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31 Jan 2020, 14:15
Sören Amelang

Heat pump industry expects strong growth in Germany after tepid increase in 2019

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's heat pump industry is optimistic that new public support will boost sales in the coming years, following slow growth in 2019. Sector association Bundesverband Wärmepumpe (BWP) said 86,300 heat pumps were installed in the country last year, an increase of two percent compared to the year before, taking the total number to 966,000. "The market is growing slowly but steadily and the industry is confident," said BWP head Paul Waning. "We expect the growth curve to become steeper in the early 2020s due to attractive support conditions."

Since the start of the year, the government supports the installation of climate-friendly heating systems with an investment grant of up to 35 percent in new constructions and during modernisations. If they replace a heating system fired by oil, the grant can even climb to 45 percent.

Heating has taken a back seat to the Energiewende's poster child, the power sector. But the sector has significant potential to curb emissions and is essential for Germany to reach its target of climate neutrality by 2050. Key to the transition is phasing out fossil-fuelled heating in nearly 22 million buildings. Electric heat pumps will be an increasingly climate-friendly form of heating in German buildings if the country's share of renewables in power consumption increases as targeted. In a study from 2017, think tank Agora Energiewende* recommended the installation of five to six million heat pumps by 2030. At present, almost 65 percent of Germany's 20.7 million heating systems are fuelled by gas and about a third are oil-fired. Only about four and five percent are, respectively, biomass boilers and heat pumps. Renewables covered just above 14 percent of all heating in 2018, overwhelmingly supplied by biomass.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

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