PV in 60 Seconds: What Does Self-Consumption of Solar Power Mean?

Einweihung der Konrad-Station bei SMA

It’s a good idea to use self-generated solar electricity: you can save money and make yourself independent from rising electricity prices. But what do I have to do to be able to operate the washing machine with solar power?

The second episode of “Photovoltaics in 60 seconds” gives the answer.

Enjoy the movie.

 

49 Comments
  1. Rina says:

    Your 60 second video is a little simplistic, I would say. First of all, not all power companies allow you to go partially off-grid. Second of all, battery storage is not very safe yet. And thirdly, your applicances have to be able to work straight from the battery. We are waiting for the day when all of this will be made simple and economical. In the meantime, we have to do things the power company’s way….

    Reply
    • Felix Kever says:

      Though the video simplifies the issue in return for a short presentation intelligible to all, I cannot agree with you:
      1. It’s quite clear that the rules and conditions concerning grid connection of PV systems vary worldwide. Nevertheless in Germany, being one of the world’s most future-orientated countries in terms of renewable energies use, self-consumption is allowed and was even promoted by the government until April 2012 (since then, PV power has achieved grid parity, so there’s no need for that any more).
      2. I can’t say that battery storage isn’t safe and thus cannot follow your thesis at all. Lead-based as well as Li-Ion-based batteries are widely used all over the globe, generally without any problems. Another point is that self-consumption of PV power doesn’t necessarily require the use of a battery storage. On the contrary, it’s a good idea to intelligently adjust your electricity consumption according to the production of your PV system at first, if anyway possible.
      3. For a maximum cost saving effect (+ grid relief + environmental benefits), household appliances should preferably be run with solar electricity (given the fact of grid parity). A battery system (if you have one) just increases the effect. This little interacitve animation shows the basic principle…

      Reply
  2. Martin says:

    Hi I have a 4kw solar system for electric to my house and although I time appliance use to daytime to maximise it use, I regular produce more than I am using and need a way to either store or utilise smarter especially to minimise my gas usage for my central heating combi boiler, I have an electric fire but not much use when in the evening when producing no solar power, can you help?

    Reply
    • David Redelberger says:

      Hi Martin,
      thanks for the question and sorry we can’t answer that one on the weekend but we’ll forward the issue to an expert tomorrow morning.

      Good night,
      David 🙂

      Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hi,
      There are currently two effective methods to increase self-consumption.
      1. Use the solar power as efficiently as possible by intelligently controlling and/or switching on the loads while taking the current weather forecast into consideration. However, this only works when there is solar irradiation. In this case, the Sunny Home Manager is a very powerful addition to your existing PV system and can effectively increase the quantity of power you use at home.
      2. To increase self-consumption, the surplus electric current you produce can also be temporarily stored in batteries during the day. This electric current can then be used during the evening hours and thus considerably reduces the amount of electricity you purchase. A corresponding inverter equipped with a battery bank will be available from SMA in the third quarter of 2013.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  3. nigel rogers says:

    I am confused.. How can I use the excess energy in say mmy tumle drier if I am not present to switch it on.. Surely supplying power at the plug is not going to activate it..

    Reply
  4. BA says:

    hello
    I have a 30 Kwatt load that works with the grid (20 hours a day) I would like to add a PV array of about 120 KWp to reduce the electric bill.Can I combine SMA inverters with the grid without using batteries . for example a Hybrid system grid + pv power.The idea is to supplement the PV power with the grid power.Looking forward to a prompt response
    Regards

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Yes, you can connect the inverter to the grid without having to use a battery. In Germany that’s what we call self-consumption. That means self-generated solar electricity isn’t fed into the grid, but is used directly at home instead. That’s how you can reduce your electricity bill. For this you don’t need any extra batteries.

      If you want to further optimize your self-consumption you need batteries. With a battery you can store solar power for using it for example in the evening hours. For this case SMA offers the Sunny Island 6.0 inverter.

      To clarify the necessary details, we suggest that you contact an installer. He can include your local circumstances in his recommendation. This is crucial as it is difficult for us to evaluate all aspects from here.

      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
      • Mohamed says:

        Please give rough cost estimate and area required to generate 1kw power.
        I would like to install in Tamilnadu India. Here we will have average 11-13 hrs of sun light throughout the year. Will you assist to get Indian Government subsidy for solar power generation. Please give the contact person detail.

      • Leonie Blume
        Leonie Blume says:

        Dear Mohamed,
        Thanks a lot for your request. We will contact you directly via email.
        Best regards
        Leonie

      • jane says:

        dear Leonie Blume
        I have a 21 kw grid tied solar system. I am using 3 of your 1700 sunny boy system. but I want to change the system to stand alone when the grid viltage is down so I can still use photovoltaic electricity. are there any suitable inverter in SMA?
        I dont want to use a battery bank yet but maybe in the future. so the off grid inverters should work properly without battery.
        kind regards

  5. Zakir Sharif says:

    While planning a 3-Phase system on SunnyDesign; the point that is irritating me is that what if we don’t want Grid-Feed-In ??

    I mean we are planning a system of 60 Panels of 200W = 12KW Solar Panels and would be using STP 10000TL-10 as Inverter; the Sunny Design says that we will get 100% Self-Consumption. Now, the problem is that a time comes, every week, when we do maintainence work and our machines come to a halt; our consumption falls down to a very low value; now in this case, the extra electricity produced would be fed back to the Grid, I guess !! However, Grid-Feed-Back is not allowed at our end; we are also not using any Battery Bank where we can store the energy; now what will happen ??

    Sunny Design remains silent on Grid-Feedback option — whether we can enable it or not ?? Can you guide us in this respect that whether we can disable the Grid-Feedback ?? This is to say that whatever we are producing through Solar Panels is getting consumed and if our demand is low then it should get wasted !!

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • David Redelberger says:

      Hi Zakir, thank you for your question which we unfortunately cannot answer on the weekend, we will forward it immediately on monday to the responsible colleague. Have a nice weekend!
      David

      Reply
      • Zakir Sharif says:

        Hi David ….. Thank you so much for your response. We will desperately be waiting for an answer after the week starts.

        Thanks once again.

        Zakir.

      • Abraham Gobera says:

        Dear David R, It do have a similar situation like Zakir, on a good sunny day, we do have more production that we use at our site. This excess power is feed back into grid and the grid meter shows reverse run. This is not allowed in Uganda. I contacted SMA and i was given a solution of installing Piggybacks, SMA energy meter and SMA home manager. We installed this and did the configuration but still its happening. Please could you drop me a mail such that we can discuss more details?
        Thanks and i will be waiting to get back from you.

    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hi Zakir,

      For the system you are planning you will need a battery bank. We can contact you via email to discuss the details. OK?

      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
      • Zakir Sharif says:

        Dear Leonie,
        It would indeed be a great pleasure discussing it on email. It would be easy as well as quite comprehensive like this. You are requested to send me email on zakir@batalatextiles.com as well as send a CC to batalatex@gmail.com as most of the time I am on the road and will get your email instantly.
        However, before you send me a solution; let me give you a further insight into our exact situation; thus saving your time in recommending the solution to us.
        Our factory is located in a Government Industrial Estate where we get continous 18 Hours of power from grid and then 6 hours of contionous load-shedding. The Load-Shedding timings are 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM and hence the Power timings are from 12:00 AM to 06:00 PM.
        As you said that we have to go for Batteries; let me tell you why we would like to avoid the Battery Bank; let me go point-by-point :
        POINT # 1
        ————
        During the day, when Solar would be working; there is no load shedding thus we would like that 100% of whatever is produced must be consumed. As the Load-Shedding occurs in the night time only and if we plan to set-up a Battery Bank for the factory, it would result in quote a humongous Battery Bank of more than 3000 AH as we have to cater for 6 hours of time period.
        POINT # 2
        ————
        Net-Metering is NOT allowed in Pakistan; thus whatever we produce has to be consumed and cannot be fed back into the Grid. In 98% of the time frame; this would be true as we will design such a system with so many panels that whatever is being produced is being consumed BUT the problem arises when it comes to the Machine Maintainence timing. Although it happens for about 2 hours in a week but still it happens. At this point of time our consumption drops down to a very low level. NOW, this is the situation where Solar would be producing excessive electricity that is not being consumed. And as said before also in POINT # 1 that we would not like to store this energy considering the HUGE cost of the Battery Bank.

      • Zakir Sharif says:

        POINT # 3
        ————
        Our Power requirement increases in Summers as Air Conditioning Plant becomes active. We are planning the Solar system keeping the base power requirement i.e. machines + lighting only. Thus our Solar Panels would be producing only that much electricity as would be consumed throughout the year.
        POINT # 4
        ————
        We want a system that is like “Hybrid” system. This is to say that the system should intelligently see the current requirement of electricity; whatever is being produced by the Solar, only Balance power requirement should be taken from the grid.

        Waiting for your valued feedback & solution.

        Thanks.

        Zakir.

      • Zakir Sharif says:

        Also referring to your post of ===>>>

        “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
        Leonie Blume
        May 7, 2013 at 11:29
        Yes, you can connect the inverter to the grid without having to use a battery. In Germany that’s what we call self-consumption. That means self-generated solar electricity isn’t fed into the grid, but is used directly at home instead. That’s how you can reduce your electricity bill. For this you don’t need any extra batteries.

        If you want to further optimize your self-consumption you need batteries.
        “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

        Now, this is what we are looking for MINUS the “optimize your self-consumption you need batteries”.

        I guess I have clarified my case completely. Please let me know whatever information you need for me so as to arrive at the most feasible + economical SMA Solar Solution for us.

        Thanks once again.

        Zakir.

      • Leonie Blume
        Leonie Blume says:

        Hi Zakir,
        Thanks a lot for your clarifications. I will discuss your request with my colleagues and they will contact you via your email adresses.
        Have a nice day,
        Leonie

  6. Zakir Sharif says:

    Dear Leonie ……. Thank you so much for your response. We will desperately be waiting for your email !!

    Thanks once again.

    Zakir.

    Reply
  7. akram says:

    Please give rough cost estimate and area required to generate 5kw power. I would like to install in Assam India. Will you assist to get Indian Government subsidy for solar power generation.

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Thanks a lot for your request. My colleagues will contact you directly via email to discuss the details.
      Best regards and have a nice day
      Leonie

      Reply
  8. EPD company. says:

    Can we use SMA SI 8.0 inverter for backup and self consumption ? If it is ok then how to installation it?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Sorry for the delay.
      At the moment the Sunny Island 8.0H is not suitable for increasing the self-consumption. This is possible with the Sunny 6.0H, but this device is only certified for Germany. You should ask your energy utility if it’s possible to install the Sunny Island 6.0H. From Q4 on there will be the Backup feature which you can uprade via software update.

      I hope this helps you.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  9. jane says:

    dear Leonie Blume

    I don’t want to use battery for my new set up. I just want to use solar electricity in day light and I don’t need any back up battery.
    do your off grid inverters work properly with out battery or I must use battery for them?

    kind regards

    Reply
  10. Jørgen Thomsen says:

    Dear Leonie Blume
    The sunny Island SI 6.0H-11 are on the positive list i Denmark now 15 August 2013 🙂 http://energinet.dk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Danske%20dokumenter/El/Positivliste_over_godkendte_vekselrettere_for_brug_til_solcelleanlæg_i_Danmark.pdf
    I am installing 17KW solarcells and want to use battery for back up with the SI 6.H-11 but that are only 1 phase. I need an Inverter max 6KW 3phase max 16Amp peek out on grid, to walk together with Sonny Island How can i make Sunny Island 3Phase with a min. 6KW/48V battery pack and 6KW inverter in 3 phase 16Amp. Kind Regards

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hi Jørgen,

      In Denmark, the Sunny Island 6.0H-11 has to be limited to an output of 3.68 kW due to the maximum permitted electric current/line conductor of 16 A. Equipped with the SMA Energy Meter or a compatible, cumulative meter, it can detect the self-consumption level on all three phases and balance it via the connected line conductor.
      With the next firmware version, the Sunny Island 6.0H-11 can also be installed in a three-phase system. However, three devices will then be needed.
      To provide you with a comprehensive consultation and to find the best solution to meet your needs we recommend you contact our Sales department by email at Sales@SMA.de or by phone +49 561 9522 4000.

      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  11. Jørgen Thomsen says:

    Dear Leonie Blume
    Are you thinking about using an “Energy Cell” Water split into “H” and “O” with an Energy cell and the same hydrogen-powered fuel cell, generates electricity – to power the home in the winter. Something like The Fronius http://www.fronius.com/cps/rde/xchg/SID-CFA239D4-A24FC1CB/fronius_international/hs.xsl/83_18235_ENG_HTML.htm
    Will that walk together with your Sunny Island SI 6.0H-11, for an all year 24/365 solution.
    That will give us an even greater self-consumption rate, ore are there other great solution for winter storage. Sun=>”something” that is not an easy task to store that amount of energy for the winter, i Know. Kind Regards

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Thanks for your questions. I have forwarded them to my colleagues and will answer you as soon as they have answered.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hi Jørgen,

      It is not planned to use a fuel cell with the sunny island. We rather concentrate on battery-technology. Especially the innovative lithium-Ion batteries show some advantages (high cycling rate) that lead to a higher self-consumption ratio.

      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  12. mukesh kumar says:

    I want to install a solar inverter for my house. A maximum of 2000 watts is required in my house . please suggest and give estimated cost in india

    Reply
    • Jannis Rudzki-Weise says:

      Dear Mukesh,
      thanks for your interest in solar and our inverters. However, much more information is required to help you. I suggest you have a closer look at our product finder and our free plant planning software Sunny Design. That way you can find a perfect solution for your needs.
      Let us know if you need further assistance.

      Best regards,
      Jannis

      Reply
  13. Ajith Mohan says:

    hello,
    Our hospital in Kerala India is consuming electric power approximately 2000 KWh/day. We have a minimum power requirement of around 100 KW during day-time. What SMA system you suggest for efficiently reducing the load on the grid?

    Reply
  14. shaikh sarfaraz says:

    I am interested in re selling your product. Can you please give me your company address of india.

    Reply
  15. M.H.Khan says:

    Hi
    I am planning for 3MV solar power plant at Karnataka.I am looking for EPC, regarding panels we having negotiations with Solar World.in this regards kindly guide me.

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Thanks a lot for your request. I have forwarded it to my Indian colleagues. They will get back to you as soon as possible via email.
      Best regards and goodspeed for your project.
      Leonie

      Reply
  16. R.RAMAKRISHNAN says:

    I am residing in Bangalore. Our residential apartment complex is a very huge complex, with 11 blocks each block having 13 stories (ground and first floor which are exclusive car parks and apartment floors start from 02 to 14), in total 1131 apartments spread over 13 floors each floor with 8 apartments. we have an outer ring road of more than 50′ and inner ring road of 30′ in an oval shape. How your products can be used in a hybrid model of solar cum wind model so that our energy consumption can be reduced from the grid connected power. see the hybrid model contraption @
    https://www.windstream-inc.com/ from r.ramakrishnan 15/8/2015

    Reply
  17. sashi kant says:

    Hi I have a 25kw solar system for electricity to my house and it is GRID-TIED (i.e when the grid supply goes down, the solar supply wont work because the inverter will turn off). And I cant afford to put batteries as it is very costly. Can you help me>?

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hi Sashi,
      I’m sorry, but there is no alternative to a battery inverter with battery.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  18. Abdullah Ali says:

    Hey, Can we connect the grid tied system with diesel generator with or without using fuel save controller so that when grid goes down DG provide reference current and keep the PV system active for self consumption.

    Reply
    • Julia Stunz says:

      Hello Abdullah,
      Sorry for the late reply.
      Unfortunatly it`s not possible to answer your question directly, it depends on several factors – please contact your system integrator, he should help you.
      If not contact us again.

      Kind regards,
      Julia

      Reply
  19. Web Hosting says:

    Coupling the PV system to the battery bank  with Conext MPPT Solar Charge Controllers is the most efficient and economical method for self-consumption and for storing PV power. Both Conext XW+ and SW will also charge the battery bank from the grid if solar irradiation is insufficient.

    Reply

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