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German groups warn of “alarming” slump in heat pump sales

GERMANY: As Germany celebrates record heat pump sales in 2023, the future of the market is uncertain with sales declining since last June and an “alarming” slump in December. 

According to the latest statistics from the German heating association, BDH, and heat pump association, BWP, there were 356,000 heat pumps sold in Germany in 2023 – a growth of more than 50% for the second year in a row.

Despite the record year, the industry associations warn that the positive momentum is unlikely to continue. There are calls for politicians to make improvements to electricity prices in order to consistently continue the necessary heat pump ramp-up.

Heat pumps sales are reported to have “skyrocketed” in the first half of 2023 – with increases of around 100% compared to 2022 – mainly on the back of high gas prices. 

German air-source and ground-source heat pump sales since 2017

The recent slump is blamed on uncertainty among consumers caused by the discussion about Germany’s Building Energy Act and funding and disparities in the taxes on electricity compared to gas.

“People obviously want to make the switch, provided the conditions are right. But the very destructive and misleading debate about the Building Energy Act and the long wait for the new funding framework have noticeably paralysed the market, especially in the last quarter,” commented Claus Fest, CEO of the BWP.

“The trend in sales has been declining since June 2023. The most recent slump in December 2023 is particularly alarming – compared to the previous year, we recorded a decline in sales of over 40% in December,” warned BWP managing director Dr Martin Sabel. 

“Unfortunately, this is exactly what we have been warning about since the summer based on the declining number of funding applications. If the general conditions do not improve and politicians do not actively intervene, we expect sales to remain the same or even decline in 2024.”

The price of electricity in relation to gas is also criticised. “Only when the ratio of gas to electricity prices is one to two and a half or less does switching to a heat pump become particularly attractive for many,” Sabel explained. 

He said it was “incomprehensible” that heat pump electricity still has twice the taxes and levies as natural gas in Germany. 

Related stories:

Heat pump sales declining in Euro/Nordic countries14 December 2023
BELGIUM: Despite a strong start, heat pumps sales have shrunk in some European and Nordic countries this year, according to new data from the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA). Read more…

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