Switzerland attempts to lift solar PV market with rebates amid COVID-19 pandemic, says GlobalData

Source: press release, 4 May 2020

Cumulative installed capacity (MW) for solar PV in Switzerland during 2015-2019 (source: GlobalData Power Analytics)
Cumulative installed capacity (MW) for solar PV in Switzerland during 2015-2019 (source: GlobalData Power Analytics)

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss solar PV market is on the verge of experiencing a slump. To offset this threat and support the residential and commercial rooftop solar, Switzerland has offered to increase financial support through rebates by another USD 47 million. This means around USD 387.6 million will be available under the solar PV rebate scheme. This attempt is in line to arrest any possible slump in the solar market due to the pandemic, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

After hydropower and nuclear power, solar PV installations forms the third major source of power in Switzerland.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “In 2018, the Swiss Photovoltaic Association, Swissolar, introduced the rebate scheme to benefit the residential and commercial PV customers. The rebate scheme was targeted at not only reducing the waiting time for the implementation of FIT contracts but also guarantee maximum coverage of 30% of the investment costs. The scheme acted as a massive push for more consumers to apply for the solar PV systems.”

Within months of implementation of the scheme, a large number of residential PV project applications came in and further applications of projects up to 100 kW had to wait for another two years. In 2020, applications under the scheme were coming in at a steady rate until January, however more recently, owing to the pandemic, applications have significantly reduced. In all probability, consumers have started predicting that the worsening pandemic situation would lead to the authorities failing to compensate for the project costs. Even with supply chain disruptions and prospective rise in investment costs, the guaranteed coverage, of the rebate scheme, has chances of experiencing a drop.

Das concludes, “The increase in the funding of the rebate program would put these concerns to rest. The extra funding will not only expand the rebate budget, helping authorities to maintain the guaranteed coverage against investment cost but also help reduce the waiting time for payments.”

“The number of large projects awaiting payments has already started decreasing. Clearly, in the pandemic, the Swiss government with the expanded rebate budget averted the solar PV sector to experience a major blow,” adds Das.