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Published on November 12th, 2014 | by Jake Richardson


Solar Panels + Energy Storage For German Market

November 12th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Solar Love.

An integrated residential rooftop solar and  electricity storage system will be launched in Germany in December. Hanwha Q Cells rooftop solar and Samsung lithium-ion batteries will be sold together so German citizens can produce their own electricity from the sun and store it at home. The integrated storage technology is called Q. Home.

Berlin sunrise

Q. Home will be offered in two versions. One is considered to be ‘standard’ and the other is for East-West orientations of rooftop solar systems. The solar power systems are 18 or 24 Q CELLS 260W modules, with capacities of either 4.68kWp or 6.24kWp.

A 3.6kWh Samsung SDI battery for energy storage interfacing with energy management software will be matched with the Q cells. Energy usage can be monitored with a home computer, tablet, or smart phone.

A one-phase inverter, mounting system, and some related equipment will be included in the whole package. (A similar integrated system will launch in the UK early next year, and it also uses Samsung batteries.)

Hanwha Q CELLS chief commercial officer Justin Lee explained: “Selecting and installing a PV rooftop system can be perceived as complex and time-consuming by many homeowners. With the latest Samsung SDI storage technology and our powerful Q CELLS PV kits we will offer Q.HOME, a convenient and easy solution for homeowners from a single source.”

The intention of the Hanwha Q CELLS and Samsung energy storage residential product is to allow consumers to become more independent of the grid. This goal not long ago was generally perceived as being something for a survivalist living in a rustic cabin. Now it seems almost poised to become mainstream, at least in Germany.

Once the product is launched and there are some early adopters, it will be great to see how it works and the press about ‘average Joes’ becoming more grid-independent. Research conducted in the United States has shown that the decision for a homeowner to “go solar” is influenced by a neighbor having already done it. Will more affordable electricity storage create any kind of ripple effect?

On another note, its great to see large companies that are able to collaborate with each other to bring solutions to consumers. Energy storage appears to be gathering some momentum lately, so it will be fascinating to see if Q. Home is a success in Germany.

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  • jeffhre

    Any word on whether this would be taylored for the Australian or any other market in addition to Germany?

    • Ronald Brakels

      Since German current is very similar to what we have in Australia this product would be basically Australian ready, current wise. The questions are, will it be sold in Australia and will it be suited for Australian conditions because it gets hot here. It is not uncommon for the first generation of German technology to fail in Australia because of heat issues. But they’ve had enough opportunities to learn from past mistakes and hopefully they will soon sell the system in a heat resistant form to overseas customers. If they don’t, they will cede the growing Australian market to others. Even Australian companies could start mass producing energy storage systems – using overseas manufacturing, of course. We’re not likely to start making things in Australia, although I guess it’s possible they might be assembled in Australia if our dollar keeps falling. I know that seems like a kind of science-fictiony idea, but these are amazing times we live in. But I am hopeful that Germans will come and save us from our folly here down under and sell us some home and business energy storage.

      • omar

        We need in Mauritania as well, where the solar array are available the hall year.

        • Ronald Brakels

          I see you have the same current as us and excellent solar resources.

          • omar

            Exactly, these guys are working hard for us

  • momo

    Could this mean that German solar installations will once again reach levels seen during the 2010-2012 period?

    • Larmion

      Unlikely. The utility scale solar market will see its subsidies cut sharply after the move to an auction based system, so there will be little activity there (unlike wind, solar still needs significant support to be cost-effective in Germany).

      Domestic solar still receives the support it needs, but I highly doubt domestic alone can lift the market back to its old heights – especially since a large number of households who wanted solar already made the jump.

      That’s not a bad thing mind you. Wind and biomass are still easily meeting their targets and domestic solar is doing okay. It’s only utility scale solar that has taken a hit and it’s not a bad thing that such an expensive form of electricity production takes a back seat when there is still so much room for cheaper growth in wind energy.

      • Will E

        I often wonder how many of the commentors have Solar Panells heat pump for house heating and warm water and EV and are all electric and make a lot of money with fossil free live.

        these comments seems to me like oldtimer comments.

        solar is cheap and makes a lot of money
        everywhere and for all.

        • Vensonata

          Yes, I see a growing number of “all electric” houses in the U.S. with enough pv on the roof to be “net Zero”. Air source heat pumps are the key, along with super insulation. About 10 kwh pv array can easily Zero all the utilities, in most places. The EV may require a few extra panels though.

          By the way, any price on the Samsung battery bank?

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Yes, indeed this will mean this. There will be about 100 GW solar power installed by 2018–2020 in Germany. As new solar panels are installed mostly in East-West directions and there is battery storage for few hours worth. This means in practice that German grid will be saturated by roof-top solar power from morning to early evening. Of course there is still winter that gives some lifelines for German utilities, but the total demise of utilities is very close in Germany.

      This was also the reason why Germany phased out nuclear power, because nuclear power is hit hardest if roof-top solar power cuts 25 % to 50 % from their revenue stream. There just is no relevant business case for new nuclear power in 2020’s.

      • Ulenspiegel

        How do you get the number of 100 GW PV in Germany in 2020???

        We have around 40 GW now, let’s be optimistic and assume 3 GW addition per year then we can expect around 60 GW in 2020. The peak capacity of PV is 70% of the nameplate capacity, so around 40 GW maximuim in 2020.

        Even now PV makes sense without storage for most private households, but almost nothing happens. Why do you expect a dramatic change as long as storage is expensive??

        • Jouni Valkonen

          Today it is no longer viable to install more solar power without storage, because FIT is so low that it hardly compensates the expenses.

          But today key point is that the solar panels + battery storage is getting affordable. And this means that they can go for 100 % self-consumption of their solar power and to therefore save considerable amount of money.

          And if Government starts to offer loans with very low interests rates — like it should — then solar panels + battery storage is very attractive choice for households and companies alike.

          Today we are already on borrowed time that technology is already there, but markets are still immature, so supply side of storage batteries has not yet catched up with the demand. But recently there came very affordable battery storage solution from Samsung to german home solar markets. So the second solar boom will start TODAY and we can expect 8 to 12 GW annual new installations from 2015 onwards. Therefore 100 GW is attainable.

          To go beyond 100 GW, this naturally requires significant cost reduction of batteries, but my guess is that by 2030, Germany has installed about 300–400 GW solar electricity and lots of storage!

          • Ulenspiegel

            Sorry, even with the low FIT a system without battery can economically produce twice the energy as the selfconsumption of the houshold is. But only few people buy PV.

            To add a very expensive battery system does not improve the situation!

            If you can buy a battery system for 300 EUR per kWh effective storage, then we can talk again, but this is not before 2020. Have you ever calculated the costs of a battery system per kWh with 250 cycles per years?

            Germany will not have 300 GW PV in 2030, that is a pipe dream. As long as onshore wind is much cheaper and does require less storage than PV even 200 GW in 2050 are debatable. The most optimistic expert opinion is 250 GW in 2050.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            today the cell level cost of batteries is about 150 euros per kWh and pack level cost is about 250 euros per kWh. And they certainly do not last for “250 cycles” but are good for 5000–10 000 cycles OR about 10 to 15 year service life. Lead acid batteries are good for perhaps 250 cycles.

            Tesla’s car batteries has expected life span about 10 years and estimated cell level battery cost is about 200 euros per kWh. Lithium Ferro-phosphorus batteries have even better price per kWh and better cycle life. But due to low energy density they are not good in electric car use.

            So thanks, year 2020 already came in 2013!

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