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Solar Package I comes into
Solar Package I comes into

... for energy and housing?

The future remains uncertain. That much is certain. Apart from that, however, there are also many innovations and laws to come in the new year. These changes in the areas of energy and housing will beimportant, as the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Advice Center and Stiftung Warentest, among others, inform us.

CO2 price increases

The CO2 price introduced by the German government at the beginning of 2021 will gradually increase from 30 to 45 euros per tonne and affects fossil fuels for the heating and transport sectors, such as gas, heating oil and petrol. The use of climate-friendly alternatives and energy saving is to be further stimulated by the rising CO2 price, for example through the use of electric cars, the use of heat pumps for heating or the insulation of the building envelope.

Companies usually pass on the higher CO2 costs to consumers. Heating oil, natural gas or gasoline become correspondingly more expensive.

Heating oil

Heating oil will become 4.8 cents/liter more expensive, so a tankful of 2000 liters will cost an additional 96 euros compared to 2023. Overall, the CO2 price will rise to 14.29 cents/liter, which is around 285 euros more expensive for an annual consumption of 2000 liters than if there were no CO2 tax at all.


Due to the higher CO2 price, the cost of natural gas will rise by 0.36 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 1.08 cents per kWh. A family with a consumption of 20,000 kWh per year will then pay around 216 euros in CO2 costs per year, which is almost 75 euros more compared to 2023. On the other hand, the price brake on gas will be removed on 1 January, which means that a family with a gas consumption of 20,000 kWh will have additional costs of 107 euros, as VAT will also increase again to 19 percent.


The price of petrol will rise by 4.2 cents per liter (gross), bringing the total CO2 surcharge for petrol to around 12.8 cents per liter.


Diesel will cost 4.8 cents per liter more than last year, with a total of around 14.3 cents per liter added to the CO2 price.


5.5 billion euros from the economic stabilization fund should cushion the increase in grid usage fees in 2024. On this basis, the transmission system operators (TSOs) have calculated the level of the nationwide transmission grid fees for the coming year - 3.19 cents per kWh. Due to the elimination of the subsidy, the TSOs expect 6.68 cents per kWh for the coming year - i.e. more than twice as much.

As a result, the distribution system operators will also have to recalculate the grid fees for the coming year. Including the subsidy, the grid fees for consumers in 2024 should increase by an average of eleven percent or €46 net (assuming a consumption of 5,000 kWh).

A sample household of four with an electricity consumption of 5000 kWh would then have additional costs of 56 euros. In total, the grid fees for electricity would increase by over 100 euros net for a family in 2024. Added to this is the value added tax. That makes a gross total of around 119 euros.

Energy price brakes for gas, district heating and electricity no longer apply

The good news is that electricity and gas prices have fallen again since last winter. Also thanks to the corresponding price brakes. The bad news is that the German government is ending the price brakes at the end of the year.

With the price brakes, the state has been officially helping its citizens since March 2023 to cope with the exorbitant energy costs at the time. They applied retroactively for January and February. The energy price brakes cap 80 percent of the previous year's consumption at the energy price - 12 cents for gas and 40 cents for electricity, both per kilowatt hour. Consumption above this level is billed at the energy price of the current gas or electricity tariff.

In an analysis, the comparison portal Verivox comes to the conclusion that the end of the price brakes will only have a minor price effect for most households. This also applies to the expensive basic supply. The bottom line here is that annual electricity costs will rise by EUR 5 (0.3 percent) and gas costs by EUR 82 (2.8 percent). This is because the prices for new customers are far below this price threshold. A kilowatt hour of electricity on the cheapest available tariff with recommendable conditions currently costs an average of 28.8 cents, while gas costs around 8.44 cents per kilowatt hour. Depending on consumption, households can therefore save several hundred euros a year by switching from the local basic supply. It is possible to switch from the basic supply at any time with 14 days' notice, and the new energy supplier will take care of deregistration with the previous supplier.

More green roofs and façades

As a result of the greening obligation, the following applies from 1 January: anyone who builds a new house or remodels a house should in future also green the roof or façade if no suitable undeveloped area is available. This means that anyone who can prove that they do not have the possibility of greening undeveloped areas on their property should alternatively carry out greening measures on the building. If this is not feasible or reasonable due to the construction or economic viability, the obligation does not apply.

Building Energy Act comes into force

The Building Energy Act (GEG) comes into force on January 1. The new law sets out energy requirements for heating systems and stipulates that at least 65% of the heat generated by new heating systems must come from renewable energies. Proof of the 65 percent is provided by heating experts or by installing certain heating systems that the GEG describes as permissible.

In addition, existing oil and gas heating systems may only be operated until the end of 2044. The GEG permits electricity from photovoltaics, heat from biogas, bio-oil, wood pellets and solar thermal energy as renewable energies. It also includes environmental heat, which heat pumps use for heating (from air, earth or water), or so-called green hydrogen, which is produced from water using renewable energies. Domestic heating systems that the GEG defines as permissible new heating systems include electric heat pumps, direct electricity heating in particularly efficient buildings, solar thermal energy, biomass heating, heating with hydrogen or heat pump hybrid heating systems that also use gas, biomass or liquid fuels. These requirements will apply to most new buildings from January 1, 2024.

If a municipality has drawn up a municipal heating plan and this identifies areas for the expansion of climate-friendly heating networks or for planned hydrogen networks, new heating systems in these areas must also meet the requirements of the GEG in existing buildings. For all other locations, the GEG requirements for new heating systems must be met by mid-2026 at the latest in large cities and by mid-2028 in all municipalities.

Solar package I comes into force

The Solar Package I adopted by the German government brings some simplifications for operators of private solar systems. The regulations are to come into force on January 1. A simplified grid connection procedure will then apply to photovoltaic systems (PV systems) with an output of up to 30 kilowatts (kWp); previously, this only applied to systems with an output of up to 10.8 kWp. Registration will be less complicated for plug-in solar devices. The devices no longer have to be registered with the grid operator and the procedure for entry in the market master data register will be streamlined.

In addition, the devices may be put into operation immediately after purchase, i.e. before the electricity meter has been replaced. Until then, an old electricity meter may also turn backwards. There are also plans to adjust the legal device power limit to 800 watts at the inverter output. However, changes to the relevant electrotechnical standard are still pending before this can be implemented in practice.

Another component of Solar Package I is the introduction of the so-called communal building supply. This legal requirement is intended to create a less bureaucratic option for the production and use of PV electricity within a building. This is expected to create a practicable alternative to tenant electricity. Tenants should be able to use electricity from a PV system on the roof very easily.

There will be a change in the remuneration rates for the commissioning of new photovoltaic systems from February 1, 2024. This requirement was already laid down in last year's revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). On February 1, there will be an initial small reduction in feed-in tariffs of one percent. Further reductions of one percent will then be made every six months.

The product standard for plug-in solar devices is expected to be finalized in summer 2024. For the first time, there will be a binding standard for this device class. The advantages are precisely defined technical requirements, for example for plug designs or the permitted inverter output. The first products complying with the new product standard are expected to be launched on the market a few months after the standard is finalized. The advantage for consumers is that devices with the new standard label will have to undergo extensive tests and measurements. Users can then rest assured that the appliances have been comprehensively and independently tested.

VAT for gas and heating rises again to 19 percent

VAT on gas and district heating will return to the regular rate of 19% from March 2024. The reduction in VAT was a relief measure by the German government as part of the energy crisis. A reduced VAT rate of seven percent will apply until February 29.

No more environmental bonus for e-cars

Consumer interest in electromobility continues unabated. Government incentives such as the environmental bonus introduced in mid-2016 can help with the purchase decision. However, the funding programs for the expansion of e-mobility receive their money from the German government's Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF). However, following the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, the federal government has stopped state subsidies for the purchase of e-cars. However, subsidies that have already been promised are not affected by the stop and are still being paid out.

Originally, buyers of battery-powered cars and vehicles with fuel cell drives with a net list price of up to 45,000 euros were to receive a state subsidy of 3,000 euros in 2024. Vehicles with a higher net price should no longer receive a subsidy anyway. Since September 1, 2023, the subsidy for e-cars has also been limited to private individuals; commercial vehicles are no longer eligible.

No more compulsory fee for cable TV

Some tenants who have taken the trouble to check their utility bills may have already stumbled across the fact that their landlord is allowed to charge them a flat-rate fee for a broadband cable connection - even if it is unused. But this will soon come to an end, as the so-called ancillary cost privilege will finally be abolished in July 2024. This means that landlords will no longer be allowed to bill their tenants for cable TV fees as ancillary costs.

The corresponding law has actually been in force since the end of 2021 for new tenancy agreements. For existing contracts, however, there is still a transitional period until July 1, 2024, after which all tenants will be free to choose their TV reception. So if the tenant does not want to watch cable TV in future and instead wants to watch ntv via the internet, satellite or aerial, the landlord will be stuck with the costs for the cable connection in future.

In the past, homeowners and property managers have often concluded so-called collective contracts with cable network operators. Billing takes place via a so-called collective collection. In this way, individual tenants or individual apartment owners pay the costs for the cable connection to the property management company via the service charge bill. This then forwards the money to the cable network operators. Incidentally, this regulation not only applies to television reception, but can also be applied to internet and telephone connections. If you want to know exactly, you can find the relevant legal regulation in Section 2 No. 15 of the Operating Costs Ordinance.

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