, the governments have put out solar tenders, but they were not as successful as lawmakers had been hoping. In Germany, officials are expected to run a reverse action in awarding solar contracts, with the lowest bids having the greatest chance of prevailing over the others.
Documents show that German officials are planning two auctions for next year, with between 200 megawatts and 300 megawatts up for grabs in each. They’re expected to limit the sizes of solar plats to 25 megawatts of capacity. Payments will then be made by the kilowatt hour, and companies that are building the projects will have a set amount of time to finish them.
The U.K. also looks promising for First Solar
Burghardt also mentioned the U.K. as a good future market for First Solar despite upcoming changes in policy. He said the U.K. is still a big European market and that he thinks Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) are a good way to spark photovoltaic expansion.
The ROCs will remain in place until there is more than 5 megawatts’ worth of projects next year. Then the government will switch to contracts for difference, but First Solar will continue to pursue business in the U.K.
Shares of First Solar slumped by as much as 1% in regular trading today.