Planung von einer Photovoltaikanlage
Bild von Freepik

Photovoltaic subsidisation

Hav­ing your own solar sys­tem on the roof with self-gen­er­at­ed elec­tric­i­ty that is used in the house­hold is some­thing that more and more home­own­ers are striv­ing for. Not only can you save a lot of mon­ey, but your own envi­ron­men­tal foot­print also looks much bet­ter with your own green elec­tric­i­ty. How­ev­er, financ­ing is often an issue that con­cerns many peo­ple, espe­cial­ly when it comes to larg­er pho­to­volta­ic sys­tems (PV sys­tems). Here you will find every­thing you need to know about pho­to­volta­ic sub­sidy options.

Subsidy for your own solar energy system: what subsides are available?

Sub­si­dies for solar ener­gy sys­tems have become increas­ing­ly numer­ous in Ger­many in recent years. On the one hand, this is due to a grow­ing will­ing­ness among the pop­u­la­tion to adopt a cli­mate-friend­ly lifestyle and, on the oth­er, to the efforts of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment to make envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly alter­na­tives to elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­a­tion more attrac­tive and afford­able. Both of these fac­tors play into the hands of home­own­ers. When plan­ning your PV sys­tem, you have the choice between var­i­ous mod­els — from loans with low inter­est rates to one-off gov­ern­ment grants. In addi­tion, the EEG (Erneuer­bare-Energien-Gesetz: Renew­able Ener­gy Sources Act) is intend­ed to pro­mote the expan­sion of pho­to­voltaics. The law was reformed in 2023, so that now

  • oper­a­tors of PV sys­tems can now feed their ener­gy into the pub­lic grid with­out restric­tion, pro­vid­ed the sys­tem does not have a capac­i­ty of more than 7kW or has a meter­ing sys­tem up to 25kW.
  • con­sumers are no longer charged an EEG surcharge.

Our tip: Find out about cur­rent sub­si­dies for solar sys­tems from your city or local author­i­ty, as larg­er and small­er pack­ages are always being put togeth­er in many fed­er­al states.

KfW 270 – Subsidy for photovaltaics

KfW (Kred­i­tanstalt für Wieder­auf­bau) is a Ger­man devel­op­ment bank that grants loans on behalf of the fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments to pro­mote the eco­nom­ic, eco­log­i­cal and social devel­op­ment of the coun­try. Com­pa­nies as well as pub­lic insti­tu­tions and pri­vate indi­vid­u­als are eli­gi­ble for fund­ing. Fund­ing can be applied for both for projects in Ger­many and abroad. The financ­ing pro­gramme for ener­gy-effi­cient con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tion also includes fund­ing for PV sys­tems. The Renew­able Ener­gies — Stan­dard sub­sidised loan 270 for elec­tric­i­ty and heat is just the thing for any­one who wants to turn their dream of gen­er­at­ing their own solar pow­er into real­i­ty. It pro­vides you with exten­sive fund­ing for pho­to­volta­ic sys­tems on roofs, façades or open spaces.

Requirements and conditions for KfW 270

The fol­low­ing require­ments must be met in order to receive fund­ing for pho­to­voltaics from KfW:

  • The appli­ca­tion must be sub­mit­ted before the solar sys­tem is pur­chased and installed. Invest­ments in PV sys­tems that have already been start­ed or even com­plet­ed are no longer eligible.
  • The min­i­mum term of the loan is two years.
  • The pho­to­volta­ic sub­sidy must be applied for via a KfW financ­ing part­ner. This can be a bank or sav­ings bank in your neigh­bour­hood, for exam­ple. The advan­tage of this con­cept is that you always have a local advi­sor avail­able if you have any questions.
  • The loan is con­clud­ed with an effec­tive annu­al inter­est rate from 5.21%.
  • There must be a par­tial or full feed-in of the solar pow­er generated.

When plan­ning your rooftop PV sys­tem, you should decide as ear­ly as pos­si­ble whether you want to apply for a sub­sidy. You may apply for a loan from a KfW financ­ing part­ner at an ear­ly stage. You will need as much detailed infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble about your project. This includes:

  • Desired loan amount
  • Desired loan term incl. redemp­tion-free years and fixed inter­est period
  • Date of your planned invest­ment (must be in the future!)
  • Some per­son­al and demo­graph­ic data

If you are wor­ried about high costs for the pur­chase and instal­la­tion, you can rest assured: it is not absolute­ly nec­es­sary to include your own cap­i­tal for the financ­ing. How­ev­er, KfW advis­es you to use your own funds, as this allows you to prove your cred­it­wor­thi­ness and ben­e­fit from more favourable conditions.

In the sec­ond step of the appli­ca­tion, you need to pro­vide tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion about the project. This includes, for exam­ple, the size of the sys­tem in m² and kWp (kilo­watt peak) as well as the expect­ed amount of elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­at­ed. You should only fill in this sec­tion once you are able to pro­vide all the final, cor­rect and com­plete details. It is best to seek advice from your local financ­ing partner.

BAFA subsidy: Is photovoltaics subsidised?

The BAFA (Bun­de­samt für Wirtschaft und Aus­fuhrkon­trolle: Fed­er­al Office of Eco­nom­ics and Export Con­trol) sub­sidis­es ren­o­va­tion mea­sures that increase the ener­gy effi­cien­cy of a build­ing through the use of renew­able ener­gies. This also includes fund­ing for solar ther­mal sys­tems with a sub­sidy of 25 %. This BAFA sub­sidy there­fore only applies to sys­tems con­sist­ing of solar col­lec­tors. In con­trast to PV sys­tems with solar cells, solar col­lec­tors con­vert ener­gy into heat. A BAFA sub­sidy for pho­to­volta­ic sys­tems that con­vert ener­gy into elec­tric­i­ty is unfor­tu­nate­ly not yet available.

How­ev­er, there is full gov­ern­ment sup­port for PV sys­tems in the form of the KfW loan, the feed-in tar­iff, the tax relief for home­own­ers that came into force on 1 Jan­u­ary 2023 and the solar pack­ages from the BMWK (Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ics and Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion). The lat­ter sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces bureau­crat­ic and tech­ni­cal hur­dles in the expan­sion of renew­able ener­gies. Apart from this, you can always con­sult your fed­er­al state or local author­i­ty to find out which sub­si­dies and fund­ing are cur­rent­ly avail­able for pho­to­voltaics on your own roof.

Subsidy for photovoltaic systems of federal states and municipalities

If you would pre­fer a pho­to­volta­ic grant that does not have to be repaid instead of a loan-based sub­sidy, some fed­er­al states and local author­i­ties offer sub­si­dies. We would like to rec­om­mend that you check reg­u­lar­ly and only on trust­wor­thy web­sites. Although var­i­ous advice blogs on the sub­ject of renew­able ener­gies and providers of PV sys­tems pro­vide infor­ma­tion on local sub­si­dies, they often give con­tra­dic­to­ry or out­dat­ed infor­ma­tion. Gen­er­al­ly, the ever-increas­ing num­ber of sub­si­dies for pho­to­voltaics and oth­er sus­tain­able ener­gy gen­er­a­tion meth­ods are pub­lished well in advance on the offi­cial web­site of your munic­i­pal­i­ty, city or fed­er­al state. In Berlin, for exam­ple, “SolarPLUS” is one of the most exten­sive projects for the pro­mo­tion of pho­to­voltaics for both pri­vate and com­mer­cial interests.

Anoth­er cur­rent top­ic is ten­ant elec­tric­i­ty projects. These enable land­lords to gen­er­ate solar pow­er on the roof of their res­i­den­tial build­ing, which can be used direct­ly by the ten­ants with­out being fed through the grid. This saves the costs of exter­nal elec­tric­i­ty and grid fees. In order to make this mod­el attrac­tive to own­ers of res­i­den­tial build­ings, the 2017 Renew­able Ener­gy Sources Act (EEG) includes a sub­sidy for the use of pho­to­volta­ic elec­tric­i­ty in the form of a ten­ant elec­tric­i­ty sur­charge for non-feed-in. Fur­ther infor­ma­tion on the top­ic of ten­ant elec­tric­i­ty can be found on the BMWK’s Renew­able Ener­gies infor­ma­tion por­tal.

Apart from this, there is a feed-in tar­iff for solar ener­gy from your own roof through­out Ger­many. How­ev­er, this has so far been rather low and is often only worth­while for oper­a­tors of larg­er PV sys­tems who do not want to use the self-gen­er­at­ed elec­tric­i­ty in their own house­hold, or only partially.

Which photovoltaic subsidy is right for me?

Depend­ing on the scope of your PV sys­tem plans, when you want to start and what equi­ty cap­i­tal you have, you can find the best solu­tion for your project from the solar sys­tem sub­sidy options.

  • Immediate solution with repayment obligation: KfW subsidy

    If you would like to start the ener­gy tran­si­tion in your own house­hold right away and are also pre­pared to invest in your own cli­mate-friend­ly future, you can’t go wrong with KfW 270 fund­ing. Here, sol­vent and cred­it­wor­thy cus­tomers have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to quick­ly and eas­i­ly receive up to €150 mil­lion in fund­ing for pho­to­voltaics from a KfW part­ner bank. This is more than enough for pri­vate indi­vid­u­als whose aver­age expen­di­ture for a PV sys­tem on the roof is between €10,000 and €50,000. You can eas­i­ly repay your green loan at favourable con­di­tions over a peri­od of your choice (min­i­mum 2, max­i­mum 30 years). The sav­ings on elec­tric­i­ty con­sump­tion make this an attrac­tive solu­tion for many peo­ple who have a pri­vate home.

  • Photovoltaic subsidy from the state

    When apply­ing for a sub­sidy for a PV sys­tem, you can rely on the cur­rent sub­sidy pro­grammes in your region. If no funds are cur­rent­ly avail­able, you will have to be patient — or do with­out a sub­sidy. How­ev­er, if there are sub­si­dies for pho­to­voltaics in your fed­er­al state or dis­trict, this option is just as easy as a loan. The advan­tage: you do not have to pay back the sub­sidy. One pos­si­ble dis­ad­van­tage is that the sub­si­dies are often not very high and only cov­er a small pro­por­tion of the costs. Nev­er­the­less, a sub­sidy from the fed­er­al or state gov­ern­ment is a good way to equip your home with envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly elec­tric­i­ty from your own roof and save a few hun­dred euros on the pur­chase and installation.

  • Combination of subsidised loan and one-off funding

    A com­bi­na­tion of sub­sidy and loan is also pos­si­ble: you then ben­e­fit from small but gen­er­ous one-off pay­ments and large loan amounts with favourable inter­est rates. With this com­bi­na­tion, you can apply for a com­pre­hen­sive pho­to­volta­ic sub­sidy and realise your dream of liv­ing with cli­mate-friend­ly elec­tric­i­ty quick­ly, safe­ly and at a rea­son­able price.