Germany's solar+storage subsidy extended to 2018

The success of battery storage deployment in Germany has offered somewhat of a lifeline to the country’s solar industry, after a number years of a shrinking market. A crucial piece of the storage puzzle was locked in last week, with the German Economics and Energy Ministry (BMWi) confirming funding for its distributed storage subsidy program through 2018.

The storage subsidy provides discounted credit, through the KfW bank, for homeowners looking to install a battery system alongside their rooftop PV. From March 1, customers can apply for funding under the scheme.

The program has received funding of around €30 million.

Government signals were that the KfW program would be allowed to expire in 2016, having met its targets, however, the program has been extended, albeit in an adjusted format to reflect falling cost reductions. Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the program is now aligned to "the future."

Preliminary details as to the KfW storage were published on Friday, and the final funding program, including technical data, is expected to be released in coming days when published in the Official Journal.

The initial round of the battery program saw some 19,000 systems installed, according to BMWi figures, resulting in an investment by consumers of some €450 million. The program was first launched in 2013.

The German Greens have welcomed the program, however, criticized the Ministry for its delay.

"The Ministry of Economy could have saved manufacturers and users, the uncertainty of the past few months if it had submitted the new regulations for battery storage right at the beginning, as we Greens have always called for," said the Greens Julia Verlinden. "The back-and-forth regarding the storage program is representative of the hand break that Sigmar Gabriel wants to apply to decentralized technologies aimed at transforming the energy system, placing it back into citizens’ hands. It was high time that the Minister gave the green light to the further promotion of PV battery storage. "