New renewable energy subsidies in Germany may do for battery storage globally what the nation did for solar power.
In February we reported Germany would apparently soon formally confirm a start date for an initiative to support the purchase of battery based energy storage systems integrated with solar panel arrays. It took a little longer than rumoured, but that moment seems to have arrived.
PV Magazine reports the initiative will launch as expected on May 1. From that date, the purchase of new battery storage for solar power systems will be subsidized up to €660 (around AUD$835 at current exchange rates) per kilowatt of solar panels; up to a maximum of 30kW. The subsidy is equal to 30% of current battery costs.
The program is expected to initially run for two years and is open to individuals, community groups and commercial entities.
It was Germany’s pioneering efforts with solar feed in tariffs that boosted demand for solar to a point that many new players entered the market, research and development took off and consequently prices of panels started dropping. As the world followed Germany’s lead, solar panels and associated equipment became even cheaper.
However, energy storage systems have remained expensive. With this new program – if a feed-in tariff-type trend follows – prices should drop substantially; and soon.
The news will be particularly encouraging for those with solar power systems who wish to further decrease their reliance on mains grid electricity, or cut ties altogether. With some feed-in tariffs being anything but generous; it makes sense for some households to store their high value solar electricity for use when they want and how they want.
The electricity sector will no doubt be watching Germany’s experience with great interest and some trepidation as it may threaten their source of cheap, green electricity that they then resell at premium prices; plus generally take more business away from retailers.