Solar PV subsidies in Switzerland

After hydropower, solar has the greatest potential of the renewables for Switzerland. Despite this, the country has been very late and reticent about promoting solar energy, leaving 45,000 applications on a waiting list for subsidies. Now the terms required to provide sufficient stimulus for investors to commit to solar has been agreed by the BFE, the Federal Office for Energy.

The financial incentives deriving from the Energy Strategy 2050 have been improved through a new one-off compensation package for PV solar plants from Swiss Federal Office for Energy. This payment covers about a quarter of the cost of installing solar panels, and will be paid much faster than previously. The previous waiting time of as much as 3 years had failed to provide the stimulus necessary to put the Energy Strategy 2050 into action. Plants with power ratings greater than 100kW (about 700m2) were subject to waiting periods of as much as 6 years, but under the 2019 rules from the Federal Office for Energy (Bundesamt für Energie BfE) this has been brought down to less than 3 years. And construction may also begin before the official approval. Construction of small plants (less than 100kW) may start immediately on submission of the application, and payment of the ‘Einmalvergütng’ (one-off payment) through Pronovo will follow within 18 months. Electricity from solar panels on the roof costs around 15 cents per kWh. Large plants can reduce this to as little as 10 cents. This makes solar the cheapest new power source available, undercutting the grid suppliers. It is estimated that 50 TWh, or 85% of current power consumption in Switzerland, is available from rooftop solar alone. Large commercial and industrial complexes, with their large and flat roof spaces, and high energy demand during the daytime, will be able to profit greatly from the new regulations. Currently, solar covers a mere 3% of the electricity consumed in Switzerland. After this ruling, this is expected to rise rapidly.

Swiss electricity consumers were paying in May 2016 18.1 Rp./kWh, while the Epex Strombörse price is 3.1 Rp.

Examples of one-off payments for small and large PV plants, from title=”Pronovo” >Pronovo.ch

KLEIV Example

A 57.0 kWp installation that came into operation in May 2018 would receive a remuneration of: set-up contribution + capacity rate = one-off payment 1600 CHF + 460 CHF/kWp x 29.99 kWp + 340 CHF/kWp x (57.0 – 29.99) kWp = 24 579 CHF (Fr.2.30 per kW, or 0.23c /W) A 182.0 kWp system which came into operation in February 2017 would receive a remuneration calculated as follows: set-up contribution + capacity rate = one-off payment 1400 CHF + 500 CHF/kWp x 29.99 kWp + 400 CHF/kWp x (99.99 – 29.99) kWp + 400 CHF/kWp x (182.0 – 99.99) kWp = 77 199 CHF

(Fr.2.30 per kW, or 0.23c /W)