Munich, 3 May 2023 – Just in time for the International Sun Day, this celestial star – wherever it shows – warms up both nature and minds in equal measure. Friends of sustainable energy and self-generated electricity might be especially happy at this time of year. Why? A gridX expert explains.
“When the hours of sunshine rise to top levels in the summer months, all types of solar rooftop systems logically produce a particularly large amount of electricity,” says Dr.-Ing. Baptiste Feron, Head of Energy Management at Europe's leading smart energy company gridX. This means that investing in a photovoltaic (PV) system pays for itself particularly quickly. Anyone who relies on a solar rooftop system for their home can considerably increase their degree of self-sufficiency, with two positive effects: on the environment and on their own wallet. “If a household uses a solar rooftop system, electricity is produced directly where it is used. Homes evolve from consumers to prosumers,” explains Feron.
In addition to greater independence from central energy supply and price volatilities, these households also save considerable CO2 emissions. The reason: the electricity they need does not have to be generated conventionally – in gas or coal-fired power plants – and then be transported to the household. In addition, there is an equally relevant saving in electricity costs: “If households produce their own electricity and use it directly themselves, be it for household appliances, charging their electric vehicle (EV) or storing it in batteries during generation peaks, monthly electricity bills can be significantly reduced,” says the gridX expert. The exact reduction amount will, of course, always be dependent on individual generation and consumption patterns, according to the expert.
No self-sufficiency from PV power without an energy management system
However, Feron states, it is precisely the use case with many different assets and devices that makes the efficient use of self-generated electricity in a home very difficult. The reason is simple, he argues: energy-consuming devices basically do not know whether self-generated solar power is available or not. In the same way, the PV system does not know whether an electric car is currently being charged with the electricity it produces – the link and communication option between the systems simply does not exist. Again, the car would be charging with grid power. Feron explains, “all the devices and assets speak a different language, that’s why they can't interact. Thus, you need an intelligent interpreter to establish, translate and coordinate communication: a home energy management system.”
Energy management systems for households are software solutions that connect various assets in the household environment, such as wallbox, heat pump, battery, and solar rooftop system, making them digitally accessible and thus controllable. This makes optimizing self-consumption possible. Moreover, excess solar power can be used to charge batteries or operate heat pumps if the home’s consumption is lower than the generation. Similarly, loads – like from an EV charging process – can be intelligently shifted so that they take place at times when the household’s PV system is generating electricity or when electricity prices are low. Feron's advice, however, is to make sure that the energy management solution is manufacturer-independent. On the one hand, not being dependent on a certain manufacturer can avoid unnecessarily long delivery times. On the other hand, Feron says, “without manufacturer independence, all assets and the EMS need to be bought from the same manufacturer. If not, you’re back to square one: the assets can't communicate and can't be connected – ergo, the EMS is basically worthless,” Feron says.
Benefiting from subsidies for solar rooftop systems
According to the expert, solar rooftop systems are currently more attractive than ever: not only has solar power production emerged as a core technology of the energy transition. Residential solar systems are also considered a highly future-proof solution for private energy supply. Plus, it can also increase the property value of a home. “And on the purchasing side of things, we see a positive turn in favor of residential solar energy in 2023, for example in Germany,” Feron explains. There, in a bid to support private initiatives in the energy transition, VAT can now be waived on the purchase of a solar rooftop system, thus significantly reducing investment costs for new purchases. Since the public urge for energy self-sufficiency has been increasing for some time, Feron advises German homeowners to consult a specialist company at an early stage to find a holistic and integrated energy solution: “We are still seeing long waits – not only for components and solar modules as a result of the global chip shortage, but also due to the lack of skilled workers, which also affects home installations.”
Continue reading about the benefits of energy management systems:
gridX is Europe's leading smart energy company based in Aachen and Munich. With its IoT platform XENON, gridX enables manufacturer-independent monitoring and management of distributed energy resources. XENON allows partners to develop and scale energy management solutions faster than ever before. By partnering with gridX, Fastned is able to install more charging points at sites without the need for costly grid extensions, and the Viessmann Group is able to offer its customers intelligent and integrated home energy management systems.