With fuel cell heating appliances included in the Funding of the German program for the support of energy efficiency (APEE) that took off on  the beginning of August 2016 and will last til 2018, with  165 M€ anually,  the market introduction of FC power and heat supply of private home, is starting to take shape. The program provides funding for fuel cell systems between 0.25 and 5 kW in homes if the fuel cell is integrated into the heat and power supply of the building. Funding is possible for new buildings and energy oriented renovation with a minimum  of 5,700 € plus an amount depending on power of 450 € per 100 W of electrical power. Funding is possible on top of other similar programs, including measures to optimise the heating system as a whole (including radiators and pipes). This serves to promote a changeover to more efficient gas-based heating systems or heating systems based on renewables. Applications for support for the ventilation and heating package for persons wishing to install a heating system based on fossil fuels can be made using the long-established application procedure part of the KfW Energy-Efficient Modernisation programme, either in the form of a grant or a loan. Grants for the heating or ventilation package, for example, will be raised from 10% to 15% of the investment costs.

Applications for support for the heating package for persons wishing to install heating systems based on renewables can be made using the time-tested application procedure part of the market incentive programme to promote measures to use renewables in the heating market. Those applying for the heating package are also eligible to apply for a further 20% of the level of the funding amount that has previously been granted for heating-system replacements under the market incentive programme, and for a further 600€ for heating system optimisation.

Further information on specific terms that apply can be found on the website of The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).

As a follow up to its study  on the commercilaisation of Statioanry fuel cells of 2015, the FCH JU is currently sponsoring a study into business models for FC stationary applications- market introduction of which first findings demonstrate a need to focus also on customer expectations. More organisations and individuals are needed to carry the right messaging and push the right buttons on the right doors to engage potential customers and stakeholders  at a time where big statements and mega undertakings are becoming daily news. Business (models) as usual seem out of the question but straight forward talk on mega facts to mega decision makers might be an approach that has not been part of FCH lobby DNA yet. Transparent expectation management will need to accompany a more attractive and exciting visibility and efforts to identify opportunities with and next to other technology solutions.

(Photo courtesy: Tesla)