German federal grids agency BNetzA has for the first time made awards for so-called ‘agrivoltaics’ projects as part of a 403MW innovation tender, but demand was low with only 21MW of proposed hybrid solar installations winning at the auction.

The new government in Berlin had started including agrivoltaics – or agri-PV – in renewable innovation tenders due to the elevated cost for building PV installations on top of special mounting systems that can be several metres high.

Other than in regular PV tenders, successful bidders in the innovation auction receive a fixed premium on top of wholesale market prices for electricity. In the latest tender, that premium was €0.0542/MWh ($0.057/MWh) on average, up from €0.0455/MWh at the previous innovation tender, the BNetzA said last week.

Despite the higher remuneration, Carsten Körnig, the chief executive of Germany’s solar industry federation (BSW-Solar), said: “We wish for an own auction basket only for agri-PV” as its cost of energy is two to three eurocents higher than in regular ground-based solar arrays due to the more elaborate mounting system.

The BSW expects agri-PV to grow to account for 10-15% of Germany’s overall solar tendering volume in the future.

Another 1MW was awarded to solar installations on parking spaces, while the remainder went to solar installations coupled with energy storage systems.

RWE in that category won with a bid for a 12.2MW solar array with storage in the shore area of a future artificial lake that will be flooded where the German utility today operates its giant Hambach lignite open pit mine.

“Energy transition and structural change are making progress in the Rhenish lignite region with this project,” said Lars Kulik, chairman for lignite at RWE Power.

“There is plenty of room for renewables, especially on opencast mines - this means that the area will remain an energy location in the future and make our supply a little less dependent on imported energy sources.”

The BNetzA awarded another 204MW for solar installations on buildings or noise barriers, with the average price for winning bids rising to €0.0853/MWh, up from €0.0743/MWh at a similar previous auction.