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

From on April 4, 2013 in Category Technology with 36 Comments

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.

 

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

  • avatar

    Rina

    April 16, 2013 at 16:52

    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 »
    • avatar

      Felix Kever

      April 19, 2013 at 16:22

      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 »
  • avatar

    Martin

    April 28, 2013 at 17:39

    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 »
    • avatar

      David Redelberger

      April 28, 2013 at 21:35

      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 »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      May 2, 2013 at 07:22

      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 »
  • avatar

    nigel rogers

    May 3, 2013 at 05:12

    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 »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      May 3, 2013 at 09:40

      Hi Nigel,
      where are you from?
      Best wishes
      Leonie

      Reply »
  • avatar

    BA

    May 6, 2013 at 19:23

    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 »
    • avatar

      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. 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 »
      • avatar

        Mohamed

        May 22, 2013 at 19:04

        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.

      • avatar

        Leonie Blume

        May 23, 2013 at 07:33

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

      • avatar

        jane

        July 11, 2013 at 05:12

        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

      • avatar

        Leonie Blume

        July 11, 2013 at 09:54

        Dear Jane,

        Thanks for your request.
        Our Sunny Island will always need a battery to create a remote grid.
        Therefore a Sunny Island with battery would be the right solution for your needs.

        There are some Sunny Boy-US devices which work with secure power supply.
        http://www.sma-america.com/en_US/services/downloads/dlf/RVBTLVVTLVRCLWVuLTEx/download.html?type=281&cHash=063116dde840e8e15c29de0afb2591a6

        Perhaps this could be an option for you?

        Best regards
        Leonie

  • avatar

    BA

    May 7, 2013 at 12:54

    Thanks a lot .I appreciate your prompted response.

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Zakir Sharif

    May 31, 2013 at 10:48

    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 »
    • avatar

      David Redelberger

      June 1, 2013 at 22:20

      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 »
      • avatar

        Zakir Sharif

        June 2, 2013 at 12:56

        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.

    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      June 4, 2013 at 11:26

      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 »
      • avatar

        Zakir Sharif

        June 6, 2013 at 17:20

        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.

      • avatar

        Zakir Sharif

        June 6, 2013 at 17:21

        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.

      • avatar

        Zakir Sharif

        June 6, 2013 at 17:27

        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.

      • avatar

        Leonie Blume

        June 7, 2013 at 09:19

        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

  • avatar

    Zakir Sharif

    June 9, 2013 at 15:12

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

    Thanks once again.

    Zakir.

    Reply »
  • avatar

    akram

    June 17, 2013 at 11:42

    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 »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      June 17, 2013 at 12:20

      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 »
  • avatar

    EPD company.

    June 29, 2013 at 05:40

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

    Thanks

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      July 9, 2013 at 08:03

      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 »
  • avatar

    jane

    July 13, 2013 at 06:21

    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 »
  • avatar

    Jørgen Thomsen

    August 27, 2013 at 12:16

    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 »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      August 30, 2013 at 07:03

      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 »
  • avatar

    Jørgen Thomsen

    August 27, 2013 at 13:13

    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 »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      August 27, 2013 at 14:31

      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 »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      August 29, 2013 at 11:43

      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 »
  • avatar

    mukesh kumar

    April 8, 2014 at 17:16

    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 »
    • avatar

      Jannis Rudzki-Weise

      April 9, 2014 at 08:01

      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 »
  • avatar

    Ajith Mohan

    August 31, 2014 at 20:58

    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 »

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