Natural Gas+Solar XXL

Berlin, Germany

German title: Erdgas+Solar XXL




The regional CSTS campaign "Erdgas+Solar XXL", jointly initiated by the GASAG (local natural gas supplier) and the Berliner Energieagentur (Berlin energy agency), is supporting the important market launching of solar thermal systems considering in particular the offers made by GASAG for the funding of the technological combination of natural gas and solar heating. Through this campaign, potential investors and operators are informed by information materials on the one hand and by different events such as "solar breakfast" on the other hand. Furthermore, the special funding and consultancy for solar systems offer purposeful help right at the beginning of a project. So called "Solaragenten" ('agents' promoting solar heating) support the housing industry in finding appropriate buildings. The Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (German Solar Industry Association) BSW is partner of the campaign.



The campaign "Erdgas+Solar XXL" was especially designed for Berlin: a city with 140,000 multi-family buildings and therefore a great potential for large solar thermal systems. Main target group is Berlin's housing industry: Except for a few good-practice examples, large solar thermal systems are on a very low level of implementation in Berlin. In the past, existing subsidy and information offers (by the government, by local authorities) were more suitable for investors of small-scale solar thermal plants – a comprehensive offer for investors in large solar thermal systems – the housing industry – was missing. This background triggered the campaign:

  • to inform potential investors about large solar thermal systems

  • to promote existing good practice examples

  • to support exchange of experience between the housing companies

  • to activate multipliers

  • to enable the implementation by sponsored feasibility studies

  • to support the investment by subsidies

"Erdgas+Solar XXL" campaigning is part of the European co-operation project SOLARGE supported by the "Intelligent Energy – Europe" programme of the European Union. The campaign has been designed based on the findings of SOLARGE and it benefits from the SOLARGE materials.




Aim of the campaign is to reach a sustainable implementation of large solar thermal systems in Berlin's housing industry.



The campaign consists of the following parts:

1. Information offer:

Solar Breakfasts
(information event for housing companies, building owners and project developers, circa 25 participants at a time)


  • What are the current determining factors for large solar systems?

  • Why implementing them now?

  • Which experiences have been made so far (practical examples)?

  • How do I achieve the switch to solar systems (step-by-step)?

  • Which proposals does "Erdgas+Solar XXL" offer for it?

2. Initial consultation for solar heating

General questions asked by housing companies (interested in solar heating) are picked up within an initial consultation and answered individually. The "Erdgas+Solar XXL Check" helps analysing the actual stock and calculates the potentials of different buildings. A suggestion how to go on will also be given.

3. Feasibility studies

A feasibility study referring to a certain building is a competent basis for a decision and gives detailed information about:

  • feasibility of the constructional realisation in the building

  • recommended system parameters

  • efficiency of the solar heating utilisation

  • available funding and practical advice

4. Solar funding

The campaign "Erdgas+Solar XXL" gives information about the conditions for grants from different programmes, supports the application, and calculates the amount of the grant. Furthermore, the GASAG provides financial support for the technological combination of natural gas and solar heating within the campaign, providing a grant of:

  • 125 €/sqm net collector surface area for flat-plate collectors

  • 150 €/sqm net collector surface area for evacuated tube collectors

The funding is applied for all plants with surface areas larger than 20 sqm. The once-only payment of the maximum grant per system is 5,000 €.

5. Campaign "Solaragenten gesucht!"
("Searching for 'agents' promoting solar systems!")

To reveal the existing potentials of Berlin’s roofs, the so called "Solaragenten" look for appropriate areas. These 'agents' are young Berlin people aged 15 and older (mainly pupils, but also apprentices and students), who use their summer break to scrutinise buildings in Berlin closely.
In order to reach the broad mass of young people, it was intended to co-operate with schools, youth organisations such as Stiftung Naturschutz Berlin (foundation dealing with environmental protection), the network of FÖJ (gap year taken to do voluntary work in the environmental sector), International Youth Community Services, and with youth and recreational facilities.


Financial resources and partners

"Erdgas+Solar XXL" is a running campaign that will be continued; the estimated costs for the first period including preparation and the campaign's implementation in 2007 account for 100,000 € (solar funding not included).

The campaign is in parts financed by co-funding from the IEE programme within the scope of the SOLARGE project.


1. Berliner Energieagentur (Berlin energy agency)

  • design, organisation and implementation of the campaign

  • technical expertise for information work and consulting offers

2. GASAG (local natural gas supply company)

  • financing of the campaign

  • solar funding

3. Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (German Solar Industry Association)

  • support of information work and communication of the campaign

4. Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung (Senate Department for Urban Development)

  • political patronage of the campaign, activation of the communal housing industry

5. Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung (Senate Department for Education, Science and Research)

  • support of the "Solar agents" campaign



Although the campaign is still running, the following interim results have been reached:

  • 3 information events with each 10–20 participants

  • 15 feasibility studies produced or in process so far

  • 4 solar thermal plants under construction

  • activation of the communal housing industry (5 exemplary buildings of each company under "solar examination")

  • 40 buildings investigated by "solar agents"

  • high level of information and attention for solar thermal on the decision makers' level in Berlin


Lessons learnt and repeatability 

It has been found out that the activation of decision makers is possible with concrete offers like feasibility studies. This offer seems to be the most working and relevant part of the campaign "Erdgas+Solar XXL" so far.

Another lesson learnt is that networking is a very relevant task, especially on the housing industry's level. It is necessary to activate a dialogue between the federations of the housing industry, the companies and the political decision makers in order to have a joint implementation of the campaign's aims.

Concerning private investors (such as private persons with e. g. one multi-family building), information work is a helpful and necessary offer.


Contact for more information

Project Website

Organisation / Agency

Berliner Energieagentur GmbH
Main contact: Susanne Berger
Französische Str. 23, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Tel: +49 30 293330-35
Fax: +49 30 293330-93
E-mail: berger(at)

Printed reports or other literature available

Promotion material and guideline
cost: free, downloadable from websites



This page as PDF-file

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"Natural Gas+Solar XXL" – the campaign concept (English)

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"Erdgas+Solar XXL" – the campaign concept (German)

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Flyer "Erdgas+Solar XXL" (German only)

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Leitfaden (Guideline) "Erdgas+Solar XXL" (German only)

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Check list "Erdgas+Solar XXL" (German only)

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