Toshiba to install and operate PV systems on German apartment buildings

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Toshiba Corporation on Wednesday announced that it was entering Germany’s solar power market with a new on-site consumption model for apartment buildings.

The Japanese electronics giant will launch the business in March after installing systems in apartment buildings operated by GAGFAH, Germany’s largest real-estate company, in the cities of Villingen-Schwenningen and Ostfildern, both located in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Although Germany introduced a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy in 2000, and while the adoption of photovoltaic power has increased, consumers have recently seen higher electricity bills every year, along with a lower feed-in price for surplus solar power.

The company noted that Germany was seeking solutions to this by deregulating its energy market and separating power generation and transmission. In addition, independent power providers in the country can now participate and deliver electricity.

Toshiba said it was responding with a new on-site consumption model that will operate independently of the feed-in tariff system and which is expected to reduce the 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 U.K.-based Toshiba International Europe will install Toshiba’s PV systems in family apartments owned by GAGFAH and operate and manage them.

Toshiba will purchase the generated power from the pension funds and sell it to 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, Toshiba 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 3 MW solar power systems serving 750 apartments and then increase it to more than 100 MW in Germany by 2016.

The company also plans to install stationary batteries and integrate a micro energy management system, ?EMS, as part of the integrated system.

Toshiba said its goal was “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," the group said.