Around one-third of the electricity from new PV systems in Germany is being consumed in the household or business where they are installed, according the country’s solar association, BSW-Solar.

A survey of solar installers carried out by the body reveals a progressive switch to PV self-consumption, driven by the falling feed-in tariff rates paid for solar power in Germany.

BSW-Solar said that while current feed-in tariffs for residential-scale PV pays only about €0.15 (US$0.20) per kWh, retail electricity prices are around €0.27 (USD 0.36) per kWh, making it increasingly attractive for consumers to to offset electricity usage and not feed PV-generated power into the grid.

“Private power tariffs are now almost twice as high as the cost of self-generated solar electricity from the roof of a house,” said BSW-Solar chief executive Carsten Körnig.

Alongside this trend, BSW-Solar noted a growing interest among the German public in installing PV storage systems.

Since May 2013, the German government has offered subsidies for small-scale energy storage systems. BSW-Solar said the German development bank KfW, which is administering the subsidy programme, has received more than 700 applications for loans associated with this subsidy.

But the survey also revealed the additional complexities for installers that the switch to self-consumption is creating, with 81% of installers surveyed saying that determining the proper system size was the most important factor in optimising PV systems for self-consumption.

Around 80% of installers reported increased effort in installing such systems.

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