Battery level indicator symbolizes energy storage; Source: istockphoto.com/alengo

© istockphoto.com/alengo

Efficient energy storage systems are necessary to compensate for the heavy fluctuations in the feed-in of electricity from renewable energy sources. In order to respond to the important role that energy storage will play in the long term and to develop potential for cost reductions, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is pursuing an ambitious research strategy.

Energy Storage Funding Initiative

The Federal Government is currently providing funding for the development of energy storage systems under its Energy Storage Funding Initiative. Since 2012, some 200 million euros has been awarded to a total of around 250 projects. The projects covered by the funding initiative range from batteries in households to storage systems in the megawatt range and projects for the long-term storage of renewable energy where renewable electricity is used to produce hydrogen in electrolysers. The funding initiative focuses, for example, on wind-hydrogen systems, batteries in distribution grids and thermal storage systems.

The funding of projects under the Federal Government’s Energy Research Programme is set to continue even after the end of the funding initiative. In future, for example, additional funding shall be provided to conduct further research into the optimised use of storage systems in electricity supply systems that are largely based on renewable energy.

More information on the Energy Storage Funding Initiative, in particular on funding areas that are strategically important, can be found here.

Funding programme for decentralised battery storage systems

Since 1 March 2016, applications can again be submitted to KfW as part of the new funding programme for PV battery storage systems. Some 30 million euros will be provided to fund investment in battery storage units that are installed alongside PV systems and connected to the grid. The programme will run until 2018.

The funding programme, which has already proved successful in the past, has been realigned. Under the former programme, KfW had provided funding of around 60 million euros to just under 19,000 approved projects, triggering investment of around 450 million euros. The programme can boast very successful results. One of the goals of the project was to help bring decentralised battery storage systems to market, improve the feed-in of electricity from PV installations in a way that benefits the grid and, consequently, reduce costs and promote the further development of the technology.

The newly launched battery storage funding programme is to ensure that connecting PV installations to the grid will be even more beneficial to the overall system by limiting a PV installation’s maximum feed-in to 50%. In addition to this, the new funding programme is to be adapted to cost reductions in battery systems that have already taken place in the past or are expected to take place in future. The funding announcement was altered in February 2017 to allow farmers to submit applications in line with Article 41 of the General Block Exemption Regulation. In response to increasing demand, the programme was expanded in 2017. At the same time, in view of cost reductions and continuing falls in battery prices, the funding has been made subject to degression. The revised version of the funding announcement is dated 7 June 2017 and was published (in German) on 20 June 2017 in the official part of the Federal Gazette under “BAnz AT 20.06.2017 B1” www.bundesanzeiger.de (only in German). Application forms and additional information on the funding programme is available on the website of KfW under “Erneuerbare Energien - Speicher (275)”. Further information on the PV battery storage programme and on the results of the monitoring process is available on the website of the evaluation project www.speichermonitoring.de (only in German).