Photovoltaic promotion: all possibilities at a glance

Homeowners who want to install a photovoltaic system on their roof can use various subsidies. Thus, the federal government supports the domestic production of solar power via the feed-in tariff. But also cities, municipalities and energy suppliers set up support programs. An overview:

Guide / Electricity

Image: Father and son playing ball in front of house with solar roof Image: © altrendo images / Stockbyte / thinkstock.de / Text: Verivox

Feed-in tariff according to the EEG

The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) gives operators of photovoltaic systems a fixed remuneration for the electricity fed into the public grid. How high this is depends, first, on the time of commissioning. In addition, the rates of remuneration depend on the size of the installation and the type of installation (roof system, ground-mounted systems, PV systems on sealed and conversion surfaces). In general, it can be said that the remuneration per kilowatt-hour is higher the earlier a plant went into operation and the smaller the plant was designed. The valid feed-in tariff is guaranteed for the year of commissioning and then for another twenty years. Interested parties can find out which rates of remuneration are paid under which conditions on the website of the Federal Network Agency.

Infeed or self-consumption?

The feed-in of solar power into the public grid ensures a safe return. However, self-consumption is becoming increasingly attractive due to falling remuneration and rising electricity prices. The highest possible self-consumption is achieved with electricity storage systems, the installation of which is promoted with a low-interest loan and an amortization subsidy. So if you only feed your electricity surplus into the grid, you can benefit twice.

Development loan from KfW-Bank

The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) has launched the Renewable Energies – Standard 270 program specifically to promote photovoltaic systems. It enables the low-interest financing of solar systems. In addition to the purchase of a new photovoltaic system, it is also possible to build up and expand used plants. You can choose terms of five, ten or 20 years. The conditions of the promotional loan depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant. This determines the house bank, over which also the credit agreement is completed. Details about the KfW promotional bank program are available here.

Regional funding programs

Even federal states, cities and municipalities occasionally promote the installation of photovoltaic systems via investment subsidies or low-interest loans. The extent to which homeowners can avail themselves of regional support programs should be inquired in individual cases from the city or local government. A look at the funding database of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the BINE Information Service can also be worthwhile.

Grants from energy suppliers

In addition to the federal government, federal states and municipalities, energy supply companies also provide subsidies for the construction of PV systems. The type of promotion varies from provider to provider. While some municipal utilities pay a surcharge on the state-paid feed-in tariff, others grant a one-time subsidy, in part depending on the installed capacity of the PV system. As a rule, only customers of the company are eligible to apply. In addition, the support may be subject to other conditions, such as the promotion of new customers. Exact study of the conditions is therefore advisable.

Use tax advantages

Private homeowners become entrepreneurs when they put a photovoltaic system into operation and feed the electricity generated into the public grid. This means more paperwork, but it can also have advantages: For example, the costs for the purchase of the system, its maintenance and repair can be tax deducted as operating expenses. This also includes renovations to the roof, which are necessary due to the installation of the solar system, as well as ongoing costs, such as insurance premiums. In return, the PV system operator has to record the feed-in tariff and the own use as revenue and pay taxes on it.

Operators, whose annual revenue does not exceed the limit of 17,500 euros, have the choice: they can make use of the small business rules and thus get rid of the payment of VAT. The Federation of Energy Consumers has put together current tax tips for operators of photovoltaic systems.

EEG funding is to be turned around

The federal government plans to switch the EEG subsidy from 2017 – away from fixed compensation rates to more competition. Anyone wishing to receive a subsidy for their wind or solar park in the future must compete against other operators of green power plants. The contract or funding is awarded to the person who operates his plant most economically and requires the least funding. BUT: Small and medium photovoltaic installations with an installed capacity of up to one megawatt are to be exempted from this rule and further promoted according to fixed rates of remuneration.