Commentary on the PV strategy of the Federal Government - Decentralized power generation requires intelligent energy management

Today, the second solar summit with Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck and representatives of the solar energy industry took place. Discussed was the photovoltaic strategy that the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) put up for discussion in March. More than 650 suggestions were received by the BMWK on the PV strategy, including Kiwigrid's official statement.

According to Habeck, the large number of submitted comments shows how big the traffic jam was to reduce bureaucracy and simplify permits. Kiwigrid generally supports the PV strategy, but cautions that maximizing PV area and electricity production is not enough.

"Distributed and volatile PV power needs to be managed efficiently so that we can make the most of it. In its design, the PV strategy overlooks energy management and its potential." - Dr. Frank Schlichting, CEO

 Energy management promotes energy efficiency 

Only an energy management system will allow us to use locally generated, volatile PV electricity to the greatest extent and with the highest efficiency. Such a system coordinates PV power generation and power consumption devices. Self-consumption is maximized and further electricity demand is reduced. This reduces the load on the power grid and saves on grid charges and consumer costs. Energy management systems are usually offered directly by the equipment manufacturers. The end user has no expense and benefits directly from the increased energy efficiency. 

We regret that the PV strategy in its current version does not take into account the implementation of intelligent energy management systems and the promotion of innovative business models for the best possible use of PV electricity. After all, this is the only way that decentralized energy generation based on PV systems can be successfully integrated into the overall energy supply system and contribute to its optimization. The PV strategy reveals that there is still a lack of fundamentals necessary for intelligent energy management.

We need more incentives and fewer hurdles for grid-serving behavior 

First, electricity storage is critically important as flexibility in volatile electricity generation. The PV strategy recognizes this importance; however, current rules inhibit the use of electricity storage. First, the requirement for direct marketing of small amounts of electricity from storage is missing. And the double grid charges for storing and distributing electricity, for example using car batteries, hinder efficient and smart electricity distribution. 

Second, an important building block for decentralized energy management is incentives for consumers. Grid-serving electricity use should be incentivized through variable grid charges. Consumers should have a financial incentive, for example, to charge their electric car when there is no threat of overloading the power grid. At the same time, energy feed-ins during bottlenecks should be rewarded. External intervention and the shutting down of private energy consumers - as currently being discussed for the redesign of §14a EnWG - should remain the last option. 

The energy management system is at the heart of the energy transition 

The PV strategy states that the PV system can become the heart of a domestic energy management system by coupling the sectors in the home. This is absolutely true. The energy management system, in turn, can become the heart of the energy transition. Unfortunately, this home energy management is neither promoted by federal regulations nor considered in the PV strategy. Regulatory support and individual incentives for sector coupling are urgently needed to accelerate the energy transition in the home. A further development of the strategy should aim to exploit all potentials of PV electricity generation.


The commentary was published in the industry magazine Energie & Management.