Energy storage systems are an integral part of Germany’s Energy Transition (Energiewende). While the need for energy storage is growing across Europe, Germany remains the lead target market and the first choice for companies seeking to enter this developing industry. It stands out as a unique market, development platform and export hub.
Germany Trade & Invest helps open up a vista of opportunities for companies looking to cooperate with German partners, become involved in demonstration projects, and expand through direct investment.
Germany is a front-runner in the development of renewable energies. Renewables now produce around 36% of the electricity consumed in Germany. Following the goals of the German government, renewable energy share is to be increased to at least 80% of electricity consumption by 2050. Energy storage systems will play a fundamental role in integrating renewable energy into the energy infrastructure and help maintain grid security by compensating for the enormous increase of fluctuating renewable energies. Germany’s geographical makeup places significant restrictions on the possibility of developing new pumped storage capacity. This makes the use of new storage technologies and smart grids an imperative.
“Germany is the global leader in energy storage technology for renewable energy systems. The country has high engineering standards and favorable government policy. With the help and expertise of GTAI, Bolt has been able to connect with the best strategic partners and expand into Germany and Europe.” (2016)
Small and Commercial Battery Systems
Around 1.7 million solar power plants with a total capacity of approximately 45 GWp (2017) have been installed in Germany over the past 25 years. Around 1,000,000 are solar power plants with a capacity of smaller than 10 kWp installed on residential rooftops. They build the foundation for the promising market development of small energy storage systems.
Every second newly installed residential PV-system is combined with an energy storage system to increase the amount of own-consumed PV electricity. Up until late 2018, around 120,000 households and commercial operations in Germany had already invested in a PV-battery system. According to our research, PV-battery systems could reach an annual installation volume of around 50,000 systems by 2020. Retrofit storage installations will also be a major driver for improving energy self-sufficiency in private households and commercial operations. Only 8 percent of rooftop PV systems in Germany are equipped with a battery today – by 2030 it could be well over 80 percent.
In addition to increasing own-consumption of PV electricity, batteries are increasingly used for multiple beneficial purposes
Electricity companies are offering new tariff and service models for PV-batteries, such as electricity flat rates.
Residential PV-batteries are interconnected into swarms to perform grid-services and generate additional income.
The provision of control power is a viable income stream for commercial batteries.
Commercial enterprises benefit from optimized load-profiles with their battery to decrease electricity costs and save grid fees.
Spotlight: Solar Thermal Energy and Heat Storage As Europe’s largest solar thermal market, Germany is looking beyond established residential applications. An emerging market for solar industrial process heat and district heating offers opportunities for players testing new business models. In the residential market, thermal storage is becoming an important buffer enabling increasing shares of renewables (solar thermal, PV, heat pumps, and biomass) to be effectively used on site.
Large Battery Systems
To integrate the large amounts of wind and solar energy safely into the existing grid, large battery systems will play an import role in Germany’s future energy infrastructure. These are well suited to providing control power to stabilize grid frequency. At present, several demonstration and commercial projects have been put in operation. Companies can find a large pool of potential partners to optimize their technology and move it towards commercialization. At the end of 2018, Germany sees a cumulated capacity of around 400 MW of large-scale battery projects.
“Germany is paramount to Total as Europe’s largest energy market. Our chemical arm also has production sites on location in Germany, especially as a supplier for the automobile industry. And last but not least, Germany is an important location for the solar power branch of Total, Sunpower, in Germany’s position as the leading market in renewable energies.” (2014)
Green Hydrogen and Power-to-Gas Technology
Hydrogen and power-to-gas technologies occupy a prominent place in the long-term energy storage plans and future mobility and fuel strategy of the German Government. Surplus energy from fluctuating renewable sources can be stored as hydrogen gas in the extensive German gas grid by means of electrolysis. As a participant in the power-control market it serves to stabilize grid frequency and optimize grid usage. The introduction of power-to-gas technologies is inevitability as the German government seeks to meet its climate targets and reduce primary energy demand in the transportation sector. These goals include a 40% reduction of energy consumption in the transport sector and GHG emission reductions of 80% until 2050. Substantial reductions of power demand and emissions in transportation are only achievable with high fuel-demand coverage with power-to-gas in combination with electrification of the drive-train (battery and fuel cell electric engines). Plans to promote the expansion of nationwide hydrogen infrastructure are under way.
The power-to-gas technology creates investment potential along the entire supply chain: from long-term storage, production and trading to electrolyzer production, gas compression, and smart gas metering amongst other things. Within Europe, Germany alone has the majority of European fuel cell and hydrogen technology demonstration projects. Thanks to internationally recognized certification institutions, the large number of players, and regional and international activities, Germany is developing and setting tomorrow’s global technical framework and standards.
"Ballard Power Systems has been putting fuel cell products to work in applications throughout the European Union. The expertise we found at Germany Trade and Invest has led us to the best matched partners and investment opportunities in the German marketplace." (2011)
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