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Preparation of the construction of a solar system on a roof in Hesse

Photo: Andreas Arnold / dpa

For days, solar companies had been beating the drum for potential customers to take advantage of the new state subsidy as quickly as possible. Now the rush of applications was so great within one day that the program has to be stopped again. The planned funds for the expansion of private solar charging infrastructure for electric cars have already been fully budgeted.

"A total of around 33,000 applications were approved – despite technical delays in the meantime," the state-owned development bank KfW announced on Wednesday night. The budget of 300 million euros granted by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport for 2023 has thus been exhausted. As soon as further budget funds are available, KfW intends to provide information in its newsletter.

Promotion according to the "first-come, first-served" principle

Already on Tuesday, the first day of the program, there had been around 18,23 commitments with a volume of almost 000 million euros by 200 p.m., the ministry had announced on Tuesday evening, citing KfW figures, on request in Berlin. At times, the high demand had led to an overload of the KfW customer portal.

A total of 500 million euros is available for funding. The "first-come, first-served" principle applies: applications are therefore only accepted as long as there is still money in the pot. When the volume is exhausted, a production freeze is imposed. This year, the total volume was 300 million euros, and the ministry plans to provide a further 200 million euros next year.

Funding is provided for the purchase and installation of a charging station for electric cars in combination with a photovoltaic system and a solar power storage system. According to the ministry and KfW, there is an investment grant of up to 10,200 euros as part of the "Solar power for electric cars" programme – for owners of owner-occupied residential buildings who own an electric car or have ordered an electric car at the time of application.

Great success or deadweight effects?

Applications for the new programme have been available online since Tuesday (26 September). According to the information, KfW processed well over 20,000 applications within the first ten hours. In the first three hours of the application launch alone, there was a run of over 100,000 visitors. From the opening of the program on Tuesday at eight o'clock to 18 o'clock, more than 190,000 visitors had been recorded, almost 66,000 users had registered since then.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke of an "overwhelming response". The funding program "obviously hits the nerve of the population". Charging at one's own residential building reduces the need for public charging, relieves the power grid and enables citizens to save on energy costs.

Accordingly, the maximum subsidy amount can only be received by those who release the battery of their vehicle for discharging. The battery can thus serve as a small part of a reserve, from which electricity can also flow back into the grid or be used in your own home if necessary.

However, it is unclear how many additional solar installations the program has actually triggered – and how many citizens will take the subsidy with them, even though they had planned to set up private photovoltaic systems anyway.