PV LEGAL Research Methodology

Introduction to the PV LEGAL Database

The PV LEGAL database offers detailed information about PV project development and legal-administrative barriers associated with such projects in several European countries. For each participating country, the research provides details about one or more regions where legal-administrative procedures (LAP) regarding the installation of PV systems may differ.

The geographical focus of the research lies on the legal-administrative framework of the following countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and England. Since the development process of PV projects often depends on regulations on a regional level, the scope of the research covers both the national and regional level.

The PV LEGAL database covers the following PV market segments:

  • Segment A: Small scale installations on residential buildings
  • Segment B: Small to medium-scale installations on commercial buildings
  • Segment C: Medium to large-scale ground-mounted installations on open lands.

In some cases, different legal-administrative requirements apply to PV systems within the same segment. These systems are gathered into different sub-segments.

The database provides users with detailed information about the PV project development process in the different segments and sub-segment of national PV markets. Within the project we define a Project Lifecycle as the set of all the procedures required to authorise, install and finally connect a PV system. Further, a PV Project Lifecycle is defined as a sequential succession of Processes (such as site selection, grid connection, etc.), each of them described by a sequence of Process Steps (which can be of administrative or non-administrative nature).

Focus of the database: legal-administrative barriers

The focus of the database is to identify and analyse all legal-administrative barriers which investors and project developer face when setting up a PV project. PV LEGAL considers legal-administrative barriers to be those administrative processes that are caused by regulations stemming from government bodies or grid operators and which delay PV system planning and installations in Europe.
These barriers are constituted by requests from authorities/grid-operators to supply them with information and data, such as applications, registrations, licences, reports, etc. Such regulations can result in a great load of paperwork when fulfilling the obligations. Delays may also be constituted by internal working and reporting processes within authorities/grid operators which may willingly or unwillingly delay PV projects. This may be due to inefficient authorities or simply a lack of experience with regard to handling PV projects. Barriers which are both intended (e.g. rules for environmental protection) and not intended (e.g. grid connection regulations which do not fit to small residential buildings) have been in the focus of the research.

PV LEGAL research process

The research process was split up into two steps. The first step, the legal-administrative framework research, provided qualitative descriptions of the legal-administrative steps which are necessary to initiate, conduct and execute a successful PV development project.
The market segments, sub-segments, project development processes and steps in the different countries and the barriers associated with these processes were researched by the respective national project partner. A quality check was ensured by eclareon.

PV Industry stakeholders survey

The second step, the PV LEGAL industry stakeholders survey, provided quantitative data (such as duration, costs and waiting time with regard to the processes and barriers identified) and thus hands-on experience from the PV industry stakeholders. According to the size of their PV market PV LEGAL project partners conducted enough interviews to get a good sample of PV companies operating in each segment.
The methodology used is based on the internationally accepted methodology of the Standard Cost Model (SCM). The SCM Network is a collaborative, international group, working together to share experiences and knowledge to reduce administrative burdens; cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape (www.administrative-burdens.com). The network has developed a methodology that is used by most EU countries and the European Commission to quantify administrative burdens. Since the methodology developed by the SCM network aims at quantifying administrative burdens for Nation States, the PV LEGAL consortium, however, outlines administrative burden for industry stakeholders, the methodology was adequately amended.