Renewable heating law in Germany: solar - an option among others

With the Renewable Heating Law (EEWärmeG) the German government aims at increasing the share of renewable energy in the heating demand from 6 to 14 % until 2020. From 1 January, 2009 on owners and operators of private, commercial and public buildings will have to provide a minimum share of their energy demand by renewable energy. They can choose between solar thermal energy, biomass, geothermic and environmental energy.

When using solar thermal energy, at least 15 % of the total heating demand must come from solar energy. Heating demand includes the energy used for domestic water heating, space heating and cooling. There is no obligation in this law to use renewable energy in existing buildings or to include such installations when buildings are renovated.

To push the use of renewable energy for heating the German government will provide up to € 500 million in its market stimulation programme from 2009 on.

This article was written by Ina Röpcke, a German journalist and solar thermal expert.








Renewable Heating Law

In German: Erneuerbare-Energien-Wärme-Gesetz (EEWärmeG) 




Latest in the year 2020 14 % of the energy used for heating in Germany shall be generated from renewable energy (solar energy, biomass, geothermic and environmental heat).


Date when law passed


June 2008

Date when law will come into effect


1 January, 2009


Target group

newly-built residential, commercial and public buildings 



Special requirements

  • When using solar thermal energy, at least 15% of the total heating demand must come from solar energy. In the case of detached and semi-detached houses a collector area of 4 % of the usable floor area is sufficient. In case of houses with three apartments a collector area of 3 % is enough. 


  • When using biogas, at least 30 % must come from the biogas plant.  


  • When using solid biomass (e.g. wood), geothermic or environmental heat, at least 50 % of the energy must come from these installations.




Instead of using solar thermal energy, biomass, geothermic or environmental heat owners of buildings may: 


  • increase the energetic quality of the building by 15 % based on the German energy saving directive EnergieEinsparVerordnung (EnEV)
  • use waste heat or heat from cogeneration to at least 50 %
  • use local or district heating, however, only if the major part of the heat comes from renewable energy, waste heat or cogeneration

Exemptions from the obligatory use of renewable energy or the possibilities mentioned above are possible if 


  • obligations subject to public law collide with this law, e.g. in case of protection of historical monuments

  • the person can prove that the use of renewable energy is technically impossible or will have unacceptable consequences


Last review of this tabloid 



27 August, 2008

Further information


  1. Brochure “Heat from renewable energies – sustainable and safe”


  2. Overview Renewable Heating Law (in German language):





  1. Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle: 


  2. KfW Bankengruppe:



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