The Central Swiss power plants pay up to four times more for solar power than other power plants.
“We only get seven centimes from the local electricity company for our solar power. That’s very little,” complains a solar system owner. Many are like you. They can deliver the solar power that they don’t use themselves to the local electricity company (EW), but they don’t get much money for it.
Our offer hit like a bomb.
The market is now moving: in mid-October, the Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke CKW announced that they would be buying solar power from all over Switzerland and paying a whopping 32 centimes per kilowatt hour (kWh) for it. So far, solar system owners could only deliver to the local EW, there were hardly any other offers.
The offer from Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke is a hit
“Our offer hit like a bomb,” says Jan-Niclas Viebrock, Head of Production Management at CKW. “So far, a good 1,500 solar system owners have registered who would like to supply their electricity to us from 2023.” In order to be able to deliver to CKW, the solar system must have a so-called SmartMeter and have at least four kilowatts of power.
The question arises as to why CKW are offering so much money for solar power at all. Jan-Niclas Viebrock says that the owners of solar systems should also benefit from the currently high electricity price.
… and the EKZ pull the emergency brake
Electricity plants, which pay very little for solar power, are at a disadvantage. For example, the electricity works of the Canton of Zurich (EKZ), which pay just eight centimes. When asked by the SRF consumer magazine “Espresso”, the EKZ media office admitted that they had lost 100 solar power producers to CKW so far. Now they would increase the remuneration next year, namely to twelve centimes per kWh.
The EKZ are reacting to the emigration towards Central Switzerland in other ways too. An email that has just been sent to all solar system owners states that from 2023 they can only terminate the supply contract at the end of the year. Previously, the notice period was just ten working days.
CKW’s offer is good, but the remuneration is based on the market price and can drop again at any time.
The Swissolar association is happy about more competition and better prices for solar power. However, the expansion of solar power requires long-term planning security, says Managing Director David Stickelberger: “CKW’s offer is good, but the remuneration is based on the market price and can drop again at any time.” That is why Swissolar is demanding a uniform price throughout Switzerland of at least ten centimes and a maximum of 20 centimes. The parliament, which is currently revising the energy law, will decide on this.
The Association of Swiss Electricity Companies VSE, on the other hand, calls for a central office to be set up that buys solar power from all over Switzerland and pays for it at a uniform market price.