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Press Release from 2021-09-07 / Group

KfW Energy Transition Barometer: Nine in ten German households believe energy transition is important

  • In spite of coronavirus crisis, they support it and are ready to act
  • 34% of households use or plan to use energy transition technologies within the next 12 months
  • Electric car uptake is set to grow fastest

The coronavirus pandemic has caused great uncertainty and, often, financial loss for German households. Extreme weather events in the summer of 2021 also illustrated what enormous challenges action on climate change and climate change management represent for the country. Not least, more ambitious EU climate targets are increasing the pressure to act, forcing Germany to reduce its emissions much faster than previously planned. The current KfW Energy Transition Barometer shows that in this fraught area, German households remain extremely supportive of the energy transition. The representative household survey carried out in December 2020 and January 2021 revealed that 92% of them support the energy transition. That is actually a higher rate than the year before – after almost a year of coronavirus crisis.

Support is high across the entire population, spanning across all age groups, income classes, diverse regions and types of communities as well as educational backgrounds of surveyed household members. In no relevant sub-group does support fall below 80%. The willingness to accept personal sacrifices in order to advance the energy transition has also remained largely steady in the pandemic. On a scale of zero to ten, the mean value of responses was 6.1, just slightly lower than in the previous year (6.5). However, that willingness drops among respondents whom the crisis has hit harder economically (mean value 5.9 among affected vs. 6.2 among unaffected households).

The dissemination of energy transition technologies has continued to increase among the population. A good one in four households (27%) responded that they already use at least one of the technologies surveyed, such as photovoltaic solar systems, solar thermal energy, battery storage, heat pumps, combined heat and power, wood pellet heating and an electric car. That makes some 11 million households in Germany energy transition stakeholders – nearly 4 percentage points or around 1.5 million more than in the previous year. A further 7% or close to 3 million households (+2.8 percentage points on the previous year) plan to acquire such technology in the coming twelve months. The most widespread technology in Germany continues to be solar thermal power, and it is used by one in ten households. Heat pumps and photovoltaic solar systems rank second and third (8.7% and 8.5% of households). The sharpest rise can be observed in electric cars, which can now be found in 3.4% of households (+1.3 percentage points). A look into the future shows the further potential of electric mobility in Germany. Around 5% of households currently plan to buy an electric car in the next twelve months, and another 8% can imagine driving an electric car in the next 2 to 3 years. A further approx. 24% can at least imagine this in the next 4 to 10 years. Counting the current users and those with concrete plans, the group that is at least considering an electric car in the next ten years represents almost half of German households (43%).

“Germany is making progress in energy transition technologies. The number of electric cars has tripled in the past two years alone, and almost half of all households can imagine driving an electric car in the next ten years. The systematic expansion of charging infrastructure is likely to accelerate this trend. And photovoltaic solar systems, solar thermal energy and heat pumps will probably top the 10% mark already in the near future”, said Dr Fritzi Köhler-Geib, Chief Economist of KfW. “But these encouraging figures mask the fact that this trend is being driven by what is still a relatively small group. Climate-friendly technologies continue to be used primarily by higher income households. But the target of climate neutrality requires a socially inclusive energy transition. A particular challenge is how to get rental households and lower-income households on board. This will require enabling conditions and incentives that enable further broad sections of the population to invest in climate-neutral technologies. Along with a rising CO2 price, supportive instruments are urgently needed. The transition to climate neutrality can succeed only if all groups of society are on board”, added Köhler-Geib.

The current analysis can be retrieved at www.kfw.de/energiewendebarometer

The KfW Energy Transition Barometer:

  • Representative survey on energy transition among some 4,000 households in Germany
  • It provides insight on
    • the attitude of households towards the issue of energy transition
    • energy transition technologies (solar energy systems, battery storage, e-mobility) being used by households
    • growth in new investments (planned purchases of energy transition technologies)
    • motivation to use and obstacles to purchasing energy transition technologies
    • how the survey was conducted by the infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences
  • The study is published annually
  • It provides a good general overview of households’ participation in the energy transition in Germany


Portrait Christine Volk


Christine Volk


+49 69 74 31 38 67


+49 69 74 31 32 66