Seven questions about the PV storage market for Carsten Körnig, CEO of the German Solar Association (BSW).
Mr. Körnig, how do photovoltaics and electrical storage systems fit together?
For more and more buyers of solar systems, an electrical storage system has become just as much a given for a photovoltaic installation as a refrigerator in a kitchen. With the advent of battery storage systems, solar power has for the first time become available around the clock. Consumers use them to become more independent from utility companies. This in turn benefits the power grid on site, because the battery storage system in connection with a photovoltaic installation absorbs the spikes in generation and consumption. Moreover, storage systems can support the local grid by providing so-called reactive power around the clock.
Do you consider the storage industry in its current stage of development to be as advanced now as the photovoltaics industry was ten or twenty years ago when internationalization was gaining ground?
Absolutely! The storage industry is growing up fast. Over 100,000 solar storage systems have already been installed in Germany alone. An increasing number of homeowners and companies in many countries want to have green power available at all times with the help of storage systems.
What advanced the photovoltaics market internationally back then?
For photovoltaics, it was without a doubt the subsidies. Without Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act combined with comparable laws and regulations in other countries, photovoltaics would probably still just be space technology and not one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation in the world. We are proud that we could actively contribute to this development.
How much can the storage industry learn from the photovoltaics industry’s experiences at that time?
In my view, there are two things it can learn. First: Get people excited, because the customer is king! The more people demand access to clean energy at any time of day and aim for more energy independence and supply safety, the faster solar storage systems will prevail. Second: Gain lots of partners! Storage technology saves power grid costs, helps expand e-mobility and offers modern energy companies opportunities for new business models. The more supporters of this technology work together, the faster we can overcome resistance.
Where do you see similarities between the German and the French storage markets?
The starting points of the still new storage markets are similar – France and Germany are advanced, western industrial states with relatively comparable population structures. In both countries, photovoltaics was already introduced many years ago and is now commonplace.
Why do you find networking at international meeting points such as the ees Summit France to be so important for the storage industry’s development?
The storage exhibition ees in Munich and the ees Summit France both offer an ideal international platform for tapping into new markets and forging alliances. That promotes competition and paves the way for innovations to enter the market.
What can the storage industry gain from that?
By cooperating internationally, we are strengthening the industrial core of Europe’s storage industry. Additionally, we’re advancing storage and photovoltaic technology. Every new storage system increases the availability of solar power and every new photovoltaic installation increases the demand for battery storage systems.