More space for solar energy

How to effectively plan and approve ground-mounted photovoltaic systems

Ground-mounted photovoltaic systems on a green field

The energy transition is in full swing and the expansion of renewable energies plays a decisive role in the process. However, in order to achieve the government’s climate targets, it is necessary to accelerate the expansion of solar installations. In a new poster, IKEM and GermanZero therefore present a vision for enhancing the efficiency of planning and approval processes for ground-mounted photovoltaic systems (FFPV) in the future.

“By 2030, additional photovoltaic systems with a total capacity of 215 gigawatts are to be installed in Germany. This means that an average of 21 gigawatts have to be added annually. We are a far way from this: in 2022, only around 7 gigawatts were added. Without targeted measures to promote the expansion of photovoltaic systems, especially ground-mounted systems, we will not reach the anticipated target,” explains Judith Schäfer, Head of the Energy Law Department at IKEM.

“For the poster, GermanZero and IKEM took a close look at the entire process from the site assessment to the building permit to the grid connection, the actual construction and the commissioning of FFPV systems. The legal and practical hurdles we encountered significantly delay the expansion,” says Prof. Dr Stephan Breidenbach, Head of the Legal and Policy Team at GermanZero.

The recently published photovoltaic strategy of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection addresses current problems that GermanZero and IKEM have also identified in the poster as critical for the expansion of FFPV systems. This includes clear and nationwide uniform approval criteria as well as deadlines for approval procedures.

Nevertheless, the studies by GermanZero and IKEM show that there is a need for further action beyond the photovoltaic strategy, for example in the lack of effective land provision. For the now published poster, GermanZero and IKEM have therefore developed further measures for more effective planning and approval of FFPV systems. These include:

    • Securing sufficient land for FFPV systems through binding land targets, e.g. as part of a “solar on land law”
    • Dissolving competition for land use through stronger spatial planning control and uniform requirements for spatial planning procedures
    • Fast and simple approval procedures and more qualified personnel in the approval authorities
    • Stronger citizen participation
    • Efficiently balance renewable energy expansion and nature conservation, e.g. through population-based species conservation assessments
    • Reduction of hurdles in grid connection, construction and commissioning through more standardization and digitization as well as deadlines for grid compatibility tests

In order for the federal government’s expansion goals to be met, the measures must be included in planned solar packages. More information on the measures can be found on the poster, which can be downloaded here.


Judith Schäfer-GendrischQuelle: IKEM/Jule Halsinger

IKEM – Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility e.V.