Toshiba Corporation announced on December 4th that the company will enter the solar power business in Germany with a new on-site consumption model for apartment buildings. It will initiate the business in March next year after installing systems in apartment buildings in Villingen-Schwenningen and Ostfildern, in Baden-Wuerttemberg, operated by GAGFAH, Germany’s largest real-estate company.
Although Germany introduced a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy in 2000, and while the adoption of photovoltaic (PV) power has increased, consumers have recently seen higher electricity bills every year, along with a lower feed in price for surplus solar power. Germany is seeking solutions to this by deregulating its energy market, separating power generation and transmission, and independent power providers can now participate and deliver electricity. Toshiba is responding with a new on-site consumption model that will operate independently of the feed-in tariff system, and that is expected to reduce burden on the regional gird and the environment.
The system will be funded and owned by a group of pension funds. The German branch of UK-based Toshiba International Europe (TIL) will install Toshiba’s PV systems in family apartments owned by GAGFAH, and operate and manage them. TIL will purchase the generated power from the pension funds and sell it the apartment buildings’ residents at a lower rate than that charged by electric utilities. When the PV system is not operational, on cloudy days and at night, TIL will purchase electricity in the wholesale market and sell it to residents at the same rate as electricity from the solar power system.
Toshiba will initially install 3MW solar power systems serving 750 apartments and then increase it to more than 100MW in Germany by 2016. Going forward, it will also install stationary batteries and integrate a micro energy management system, μEMS, to realize an integrated solution. Toshiba’s goal is to develop a self-sufficient model for on-site consumption that delivers solar-power electricity day and night, and apply it to a service business that supports energy management on a real-time basis. In developing its smart-grid related business at the global level, Toshiba will promote the integration and use of dispersed power sources that match local needs and conditions.