Germany Backtracks on Ending Solar Battery Aid After Protests

  • KfW bank loans and direct subsidies may run another 3 years
  • Solar industry says aid still needed to foster storage market

The German government backtracked on plans to let subsidies for solar batteries expire at the end of the year after cross-party protests.

Buyers of solar batteries will probably get financial help for another 3 years from 2016 after Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel bowed to pressure to keep aid flowing, the BSW solar federation said Friday. Gabriel said earlier this month that loans and subsidies offered by the KfW development bank for solar storage buyers would expire after achieving its aim of kick-starting the market. Yesterday he told parliament he’s changed his mind.

Financial help from the government to buy batteries from companies including Sonnenbatterie GmbH sparked a seven-fold increase in purchases of units, helping to push down their average retail costs by 25 percent, BSW said. The batteries are linked to rooftop photovoltaic systems.

Storage is “at the heart of the Energy Switch,” said the solar industry federation. “Letting the subsidies run out after just two and a half years was too early.”

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