In Germany the use of renewable energy can be promoted by different measures from public funds. The existing possibilities of promotion respectively legal regulations for the use of solid biofuels like wood, also from landscape conservation and maintenance work, are described in the following article.
The German Federal Government supports the development of renewable energies in the heating market through investment grants (Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control, BAFA) or under the KfW-program (Reconstruction Credit Institute) as repayment bonus for early partial redemption of long-term low-interest loans.
Investment grant BAFA
With the market incentive program manually loaded and automatic wood-fired systems in the power range from 5 to 100 kW can be promoted. For manually fed biomass plants the grant is 2000 €/plant if the dust emissions are according to proof of the manufacturer under 15 mg/m3 flue gas and a buffer memory of minimum 55 l/kW is installed. A list of eligible boilers can be viewed on the Internet at
Wood chip firings can be subsidized with € 3500/plant when a buffer of at least 30 l/kW is installed. Combined boilers for wood chips and logs can be supported as well if a buffer volume of at least 55 l/kW is available for the manually loaded part of the plant. Automatically fed systems for wood pellets with automatic ignition can be subsidized with 80 €/kW. The following minimum amounts apply:
- Pellet stove with water pocket 2000 €
- Pellet boiler 3000 €
- Pellet boiler with buffer storage (min. 30 l/kW) 3500 €
Here the promotion of combined boilers is possible as well.Retrofitting of condensing- or filter-technology in existing plants can be subsidised with 750 €. The promotion applies to renewals of existing heating systems (at least 2 years old) in existing buildings.Other bonuses can be granted if biomass systems are used in particularly innovative or efficient applications, for example, in combination with thermal solar systems.
Eligible applicants are private individuals, freelancers, businesses, corporations, associations and municipalities. The agricultural house belongs to the private assets, private investments are eligible. If other objects are heated, it must be ensured that the majority of the heat is used privately or commercially.Whether the application must be made before or after completion of a measure depends on the respective project. For agricultural holdings the application focuses on what is to be heated. If there are mainly private properties (residential house) the application may be made after the investment (6 months). If the largest share of renewable energy is used in the business area of the company, it is considered as commercial applicant and the request must be made prior to the investment. Previous application is always advisable to ensure that no deadlines are missed.Other provisions should be taken from the extensive funding guidelines. Info and applications: Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) (see link below).
Loan from the Reconstruction Credit Institute (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, KfW)
The section “Standard” of the program “Renewable Energies” promotes combined heat and power (CHP), thus the production of electricity and heat at the same time.In the section “Premium” automatic firings for burning solid biomass with an installed nominal heat output of more than 100 kW can also be promoted.
For biomass plants the redemption grants amount € 20/kW. In addition, a bonus of 10 €/kW can be paid if a buffer memory of at least 30 l/kW is installed. Another bonus of 20 €/kW is granted if the dust emissions amount a maximum of 15 mg/m3 flue gas.Furthermore, the establishment or expansion of a heating network can be promoted if it is fed at least 50% with heat from renewable energies. For the network in average a minimum level of heat sales of 500 kWh/year and meter heat line has to be proven. Grant: € 60/meter for newly constructed paths and 80 €/meter for extensions of existing networks. House transfer stations can be funded with up to € 1800.Further information can be found under the link at the end of this page or at your house bank. The loans are to apply through the house bank on according forms.
For larger projects, which might include insulation or extensive modifications to the heating system, further loan programs of the KfW can be used as for example the program “Energy Efficient Renovation- Supplementary credit”.
Since 2016 the named programs can be supplemented with the so called “APEE”- promotion, the incentive program of energy efficiency. The aim is to noticeably speed up modernisations and to complement the existing funding landscape. Exchanging an outdated heating system with a modern, fuel-efficient one and at the same time optimizing the overall heating system, e.g. by insulating heating pipes or installing modern thermostatic heads, justifies for additional funds. The potential bonus of 600€ (+ 20%) is possible for both, the investment grant (BAFA) as well as the redemption grant (KfW).
Renewable Energies Act (EEG)
The Renewable Energy Act regulates the payment of electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind and biomass which is fed into the public power grid. For the different types of energy, different minimum rates have been set, which are paid the same amount from commissioning for a minimum time period. Regarding material from landscape conservation and maintenance work this relates only to plants with combined heat and power (CHP) as for example wood gasifiers.
Due to strained fiscal positions of the German Federal States renewable energy projects are often funded at the state level only as so-called “lighthouse projects”. From other programs, such as the Agricultural Investment Promotion Program (AFP), grants for energy measures may be possible, but certainly more difficult to obtain than the above described programs. The above summary is without claim to comprehensiveness. More information should be retrieved from the extensive funding guidelines.
Author: Kathrin Ludewig
Photos: © Thorben Wengert / www.pixelio.de