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To Help Grid, Home Photovoltaic Systems Being Looked At By A German Project

To Help Grid, Home Photovoltaic Systems Being Looked At By A German Project
In order to help iron out the imbalances that are present on Germany's power network, a pilot project that will tap home photovoltaic (PV) systems has bene undertaken and launched by grid operator Tennet and solar battery maker Sonnen GmbH.
By the end of the month of May, 6,000 household in Germany with PV producers and equipped with storage batteries is aimed to be signed up for the pilot project by TenneT and Sonnen's e-Services subsidiary.
And working as an inexpensive transaction-processing system for tracking and recording encrypted information, the project will be supported by blockchain technology from IBM.
This pilot project has the potential to make small energy "prosumers" independent of centralized power providers by linking them up together.
"A home storage unit for solar power on its own is less valuable than one that can be used collectively," said Philipp Schroeder, director of sales and marketing at Bavaria-based Sonnen.
"We will be able to create a big virtual power line. That is revolutionary."
The initial aim in terms of the amount of power that the two partners are looking at is 24 megawatts (MW) which is aimed to be pooled from the pilot project and would be available with TenneT for making use of it as a buffer power supply for the highly variable wind power.
While surplus wind power is often dealt with by curbing turbine output or throwing output away, "balancing" power is so far handled mainly by traditional power plants.
"We want to find out how we can reduce the waste of wind power by storing it in Sonnen batteries that we can access in the North while releasing power from solar energy stored at Sonnen batteries in southern Germany," said Urban Keussen, board chairman of the board at TenneT's German unit.
At present, regardless of the demand in the grid, Germany currently subsidizes renewable power producers with billions of euros a year.
Since the northern region of the country houses most of Germany's wind turbines whose output cannot reach industrial users in the south, therefore a lot of power is wasted and the network development lags far behind the required degree. It will be years before new transport lines, funded via grid fees charged to consumers, are built.
Therefore, in the meantime, he saw big potential for solar pv "communities" filling gaps, Schroeder said.
Germany has only about 50,000 home storage units while there are more than 15 million detached houses and 1.7 million photovoltaic units in all.

Schroeder said that capacity of 6 gigawatts of power, which is equivalent to six nuclear plants, could be created should 10 percent of all the households use solar plus storage within the next 10 years.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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