Energy efficiency program is starting the second time


In 2019, the federal program for increasing energy efficiency in agriculture and horticulture started a new funding period. A total of 75 million euros will be made available to promote investment in energy efficiency, covering the next 2 1/2 years. By specialist editor Katrin Klawitter.

Foto: Katrin Klawitter

Funding for small and medium-sized agricultural and horticultural businesses

The federal program promotes investments and knowledge transfer for more energy efficiency in small and medium-sized agricultural companies and nurseries in addition to individual advice. The first funding period started on January 1st, 2016 and lasted until December 31st, 2018. A total of 73 million euros were available for the program. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture (BMEL) intends to continue the federal program from 2019 until 2021 with funding of 75 million euros.

Funding applications until March 1st, 2021

The new funding guideline entered into force on January 1st, 2019. The funding program is designed for a time span of 2 ½ years and ends on June 30th, 2021. Funding applications can be filed until March 1st, 2021.

The Federal Office for Agriculture and Nutrition (BLE) is commissioned to handle the funding measure. Applications are open to businesses that are involved in primary agricultural production.

Investments in assets which exclusively serve the production of agricultural primary products are eligible under the federal program. Investments must lay the foundation for increasing energy efficiency significantly. Efficiency criteria have been determined for the individual measures, more specifically a minimum energy saving is specified.

Modernization to improve energy efficiency

Within a systemic optimization, the aforementioned individual measures and further energy-efficient components are funded on the basis of a company-specific energy saving concept. The investments in modernization of technical systems include facilities and plant components which contribute to improving energy efficiency.

Also, insulation measures or the use of waste heat (such as BHKW) can be promoted. The measure is only eligible if energy savings of at least 25% over the current state of the existing facility are proven. This must be examined and evaluated in an energy saving concept.

The subsidy for measures to modernize amounts to 20% of the investment, if an energy saving of at least 25% is achieved compared to the actual state of the partial or total system included in the optimization. The subsidy amounts to 30% of the investment if an energy saving of at least 30% is achieved compared to the current state. The minimum investment must exceed €7.000.

Construction of low-energy buildings for arable production

For investments in new construction in low-energy buildings like greenhouses, which exclusively serve for the production of primary vegetable products, the achievable energy saving compared to today’s standard (reference value) must be determined by an expert opinion.

The measure is only eligible if energy savings of at least 40% compared to the reference are proven. The basis for calculation, which describes the reference for greenhouses, is available on the website of the BLE.

The subsidy for new construction of low-energy buildings is:

  • 20% of the investment if energy savings of at least 40%
  • 30% of the investment if energy savings of at least 50%
  • 40% of the investment if energy savings of at least 60%

over the reference value are achieved.

Only the building area directly attributed to the production of vegetable products is funded.

New construction of energy-efficient facilities for storage/initial treatment of arable products

This is to be understood as the new construction and installation of technical facilities for storage, refrigerators and drying plants. Only technical systems or plant components that contribute to energy savings are eligible. Construction costs are only eligible for insulation measures.

Again, energy savings compared to today’s standard (reference value) must be determined and proven by an energy saving concept. The measure is only eligible if energy savings of at least 40% compared to the reference are achieved. Subsidies for energy-efficient facilities are scaled just like the low-energy buildings (see above).

Energy consulting can also be funded

Energy consulting, the generation of the energy saving concept and support during the implementation of the measure can also be funded. Funding is only possible if consulting and support during the measure is provided by an authorized specialist with an approved application from the BLE.

The funding amounts to:

  • 80% of the eligible net consultancy costs
  • max €6.000 with energy costs of more than €7.500 per year
  • max €3.500 with energy costs below €7.500 per year

Consultations relating to residential buildings or buildings that do not serve processing and marketing of agricultural products are not eligible.

Funding is limited to a maximum of €500.000

The eligible investment volume for all the above-mentioned measures with exception of energy consulting must be at least €3.000. The maximum amount of funding amounts to a maximum of €500.000 for the beneficiary. The measures must be implemented in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Investments may also be funded from other support programs, with the exception of the Agricultural Investment Promotion Program (AFP) and the joint task “Improving Agricultural Structure and Coastal Protection (GAK)”. The maximum amount may not exceed 40% of the eligible investment volume.

The subsidized measure must be installed and ready for operation within 9 months of the notification of the allocation notice or confirmation of receipt by the BLE.

Applications must be submitted in writing to the BLE. Forms for funding applications, leaflets and notes can be found at