Leistungen // Laterales Management

bye-bye electricity grid

In Germany power is supplied centrally via networks to households and commercial companies. Until 2011 electricity was generated mainly in nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants. However, Jeremy Rifkin, an adviser to many governments including the German government, said in 2013 that this time will soon be over. He said that in a few years every household would produce its own solar energy and use it at home

Critics claimed, however, that this would not be feasible for an industrial nation. They said that electricity needs to be stored and there would not be the technology for that. Even after the Fukushima disaster, German electricity policy was geared to the construction of transmission lines from north to south to take power generated by wind and solar systems from the North Sea to south-western Germany.

Now the technology seems to be available. A company by the name of sonnen GmbH in Wildpoldsried in the Allgäu region has invented it: A small box which can be mounted on any wall in a residential house stores solar power from the roof, makes it available and buys more when there is a high demand at peak times. The installation costs between €10,000 and €15,000. A new solar system can be delivered straight away if needed. The monthly costs for current compensation and maintenance are relatively low (€ 19.90). Detailed energy consumption bills and metres in the cellar are redundant.

One of the 50 most innovative companies in the world

With its high-tech power storage technology, sonnen GmbH (what an ingenious company name) is number 28 on the innovation list of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – actually above Bosch. This is made possible on the one hand by the liberal Energy Feed-In Law enacted by the federal government, which has promoted development of technology over the years. On the other hand Elon Musk has been building storage batteries for Tesla. As a by-product it launched the Powerwall, a house battery, on the market in 2015 at a knockdown price. This media attention was also helpful for the Allgäu-based company. It now supplies 70,000 households and the number is increasing.

In this way energy supply is returning to households. On the cultural level it means that every community can make its own ecological contribution to climate protection. And for gas-water-power companies the switch from a central to a non-central power supply may mean big business.