Consumers are driven by a desire for independence. As feed-in tariffs are decreasing, self-consumption is gaining momentum. However, seasonal storage and balancing requirements exist not only for private homes but also for the grid. The establishment of an all-season security of supply is therefore the key component of both a successful energy transition and consumers’ independence.
What consumers want
Consumers wish to source their entire energy requirements from their own renewable energy source, in central Europe most likely and preferably by roof-top photovoltaic (PV), in order to generate clean energy to power their house with electricity, supply heating and, possibly, provide a charging device for mobility. While heating requirements are declining, electricity demand is rising overall as electric devices and mobility is facing increasing power needs. At the same time, the world of combined heat and power technologies (CHP) is fundamentally and rapidly changing – the electrification of the heating environment is an important factor. Mid- to long-term, electricity controlled systems with high electrical efficiency will overcome the challenges of seasonality.
What most consumers (or “prosumers”) want is energy independence or at least the means they need to become “off-grid”. Prerequisite is placing a PV system on the rooftop that manages to generate enough electricity for their household supply. In the current environment, the sweet spot in the transition towards 100 percent renewable energy supply is smart and efficient storage technology. And the market is huge: In Germany, roughly 8.5 million family homes plus about 100,000 new buildings per year can be addressed. Consumers, policy-makers and businesses, among those energy utilities, have long identified the potential.
HPS has developed an integrated one-stop-solution, that includes a combination of several innovative green technologies such as fuel cell technology, power-to-gas, battery and power electronics, making installation quick and easy while at the same time providing smooth, standardized and thus customer-friendly maintenance. Predictive energy management is key, creating a sustainable, self-efficient and customizable home energy system.
Picea as a component of the energy transition
This is where the HPS system Picea comes in: Picea combines energy storage, heating support and indoor ventilation in one compact product, controlled by an integrated energy manager. It meets all the electrical energy needs of a single-family home.
For the typical homeowner, this small-scale power-to-gas device exploits the decentralized deployment of a typical Central European single-family home based on short-term battery storage in combination with seasonal storage, which is based on hydrogen, enabling the local utilization of heat by preventing conversion losses. An average four-person household with annual power needs of about 4,000 kWh can be powered by your roof-top photovoltaic in conjunction with our Picea storage solution. As an add-on, the system utilizes most of its waste heat, thereby reducing the heating bill, and combines controlled room ventilation with an integrated air humidifier for the winter months. All interfaces and connections are uniformly arranged for intuitive access for any Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) installer. For the customer, it is controllable via a mobile app. Excess from the energy produced by PV is converted into hydrogen via an electrolyzer and is stored in a tank to be used during winter months. In the sun-deprived winter months, a hydrogen fuel cell runs to generate electricity and heat. A solar battery buffers short-term demand.
However, it is not only a system for those desiring to be independent from the grid. The HPS cluster – HPS systems controlled in a network – translates to a server and central control system, thereby combining decentralized storage capacities of individual installations. Thus, the server can be operated by (trans)regional utilities or energy cooperatives with the benefit of grid stabilization and energy service offerings.
Desire for independence
Consumers are driven by a desire for independence. Storage, which was once viewed as an add-on to PV, is now driving an energy revolution. Integrated and smart home storage technology, scalable to a network of single-family homes in the future, can provide secure energy supply for consumers through on-site energy generation based on renewables while at the same time facilitating grid stabilization for the benefit of all.
Dr. Henrik Colell,
Co-Founder & Managing Director,
HPS Home Power Solutions GmbH
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