There are various ways to use renewable energy to heat a building and provide hot water. Here are a few examples:

  • Solar thermal energy: This is usually installed on the roof of a building and converts sunlight into heat. The system can cover part of the heat needed for hot water, e.g. for the shower, and possibly also some of the space heating.
  • Biomass: Examples include wood pellet or log boilers generating heat for heating and hot water.
  • Heat pump: A heat pump uses heat from the air, groundwater or the ground.

However, not all the ways to use renewable energy to provide heating are equally efficient. For this reason, the MAP only assists certain particularly efficient options (for more information, see "How much assistance is available for privately used installations?" or "How much assistance is available for commercially used installations?").

The MAP is a funding programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy which provides incentives to make greater use of renewable energy to generate heat: private consumers, members of the professions, companies, municipalities and other eligible parties such as non-profit organisations receive a grant from the state if they replace their old heating system with an efficient solar thermal installation, biomass installation or heat pump. Funding is also provided for setting up heat networks and heat storage units

Since 2000, a total of around 1.8 million installations have received funding under the MAP. Consumers can find more information and application forms on the website of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA): See www.heizen-mit-erneuerbaren-energien.de (in German).

Private home-owners, members of the professions, companies, municipalities and other eligible parties such as non-profit organisations. This does not apply to the Federal Government, the Länder and their agencies or manufacturers of eligible appliances (unless they are acting as contractors).

As of 1 January 2016, the "heating package" of the Energy Efficiency Incentive Programme has been added to the MAP. It is directed at anyone who wants to install a new heating system that uses renewable energy. To be eligible for funding, it is required that an outdated non-condensing oil or gas-fired heating boiler that is not yet subject to the obligation to replace boilers (Section10 of the Energy Saving Ordinance) is taken out of operation and that the entire heating system is properly adjusted and optimised, including the pipes, pumps and the heating systems. It is also possible to receive funding if the existing heating system is not replaced but modernised so that solar thermal energy is used, thereby optimising the overall system. In doing so, it is always ensured that the full energy savings potential of the new heating system can be leveraged. Furthermore, this also benefits the climate since the carbon emissions of the heating system will be reduced to a minimum. 

The heating package provides an additional bonus of twenty percent of the funding amount granted under the MAP and additional lump sum of 600 euros for optimising the entire heating system. 

Let’s take the following example: For a pellet boiler with a heat storage unit, MAP funding of at least €3,500 is provided. In addition, an extra bonus of 700 euros for installing a new heating boiler and the fixed amount of 600 euros for optimising the system will be granted. In the example shown, the heating package provides a total of 1,300 euros in additional funding.

Under the MAP, funding is provided for installations that use renewable energy to generate heat and also meet a number of other technical requirements. These installations include solar thermal energy installations, biomass installations and heat pumps. Funding is also provided for setting up heat networks and heat storage units.

Private consumers wishing to find out which types of installations are eligible for funding can visit the website of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) at www.heizen-mit-erneuerbaren-energien.de (in German only). Businesses and municipalities operating larger installations can find information about which types of installations are eligible for funding on the website of KfW.

Qualified energy auditors (www.energie-effizienz-experten.de (in German)) can provide advice on which type of installation is best suited for a particular building.

Private home-owners receive funding towards energy-efficient solar thermal installations, biomass installations (e.g. pellet boilers) and heat pumps. The level of funding varies depending on the installation:

  • For example, it is at least €2,000 for the first installation of a solar thermal system for combined hot water and space heating.
  • For a pellet boiler with a heat storage unit, for example, it is at least €3,500.
  • It is at least €4,000 for a geothermal pump or for combined hot water and space heating.

You can find more information about the funding on the website of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control BAFA) at www.heizen-mit-erneuerbaren-energien.de, or call the BAFA hotline on 06196 908-1625.

On 1 January 2018, a new funding procedure came into effect. From this day on, all persons wishing to apply for funding under the MAP need to submit their applications before awarding a contract to a technician for the installation of the new unit.

In cases where you have already awarded a contract to a technician for installing the new unit, but the technician is unable to install it until 2018, transitional rules apply. These mean that the applicant and the company commissioned to install the new unit need to submit a declaration stating that they want to make use of the transitional rules. They then have until 30 September 2018 to submit the application for funding even if the unit is installed before this date.

For more information about the new funding procedure, please contact the BAFA. The phone number for the Division responsible for the MAP is 06196 908-2156 or -2721.

Companies or municipalities which convert their heat generation to energy-efficient solar thermal installations, biomass installations or heat pumps can receive funding via the MAPMarket Incentive Programme. In the case of smaller systems, they can apply for investment grants from the BAFA, like private consumers. Funding is also provided for setting up heat networks fed from renewable energy sources and installing heat storage units. More information about investment grants for smaller systems is available from the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) at www.bafa.de/DE/Energie/energie_node.html or via the BAFA hotline at 06196 908-1625. 

However, many companies and municipalities tend to use larger systems. In such cases, they can obtain preferential loans from the KfW covering the cost of the investment, as well as repayment grants for these loans. The precise level of the repayment grants depends mainly on the type of installation and the level of investment.

  • There is a repayment grant at least 30% of the eligible net investment costs for the erection of a solar thermal installation.
  • A 60 euro repayment grant is provided for every new meter added to an existing heat network that is mostly fed from renewable energy sources. The maximum repayment grant is €1 million. In cases where heat from deep geothermal energy installations is fed into the heat network, the maximum repayment grant is €1.5 million.
  • For large heat storage units that can hold more than 10 m3 of water, a repayment grant covering 30 per cent of the net investment costs is provided. The maximum repayment grant is €1 million.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receive an additional 10% grant, i.e. their repayment grant is increased by another 10%. For example, instead of a repayment grant of €25,000, they receive one of €27,500. Further information about the KfW funding for larger-scale systems via preferential loans and repayment grants can be found here.

If you wish to apply for an investment grant, you should contact the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control directly before commencing your project. You can call the BAFA hotline on 06196 908-1625. The application forms for the respective technology can be found at www.heizen-mit-erneuerbaren-energien.de: go to the section on the relevant technology and to "Formulare".

The funding in the form of a preferential loan or repayment grant is provided via the KfW. You need to apply via your bank for the funding before commencement of the project. Your bank will then forward the application to the KfW, which examines whether the project is eligible. If your bank is given the go-ahead by the KfW, you can then conclude the loan agreement with your bank. Further information (in German) can be found here. If you wish to clarify questions by phone, contact the Infocenter of the KfW.

The funding available to expand existing or build new local heating networks is particularly interesting for municipalities and large companies. To be eligible for MAP funding, a certain percentage of the heat distributed by these networks must be renewables-based. The required percentage varies and depends on the energy sources of the heat and whether the heat is mainly going to existing or to new buildings. The funding consists of a repayment grant of up to €60 per metre, up to a maximum of €1 million. Funding is available in the form of repayment grants: up to 60 euros are provided per meter, with the maximum repayment grant being €1 million, or €1.5 million in cases where heat from deep geothermal energy installations is fed into the heat network.

If you have further questions about preferential loans and repayment grants, please contact the KfW directly. If you wish to clarify questions by phone, contact the Infocenter of the KfW.

In principle, MAP funding can be combined with other government funding programmes, e.g. from the Länder, as long as maximum limits under EU law are not exceeded. 

For certain funding programmes - particularly the KfW programmes set up in the context of the CO2 building renovation programme - there are restrictions which prohibit cumulation if the same investment costs are to be assisted. But this rule only applies to the investment costs for the same measure. For example, the installation of a heating system which uses renewable energy can only be assisted once: either via the MAP or the “Energy-efficient refurbishment” KfW programme (loan: variant no. 151; grant; variant no. 430).

If funding towards the costs of replacing a heating system is claimed under the KfW’s "Energy-efficient refurbishment" programme, the same costs cannot also be funded via the MAP. But if, in the context of a comprehensive refurbishment of a building, not only the new heating system is installed but further measures are taken - e.g. the insulation of the building envelope or the replacement of the windows, etc. - funding can be claimed for this additional work from the KfW programme "Energy-efficient refurbishment", and at the same time the costs of installing e.g. a new pellet heating system can be funded via the MAP.

Energy-generating installations which receive funding under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) or the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG) cannot receive funding under the MAP. Exempted from this rule are deep geothermal energy installations, biomass installations that are used for combined heat and power generation, and biogas pipelines provided that the gas these transport is being used for generating both electricity and heat. These installations/pipelines are eligible for funding under the MAP even if they already receive funding under the EEG or the KWKG.

Private home-owners or companies interested in installing smaller systems can call the hotline of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA): 06196 908-1625. 

Businesses and municipalities interested in installing larger-scale systems (larger than 100 kilowatts of nominal heat output in the case of biomass installations and heat pumps) which have questions about preferential loans and repayment grants can contact the Infocenter of the KfW directly.

You can find contact details of local energy consultants at www.machts-effizient.de/expertenliste (in german).