A German battery maker has launched a solar energy sharing scheme that makes households equipped with photovoltaic panels and battery storage systems less dependent on major utilities by enabling them to trading their electricity.
The sonnenCommunity, as the battery maker Sonnerbatterie has dubbed the scheme, aims to improve distribution of renewable energy and cut electricity costs for participants.
For €3,599, each sonnenCommunity member can purchase an intelligent battery system for storing surplus energy generated by their household's solar panels. The energy is than offered online for other members to purchase.
“With the sonnenCommunity, we offer all households that want to determine their own energy future access to affordable, clean electricity for the first time,” said Christoph Ostermann, CEO of Sonnenbatterie.
The platform, controlled via self-learning software, takes into account weather forecast and real-time consumption data to balance supply and demand.
Sonnenbatterie said that even households without photovoltaic installations can take part in the scheme by purchasing cheaper electricity than is available from the major suppliers.
The initiative comes at a time when large-scale battery technology, long seen as expensive, is approaching a point where ordinary households can afford it.
Sonnenbatterie has sold 8,500 lithium battery units. In Germany around 25,000 solar power storing batteries are in operation, while around 1.5 million households have solar panels installed.
US electric vehicle maker Tesla is also looking to enter the market. It plans to start delivering wall-mounted batteries that can store solar-generated power to German customers in early 2016.