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05.07.2023 | KPMG Law Insights

Solar package: focus on tenant electricity and shared building supply

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) has presented a draft law to increase the expansion of photovoltaic energy generation. The law is part of the so-called Solar Package I. Central elements are the opening of the tenant electricity model for commercial properties, the introduction of building electricity as a form of joint self-supply and facilitations for so-called balcony power plants. The goal of the law is to make solar energy more attractive for both private individuals and commercial businesses

Draft law to enable tenant electricity for commercial properties as well

The bill seeks to adjust the scope of tenant electricity. Tenant electricity is a form of marketing subsidized under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) of electricity generated in PV systems on or near buildings and supplied to residents in the building or in the immediate vicinity. The previous legal framework for tenant electricity only provides for eligibility for tenant electricity subsidies for PV systems that were installed on or on residential buildings. This restriction is now to be lifted so that tenant electricity subsidies can also be claimed for photovoltaics on commercial premises. Owners:inside of hall and factory roofs could then also take advantage of the subsidy. By removing the restriction of the subsidy to residential buildings, it is now possible to use the marketing model in commercial and industrial areas, further increasing the attractiveness of decentralized supply concepts there. However, the model is to be limited in that the tenant power provider may not be an affiliated company.

In addition, the connection between the tenancy and the tenant electricity contract is to be clarified in the EEG: A tenant electricity contract is to end without further prompting by the tenant upon return of the premises after termination of a tenancy.

This is how collaborative building supply works

Also noteworthy is the planned introduction of community building supply in Section 42b EnWG. In this way, the federal government intends to extend self-sufficiency to multi-person constellations as well. Until now, these were excluded from the scope of self-supply, as there had to be personal identity between the operator of the electricity generation plant and the end consumer in order to be able to generate the advantages of self-supply (no charges and levies on the electricity).

The electricity generated in the PV systems as part of the common building supply is referred to as building electricity.

42b EnWG does not limit the application of community building supply to residential buildings, but opens the standard to other buildings as well. It should not be relevant whether the relationships are rental relationships or whether the members of a condominium owners’ association become contractual partners.

Mandatory requirements of the community building supply are:

  • The electricity consumption of the participating final consumers must be measured every quarter of an hour,
  • a building electricity use contract must be concluded with the participating end consumer(s),
  • the electricity must not be passed through a network, but must remain in the customer’s installation.

The basis for this supply constellation is to be a building power utilization contract. This first regulates the right of the end consumer to use the electricity generated in accordance with a distribution key agreed in the contract. In addition, the contract should include agreements on the operation and maintenance of the building power system, as well as the distribution of cost bearing. In this context, the agreement is subject to § 42b para. 4 No. 1 EnWG does not comply with the requirements of sections 40, 41, 42 para. 1 EnWG. § 40a and § 40b para. 1 to 4 EnWG, so there is no need to offer monthly, quarterly or semi-annual billing.

The distribution of the electricity produced on site is done by a balance sharing within the measured quarter hour interval. The maximum amount of electricity that can be allocated to the end consumer is limited to the electricity consumed in the quarter-hour interval. There is no obligation on the part of the building electricity supplier to supply the residual electricity, but this can be agreed in addition.

The solar package I also provides relief for balcony power plants

For the first time, Solar Package I creates a legal framework for the commissioning and operation of plug-in solar power systems (also known as balcony power plants). The inclusion of these systems in the EEG closes a not inconsiderable regulatory gap for the operation of these increasingly popular PV systems and creates legal certainty for building owners.

8 para. 5a EEG clarifies in the future that balcony power plants with an installed capacity of up to 2 kW and an inverter capacity of up to 800 volt-ampere may be operated in compliance with the relevant specifications for grid connection if they are located downstream of the end consumer’s withdrawal point and are allocated to free of charge purchase. In the future, the plant will only have to be registered in the market master data register. Furthermore, the installation of a smart meter gateway according to § 9 para. 1 EEG shall not be required. In addition, the correctness of the measurement of electricity consumption is also verified before the installation of a bidirectional meter or a smart metering system in accordance with § 10a para. 3 EEG can be assumed. Balcony power plants shall not be included in the plant aggregation pursuant to § 24 para. 1 EEG are included.

Conclusion

The legislative package strengthens the attractiveness of PV systems in the building sector. In particular, with a view to the amendment of tenant electricity and the introduction of building electricity, it eliminates previously existing regulatory gaps and thus opens up new marketing models. For owners of both residential and commercial properties, the installation of PV systems will be worthwhile more often.

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