Germany to support PV storage

Germany will start a support scheme for power-storage systems for owners of small and medium PV installations from May 1, environment minister Peter Altmaier has told Deutschlandfunk radio.

The minister did not provide further details. But Germany’s industry federation BSW Solar says owners of solar installations will receive up to €660 ($861) in support per kilowatt capacity. Germany’s KfW development bank will provide up to €25m in support during the first year of the programme.

The environment ministry was not immediately available for comment, but it had told Recharge earlier that the purpose of the programme was to set a technological development in motion and to find out to what extent storage systems could help stabilise the power grid.

High levels of PV power entering the grid around midday on sunny days are increasingly having a distorting effect on the electricity market. Due to the country's complex power-pricing mechanism, this has the effect of driving up electricity prices for households.

Generation costs for PV currently are below electricity prices from power utilities, the BSW stresses. A single family residence needs up to 60% less electricity from the grid if it has a PV installation linked to a storage system, the BSW says, pointing to a study from the Fraunhofer Institute.

“We’re expecting a great demand. More and more people are interested in generating inexpensive power from renewable sources themselves,” says BSW president Günther Häckl.

A BSW survey shows that one in two new investors in PV installations is interested in storage batteries, a fact that so far is not reflected in storage system sales due to the high costs.

“The new support grants will spur the deployment of storage systems,” Häckl adds.