The German government has approved plans to put 1.2 GW of ground-based PV installations out for tender.

It follows a decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel for such projects to serve as a test run for tenders on other renewable energy technologies from 2017.

Pilot tenders of 500 MW are envisioned this year with 400 MW next year and 300 MW in 2017.

Solar industry body BSW Solar has criticised the volume to be tendered, claiming it is too low to reach the German government’s capacity goal of 7.5 GW by the end of 2017. It further criticised the amount of areas made available for ground-based solar PV installations.

“The auction volume is much too low. Despite its high acceptance among residents, solar parks can only be erected on very few areas,” BSW managing director Carsten Körnig told Recharge News.

“The best solar locations often remain taboo even if there is no immediate competition with other usage interests. That makes solar power unnecessarily expensive.”

At good locations, solar power can be generated for less than €0.1 ($0.11) per kWh, the BSW argues, cheaper than electricity from nuclear or coal-fired plants.