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Home Energy Storage Making a Comeback in Germany

Enerix of Bavaria Germany

When IKEA Germany is offering installed solar packages that include storage capacity, you know the combination of solar plus storage is on a good path. But it hasn’t always been that way, even in Germany, one of the epicenters of the renewable energy revolution. Solar adoption rates in Germany were on an upwards trajectory and seemed unstoppable. This of course was a boon to many consumers and the German solar panel manufacturing and installation industry. But in recent years that had slowed due to lower cost solar panel production from state subsidized Chinese firms and a phasing out of the country’s feed-in-tariff scheme.  These tariffs paid German consumers a guaranteed amount / credit for supplying a certain amount of energy back to the grid.

Today, home and business-based energy storage is playing a bigger and bigger role in the country with one out of every two orders for rooftop solar panels in Germany now sold with a battery storage system. In a country with a some of the highest energy prices in Europe, there are good long-term advantages to home-based energy generation and storage. These systems have the ability to not only cover the consumption needs for families or small businesses but can also feed that power back into the grid depending on the feed-in-tariff scheme in use and power plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Though the overall adoption rates for households that have both solar and storage in Germany is relatively small at 120,000 households and small businesses of the country’s roughly 81 million people, it is growing. For those ready to make the longer-term investment, the payback period for some home-based systems is being advertised as 10 years; the amount of time it will take to recoup the initial investment in the generation (solar panels), storage unit and add-ons for software systems that monitor household energy consumption and the interface with the grid.

Disadvantages to taking the plunge into a home-based system are of course the overall cost that without rebates or upfront financing can still feel prohibitively expensive. In addition, some home-based batteries are only expected to last about 10 to 15 years. With consumers needing to replace a battery in 10 years, right after the payback period has been reached that could be another costly setback though prices for batteries 10 years from now will likely be lower and more technologically advanced.

In a world where large oil giants like Royal Dutch Shell are purchasing battery storage vendors like Germany’s Sonnen, its clear that those in the know are placing their bets where they think serious growth will occur in the industry.

Areg Bagdasarian's picture

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