Commercial Companies: Saving Costs With Photovoltaics Is Popular
Full house at SMA: Last Thursday, around 200 photovoltaics experts from 20 countries met at the “Commercial Photovoltaics and Storage Solutions: Connecting Energy” conference. Andreas Gast, head of sales Central Europe at SMA, on the highlights and trends in commercial photovoltaics (PV).
Andreas, commercial PV applications are a topic that is attracting great interest. Accordingly, the SMA event was already fully booked two weeks before the start. What makes photovoltaics so attractive for commercial companies and what is happening on the market right now?
The system costs for commercial PV systems and storage solutions have now fallen so sharply that PV generation costs in many European countries are significantly below companies’ electricity procurement costs. Therefore, it is increasingly worthwhile for companies to produce electricity themselves with photovoltaics and use it to make significant savings on operating costs. In addition, there are currently exciting new developments in the field of connecting sectors. In particular, this concerns incorporating commercial storage systems, CHP plants, heat pumps, refrigeration and air-conditioning technology and e-mobility in focused energy management. This way, small and medium-sized commercial companies in particular can save even more on energy costs. SMA developed the ennexOS platform, which enables intelligent control of the generator and consumer across all sectors, for this purpose.
What were the highlights of the event for you personally?
For me, a particular highlight even before the event was the huge response that we received, not just from Germany, but from many other European countries, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Spain, Finland and Sweden. During the event, I was especially fascinated by Cornelia Daniel’s presentation on sales innovations and future business models with PV in commercial applications. Once again, she looked at the subject from quite a new viewpoint, which provided many good lines of thought. A very important and positive finding that I took from the event was also that storage solutions for commercial operations already work very well and there are a lot of projects being implemented in this area.
What trends and developments do you forecast for commercial photovoltaics over the coming years?
The decentralization and self-generation of electricity trend will continue and the European market for commercial PV systems will grow further in view of their increasing economic appeal. In addition, digitalization will enable new business models for companies that generate their own energy. The exciting thing here is that the complexity is continuously increasing and cooperation between the various market participants from very different fields and from different stages of the value chain is necessary to be able to overcome these challenges. With our new ennexOS energy management platform and the energy solutions that we are bringing onto the market via our subsidiary coneva, SMA will open the commercial PV and storage solution market for our customers in terms of technology and enable cooperation. This means that in the coming years, we will be in a position to expand and develop this market segment together with our customers and business partners. In Germany, the direct marketing of excess power will continue to play an important role. Together with our partner MVV Energie AG, we have developed a simple and straightforward solution for this – SMA Spot.
Andreas, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
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