Market Stimulation Program
The "Market Stimulation Program" (Marktanreizprogramm) was introduced in 1999. It has an annual budget of € 100 million. The scheme entitles individuals and small and medium-sized businesses to apply for grants and soft loans for solar collectors. Grants are administrated by the "Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle" and loans by the "Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau". Although the conditions effective from 2004 are slightly lower than the original grants, they still offer substantial benefits. Now, solar collectors are awarded € 110/m² for a collector area smaller than 200 m² and € 60/m² for a collector area larger than 200 m². Additionally, larger installations are awarded with soft loans with interest rates 1% below market level. As a result the level of support ranges between 10% and 40% of the investment. Some 275,000 installations were supported by end of 2003, almost entirely solar thermal collectors. Since its introduction, the program has been amended several times, also altering the eligible technologies and the level of support.
Förderung von Maßnahmen zur Nutzung erneuerbarer Energien
For the installation of a solar collector system for water heating or for the provision of process heating there is a grant of € 84. The installation of a solar collector system for water heating and space heating for private persons and public applicants is supported with a grant of € 108. Requirements are a minimum collector area of 8 m² and a buffer storage of 60l/m² with tube collectors. Large systems over 200 m² receive grants of € 48 for every additional m² for all applicants and purposes. This is also the sum paid when an already existing system is enlarged independent from the size of the existing system. Solar collector systems only qualify for funding if the annual minimum collector receipt is 525kWh/m² and the collector meet the criteria of RAL-UZ 73. The funding is a fixed amount allocation and cannot be repaid.
Diverse Soft Loan Schemes
Besides the two ERP soft loan schemes and the "CO2 Building Restructuring Program" there are several soft loans schemes which indirectly support renewable energy technologies. There are the “DtA Umweltschutz- Bürgschaftsprogramm,” the "KfW-Mittelstandsprogramm", the "KfW-Umweltprogramm", which applies to enterprises, and the "KfW-Infrastrukturprogramm", which applies to municipalities. These programs support investments in environmentally-sound technologies including renewable energy technologies with soft loans and loan guarantees. Credit terms range from ten to twenty years. The interest rates offered are 1% to 2% below market interest levels. The programs are operated by the "Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau" (KfW).
ERP-Environment and Energy-Saving Program
The "Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau" (KfW) provides low-interest loans to specified renewable energy projects. These loans are only available to private companies. The credit term for these loans ranges between ten and twenty years with a two to five year redemption holiday. The interest rate is 2% below market level and there is a 50% lending limit. These loans can be combined with the ERP-Environment Program.
This program is a successor of the “Solarthermie 2000” program. It aims to increase the annual solar contribution to heat and hot water demand with individual solar thermal installations from the current 10-30% to 60%. Seasonal storage is particularly sponsored. In order to be eligible for funding the system which is to be installed must have a required minimum size of 100 m² collector area with a time frame of 5 years for accompanying research. Grants up to 50% of the investment costs are provided.