Support program for Solar Power Storage Systems to begin May 1st

By: BSW-Solar

Battery storage systems are set to become a key component of the Energiewende and will help reduce costs / The solar industry forecasts high demand for this technology as consumers strive for autonomy in the generation and consumption of solar power

The solar industry welcomes the recent decision by the German Federal Government to support the market launch of battery systems for solar power storage. Today the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety confirmed that as of May 1 2013, the government will offer financial support measures for the purchase of new battery storage systems for solar power installations amounting to up to 660 euros per kilowatt of solar power capacity. The use of decentralized energy storage systems is considered to be, in the medium to long term, a key component of the Energiewende, Germany’s energy system turnaround. Battery storage systems help adjust sunlight-dependent solar power supply to individualized electricity demand through the use of interim storage technology. This has the added effect of reducing the need to expand local power grids for the absorption of high volumes of renewable energy sources.

By now, the costs of generating solar power are for the most part below the price of purchasing electricity from utility companies. This makes it increasingly advantageous for individuals and companies to consume the solar power that they produce themselves. In a single-family household with a photovoltaic system combined with a local battery storage system, consumers can effectively reduce their external electricity supply by up to 60 percent, as calculations by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) show.

"We expect that there will be a high demand for this technology. More and more people are interested in generating their own electricity from renewable energy sources, and doing so inexpensively. They want to be sure that they are in fact using clean electricity. The coupling of solar power systems with solar power storage technology is an excellent way to ensure the protection of the climate," according to Dr. Günther Häckl, President of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

In addition to providing relief to the power grids, storage systems also have a stabilizing effect on electricity prices. This is the conclusion that the Fraunhofer ISE reaches in its "2013 Storage Study". The use of storage systems connected to the grid can reduce peaks in feed-in capacity by up to 40 percent. The absorption capacity of local power grids would thereby by increased by up to two-thirds without additional grid expansion.

Solar power systems in combination with state-funded storage systems are required to reduce their capacity to 60 percent over the entire remuneration period. System operators can thereby help avoid spikes in power production. And the distribution networks no longer need to be geared to maximum feed-in levels from solar power systems. That saves power line capacities, and fewer new power lines need to be built.

There is a high level of interest in battery storage systems, in particular from operators of small solar power systems with capacities of up to 10 kilowatts of inverter output, such as are typically found in the single or multiple family household segment. This was confirmed by a BSW-Solar survey of providers of storage technology for solar power systems conducted in late 2012. According to the survey, nearly one out of two new investors in photovoltaics and one out of three system operators expressed an interest in battery storage systems. Sales, however, have so far not reflected this level of interest. Until now, the biggest obstacle to the sale of battery storage systems has been the continuing high investment costs. "The new financial support measures will now provide a boost to the use of storage systems. Once the market for storage technology takes off," according to Häckl, "we expect that the high demand will lead to a drop in prices due to economies of scale and technological advances." The German Solar Industry Association has published a free paper detailing the new funding program and providing sample calculations.

Download of information diagrams on solar power storage systems: (German)

Link to an abridged version of the "2013 Storage Study" by the Fraunhofer ISE: (German)

BSW-Solar paper on the new support program with sample calculations:

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