The CDU/CSU, with a 33% share of the vote, needs coalition partners to govern with a majority. Merkel expects to have a new government up and running "by Christmas".
Social Democrat party leader Martin Schulz declared his party, with 20.5% of the vote, would probably not continue the "grand coalition" with the CDU/CSU and is set to go into opposition.
Merkel's likely partners are now the neo-liberal FDP and the Green party which won 10.7% and 8.9% respectively.
Exactly how the substantial differences of the two smaller parties on wind energy will be reconciled remains to be seen. The outcome for the industry may not become clear for up to three months.
The Green party wants 100% renewables electricity by 2030, to launch a coal and lignite phase-out and release the "brake" on renewables expansion created by caps on wind and solar imposed by the CDU/CSU and SPD coalition.
FDP wants to abolish planning privilege — that allows development in non-urban areas with some exceptions — for wind energy.
It also wants to increase the minimum distance of wind turbines to dwellings to ten-times the turbine height.
For its part, Merkel's CDU stressed it would adhere to existing energy and climate targets. But with current policies, Germany will miss its 40% CO2 reduction target by 2020, according to thinktank Agora Energiewende.
UPDATE: "The parties which shortly will lead talks about a coalition at federal level have clearly and explicitly committed to the Paris agreement. This commitment now has to be translated into concrete measures," said Hermann Albers, president of the german wind energy association, BWE.
"In light of the tendering results we do not see any reason to limit the deployment of renewable energies.
"The opportunities of the digitisation and sector-coupling have been emphasised repeatedly. Here, achievements for climate protection can be gained quickly. Through direct supply contracts with commercial and industrial consumers renewable energies can take on further responsibilities. This we are prepared to do.
"All parties should have an interest in providing a stable home market for the export-oriented German wind energy industry. Therefore, the recognised errors in the tendering system should be corrected quickly. We count on this to happen," Albers added.