The photovoltaics industry is increasingly looking to new business models based on self-consumption, power purchase agreements (PPAs), shared installations, virtual power plants – and particularly on tenant solar power. Energy storage system manufacturers are breaking new ground with community models, offering operators grid-supplied electricity at cheap prices, or up to a certain amount, even free of charge. Innovative financing mechanisms and business models for a wide range of applications can help to reduce risks and avoid high initial costs: from detached houses to social housing, from commercial buildings with many tenants to free-standing PV installations. While one million private homes in Germany already have a PV system installed, the potential for solar on rented building remains largely underexploited. According to predictions made by the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar), around four billion kilowatt hours of solar power could be generated annually on rented buildings across Germany, and often consumed directly on site.
BSW-Solar anticipates widespread interest in the deployment of solar installations on residential buildings and local solar power tariffs from tenants, municipal utilities and from the housing and solar industries. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is also addressing this topic, publishing a study on tenant power in January 2017 which concluded that up to 3.8 million apartments in Germany could be supplied with solar power. The manufacturers of energy storage systems are also banking on innovations, and are bringing storage systems onto the market which feature a community power package. These do not only increase self-consumption but also offer grid-supplied power at low rates, and up to a certain amount, even free of charge.