German PV battery storage exceeds 200MW

OREANDA-NEWS. May 23, 2016. Germany had around 204MW of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) battery storage capacity at end of January, a government-commissioned study showed.

A total of 34,000 PV battery storage systems, with an average usable capacity of 6KW, were installed by 31 January, according to the study by Aachen-based RWTH university. Installations increased sharply last year, when almost every second new PV project was fitted with a battery system. Germany added around 1.5GW of solar PV generation capacity last year.

Battery systems prevented around 78.5GWh of solar generation from being fed to the grid last year, the study showed.

Around 27pc of installed PV storage systems are lead-acid batteries, while 73pc are lithium batteries. The latter account for 67pc of usable battery storage capacity, with lead-acid batteries making up the remainder. More than 90pc of PV storage systems installed in the fourth quarter were lithium batteries, as falling prices, higher efficiencies and longer lifespans of lithium systems have supported their utilisation, the study said.

Around 50-60pc of Germany's PV battery systems have received government support. Chancellor Angela Merkel's previous coalition government introduced the subsidy programme in May 2013, with a budget of €60mn (\\$67.3mn). State-owned bank KfW subsidised around 19,000 PV battery storage units under the scheme, which ended in December.

The new government initially had no plans to extend the subsidies,but a new programme was launched on 1 March with a budget of €30mn and will run until the end of 2018. It applies to small PV installations with a capacity of up to 30kW that came on line in 2013 or later. PV installations receiving government support will have to feed at least 50pc of their generation into storage for at least 20 years, up from 40pc in the first programme.

While the total amount of storable PV capacity is still small relative compared with installed capacity of nearly 40GW, the new government scheme and a separate subsidy for electric cars to launch this year is expected to further drive down prices for battery systems. Prices for lithium batteries have already fallen by 18pc/yr since the first government support scheme began in 2013.

It is technically and economically feasible for German households to install PV battery storage with a total capacity of up to 40GW if battery prices fall further, a study published at the end of last year said.

RWTH University will publish its next study on the development of PV battery storage in Germany in the second quarter of next year.