Members’ Corner – Electrical contractors and climate technologies – significant contribution to the energy transition

Whether it’s photovoltaic systems with storage, charging infrastructure for electric mobility or heat pumps, electrical contractors in Germany, represented by EuropeOn member ZVEH, the Central Association of German Electrical and Information Technology Trades, are making an important contribution to the energy transition. In 2022, for example, they were involved in the installation of almost 60,000 heat pumps and more than 220,000 PV systems and installed around 600,000 charging points. This came out of the evaluation from their 2023 Spring Business Survey.

Frankfurt am Main, 25.04.2023 – The energy transition is progressing, and the transformation to an All Electric Society is in full swing. The approximately 50,000 electrical contracting businesses in Germany with their almost 530,000 employees are actively contributing to this. They are supporting the switch to renewable energy primarily by installing CO2-neutral technologies, above all photovoltaics, charging infrastructure for electromobility and heat pumps. In all three technologies, demand rose rapidly in 2022 in the wake of the energy crisis.

Electrical contractors responsible for lion’s share of PV installations

Indeed, electrical contractors were involved in the installations of over 220,000 photovoltaic (PV) systems in this country in 2022. This corresponds to a share of 59 percent of the 375,000 installed PV systems reported in Germany in 2022 by the BSW, Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft e.V. (German Solar Industry Association). Of the 7.3 gigawatts of PV capacity installed in 2022 according to BSW Solar, 3.87 gigawatts (GW), or more than half of the installed PV capacity, comes from systems which involved electrical contractors. Thanks to these new PV systems, approximately 2 to 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases could be saved.

The majority of the PV systems installed by electrical contractors are rooftop systems (216,000) and, to a lesser extent, ground-mounted systems (500) or other systems (3,500). For rooftop installations, electrical contractors accounted for about 60 percent of the installed capacity. For ground-mounted systems, the figure was 30 percent. The increasing involvement in the PV sector is also reflected in the rising share of PV in turnover For example, PV rose from 4.5 to 5.8 percent between fall 2022 and spring 2023. In spring 2021, it was still at 2.2 percent. Around 50 percent of member companies are already active in this market – and the trend is rising sharply.

Electrical contractors also recorded a significant increase in demand in the area of storage systems, which experienced a real boom in 2022 because of the increase in PV. Of the 214,000 home storage units installed in 2022 according to the German Federal Network Agency, up to 180,000 are attributable to electrical contractors, according to ZVEH calculations.

510,000 charging stations with 600,000 charging points in 2022 alone.

The installation of charging infrastructure for electromobility has been an important business area for electrical contractors for years. 85 percent of companies are already active in this area. In 2022, electrical contractors again supported the rollout of e-mobility by installing around 510,000 charging stations with 600,000 charging points. The installed charging infrastructure included around 570,000 normal charging points (up to and including 22 kW) and 30,000 fast charging stations (greater than 22 kW). Among the normal charging points, 405,000 were in residential buildings, 137,000 in private non-residential buildings (e.g. company / government parking lots), 20,000 in semi-public parking areas (e.g. supermarkets or parking garages), and 8,000 in public parking areas (e.g. on municipal property or highway rest areas). The installation of charging infrastructure for e-mobility now accounts for 5 percent of electrical contractors’ turnover (as of spring 2023).

Increasing demand in the heat pump sector

Electrical contractors were also in high demand for heat pump installations. In 2022, for example, electrical contractors were involved in the installation of around 60,000 water-based heat pump installations – 46,000 air-to-water, 10,000 brine-to-water and 4,000 water-to-water heat pumps – according to calculations by ZVEH. Participation is primarily focused on the electrical aspects of heat pump installations. Member companies estimate that 20 percent of their services are with water-to-water heat pumps. For air-to-water heat pumps, the figure is approximately 30 percent. In addition, electrical contractors installed a substantial number of air-to-air heat pumps last year. The percentage of turnover generated by the installation of heat pumps and ventilation systems among electrical contractors currently stands at 1.8 percent and is expected to increase further with the further increase in heat pump deployment.

“The figures from our Spring Business Survey show the important contribution of electrical contractors to the energy transition: they are responsible for the lion’s share of electromobility installations, and the expansion of solar energy is also a success because of the active involvement of electrical contractors,” says ZVEH Managing Director Alexander Neuhäuser: “The cooperative agreements concluded with the roofing and plumbing, heating and air-conditioning trades to expand cross-trade work will further increase the pace of expansion. “

About ZVEH: The Central Association of German Electrical and Information Technology Trades (ZVEH) represents the interests of 48,614 companies active in electrical engineering, information technology and electrical engineering. With 527,354 employees, including 45,967 apprentices, the companies generate annual turnover of 81.4 billion euros. ZVEH, as the federal guild association, is made up of twelve state associations with 313 guilds.