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Electricity storage subsidies in Germany

An overview of grants, programs and loans for ESS systems in Germany

While the feed-in tariff anchored in the Renewable Energy Sources Act was initially very high and the feed-in of generated solar electricity into the public grid was promoted with attractive tariffs, it is now lower than the price of purchased electricity. Therefore, generating as much electricity as possible by yourself is highly recommended to reduce your use of expensive grid electricity. The battery storage subsidy is aimed precisely at this trend: while the feed-in tariff is falling, it should become cheaper to store solar electricity for personal consumption. However, although energy storage costs have fallen sharply in recent years, for most people it’s still too expensive without subsidy programs: each kilowatt hour (kWh) of storage capacity costs around 1,100 euros. That’s why it’s good to know about subsidies, particularly favorable subsidy loans and the various subsidy programs offered by the federal government or individual federal states.

Regional subsidies – it pays to be quick and informed!

The first point of contact for anyone considering an electricity storage system should be their federal state-regional funding for home storage systems in Germany offers a wide and dynamic range of options, with new programs being set up all the time.

For example, homeowners in Bavaria can use the “Energy Storage Photovoltaic Program” to purchase solar power storage units with a storage capacity of at least 3 kWh, which can be installed in detached or semi-detached houses and subsidized together with a new photovoltaic system with a capacity of at least 3 kWh through the “Energy Bonus Bavaria” initiative. This subsidy starts at 500 euros for a 3-kWh electricity storage unit, with each additional kWh of storage capacity adding another 100 euros (Maximum capacity = 30 kWh). This year, photovoltaic home storage systems have been subsidized through a 34-million euro investment (more information here).

In Baden-Württemberg, the “Grid Service Photovoltaic Battery Energy Storage” funding program, which was well-received in both 2018 and 2019, resumed on 1 April 2021 – however, all funding has already been allocated. Nevertheless, monitoring its potential resumption in 2022 could prove worthwhile (more information here).

Investments in electricity storage in connection with newly installed photovoltaic systems are also being funded in Berlin through the “EnergiespeicherPLUS” program. If you meet all the initiative’s requirements, 300 euros per kWh of storage capacity can be funded – up to 15,000 euros. Funds have been used up in the meantime, so no further applications can be submitted, but in the case of new funding being made available another cycle is planned (more information here).

In Lower Saxony, the state government promotes photovoltaic cell storage in connection with the construction or expansion of existing photovoltaic systems. Grants covering up to 40% of battery storage system costs are included. An important prerequisite is that the output power of the newly installed photovoltaic system is at least 4 kWp, or the existing system is expanded by at least 4 kWp. In addition, charging points for electric vehicles and systems with an output power of more than 10 kWp, as well as for car park roofs or other structural installations with overhead photovoltaic systems, can be installed and receive premiums. The maximum funding amount is 50,000 euros. The plan can also be combined with other federal or EU subsidies (more information here).

Diverse funding program landscapes at State level

Subsidies for photovoltaics and storage differ in power and conditions, and not only solar power but other renewable energies are subsidized. You can find a detailed overview of the subsidy programs in the respective federal states here. In addition, environmentally friendly energy is also viewed positively by municipalities and local authorities, and can be subsidized or promoted with favorable loans. However, there is no uniform approach across the federal level and individual states: Each municipality has its own unique approach to promoting sustainable energy. That’s why discovering the various funding opportunities in your city or municipality is essential.

Other central federal funding programs

At the federal level, one of the most important institutions for the promotion of photovoltaic systems and battery storage is the KfW Development Bank, which operates the KfW Promotion Program 270: “Renewable Energies – Standard” – a low-interest promotion loan for electricity and heat supporting:

– the construction, expansion and purchase of renewable energy systems, such as battery storage and photovoltaic systems

– the construction, expansion and purchase of systems for heat generation based on renewable energies

– heating/cooling networks and storage systems fed by renewable energies

– measures to make electricity demand and supply more flexible, which support the system-compatible integration of renewable energies into the energy system, such as electricity storage systems as an individual measure or for retrofitting.

With the KfW 270 promotional loan, up to 100 percent of investment costs for an electricity storage system or acquisition costs of a photovoltaic system in general can be financed. The big difference compared to conventional installment loans is the particularly favorable interest rates and grace period. Exact conditions depend on factors such as term, fixed interest rate and location. Detailed information, including information on how to apply, can be found on the relevant KfW websites. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) also promotes the replacement of heating systems, measures to optimize heating systems and the use of renewable energies, combined heat and power plants, and energy advice for residential buildings with the “Federal Promotion for Efficient Buildings (BEG)”. Further information can be found here.

Facts at a glance

– An up-to-date and very clear brochure on subsidies for climate protection, energy efficiency and renewable energies was published on behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry. This brochure provides information on 287 funding programs and can be ordered free of charge or downloaded as a PDF here.

– Around one third of the costs for home storage purchase and installation can be covered by grants (i.e. non-repayable, free money).

– In addition, there are loans, i.e. loans that have to be repaid. With these loans, terms and interest rates are much more attractive than the loans from the bank.

– The most important funding providers are: BAFA and KfW – regional and municipal solar thermal subsidies as well as private energy suppliers also exist.

– Planning a home storage system is also subsidized

– Funding programs prescribe certain technical standards

– Many subsidies can be combined

– As a rule, you must apply for a subsidy for a photovoltaic system or a battery storage system before buying the system. You must also apply for a loan from the KfW before purchase.

As soon as your application has been received and approved, you can usually have the system installed. – In addition, individual electricity providers also offer storage subsidy programs.

Conclusion: Keep yourself informed, calculate precisely and seek advice

Battery storage systems are subsidized with a wide variety of grants, loans and programs you should be taking advantage of. And because finding the right program isn’t easy, since they vary between states, it is important to seek advice from local specialists so that nothing stands in the way of you and your energy storage subsidy.

Picture: Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

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