In the media

Lion Hirth: Subsidising solar-powered, home EV charging stations makes little sense

Commenting across the German media landscape, the Professor of Energy Policy criticises federal programme.

In an interview with WirtschaftsWoche from 27 September, and in subsequent appearances on ARD’s Tagesthemen and other national and international media outlets, Professor of Energy Policy Lion Hirth strongly criticises a new subsidy programme of the German investment bank KfW and the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The programme subsidises the purchase and installation of charging stations for electric cars in combination with photovoltaic and solar power storage systems in private homes. Within just a day, the 300 million euros in funds for 2023 for the programme were fully allocated and the programme was stopped. According to Hirth, the programme promotes personal electricity stockpiling which, he argues, makes little economic sense.

Hirth explains that generating your own solar energy at home, storing it in batteries and using it to charge your electric car is “very expensive” and “completely unnecessary”, given the integrated European electricity system. All energy producers feed their electricity into the grid that is accessible to all consumers, a solution that has worked for decades.

Furthermore, Hirth believes this programme lacks ambition and favours higher-income households, since only those with a house of their own can apply. The energy economist clarifies that the investment in solar panels, wind turbines, electricity grids and heat pumps, and the renovation of buildings contribute to a “cost-effective, climate-friendly and efficient” energy supply and should therefore be supported.

Hirth’s comments on the subsidy programme received widespread national and international media coverage, including ARD Tagesthemen (3:56), Focus, FAZ and Reuters.

Read the full interview (in German).


More about our expert