Study: PV essential for heat pumps as a gas heating replacement

A forced switch from gas heating to heat pumps would not only reduce Germany’s dependency on Russian natural gas supplies, but would also save costs for the economy as a whole, depending on the development of gas prices. This would require additional power generation capacities from renewable energies, especially PV, as well as additional gas and battery storage power plants to cover peak loads. This is the central result of the study »Heat pumps instead of natural gas heating: Supporting the switch by expanding solar energy,« compiled by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).
The team of authors calculated various models, assuming in an »Upper Target« scenario an increase in the number of heat pump systems from around 1.4, million today to 7.5 million in 2030. This would require the use of heat pumps not only in modern, energy-efficient single- and two-family homes, but increasingly also in less energy-efficient residential buildings, including apartment buildings.
Accordingly, at a natural gas price of €30 ($32) per megawatt hour (MWh) and a CO2 price of €130 per metric ton, »slightly higher overall economic costs« would still be expected, but from €60/MWh they would be significantly lower than in the reference scenario, which assumes only a very slight increase in heat pumps. Because gas prices have recently been significantly higher and are expected to remain so, the increased use of heat pumps would therefore be advisable not only for climate protection reasons, but also from a purely financial perspective. According to the calculations, this would require an additional PV capacity of 18 gigawatts, although the reference scenario assumes a lower solar power capacity than targeted by the German government.

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