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KfW halts storage subsidies for 2016 amid application rush

Due to greater-than-expected demand the KfW development bank is halting further subsidies this year under a German government programme to support investments in battery storage of electricity generated from PV.

The bank will only accept applications received by tomorrow (5 October) if there are still enough funds left for this year. The programme will then start again in 2017, but with a slightly lower subsidy.

Germany on 1 March had started the new €30m ($33.4m) three-year programme in order to strengthen grid services of solar plants and help cost reduction. It was following up on an earlier programme that between 2013 and 2015 had supported around 19,000 domestic storage systems with about €60m.

Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel late last year decided to extend the previous support scheme with a new programme following heavy criticism by the solar sector over its expiry.

Germany has about 1.5 million PV installations, and declining system prices are spurring demand for storage systems, which are expected to jump from about 35,000 in 2016 to 100,000 by 2018, the German solar federation BSW said earlier this year.

The German storage programme is one of only a few public programmes across the world to support solar storage, and has been hailed as a success by expanding Germany-based storage specialists such as Younicos.

The German scheme supports the purchase of grid-compatible PV batteries with initially €500 per kW of PV capacity. Overall support granted initially is capped at 25% of all costs that are eligible for aid, and will then gradually go down to 10% of that value towards the end of 2018.

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