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Germany’s residential Li-ion storage incentive scheme is spared the axe

While new solar installations are down in Germany at residential level, the proportion of PV systems paired with storage has increased. Image: SMA.

Germany is looking increasingly likely to extend its incentive programme for domestic energy storage systems, according to a prominent member of the country’s Green Party.

Julia Verlinden, who is a member of parliament, said that the economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel had announced in a plenary debate on the national budget that the decision to let the scheme expire had been overturned.

Originally, the plan had been to not extend the scheme, with an announcement made on 12 November to that effect. It was due to expire at the end of this year. Verlinden announced the news on her website (in German). She welcomed the decision as “good news for the climate and for the German economy”, arguing that for every Eurocent spent on the support programme, seven times that figure is invested back into the economy.

However, Verlinden said, it is not clear what form the programme will take in 2016 and onwards and said that a proposal put forward by her party for the scheme to continue in its current form did not look likely to be adopted. Verlinden also said the ad hoc and unexpected nature of the announcement to re-open the scheme meant that energy policy was being put together “haphazardly”.

“Planning reliability is extremely important for the industry,” Verlinden wrote.

While the scheme, which offers a cash rebate on the cost of lithium-ion battery-based domestic energy storage systems, was in the past described by some as too complicated for some customers to understand due to its technical considerations, broadly speaking the solar and energy storage industries had embraced it. In May 2014, after the first year of the scheme, around 4,000 had been installed in the country, with EU PD Research predicting early this year that around 12,500 storage systems could be installed in total in 2015.

This has been particularly so as feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for solar have been cut drastically in the past couple of years, meaning the value proposition of domestic solar PV is closely linked to the ability to self-consume power generated onsite.

Electricity cost savings for reducing their demand for grid electricity is the primary way owners of PV systems can achieve an ROI on their investment, rather than earning an attractive and subsidised rate for generating power through a FiT.

PV Tech Storage has contacted the German energy storage association, BVES, for comment.

Tags: solar-plus-storage, incentives, investment, germany, federal ministry of energy and economy, sigmar gabriel