E.ON is one of the first companies in Germany to control solar photovoltaic systems using smart meters.
The energy supplier has developed a control box –an additional unit to the meter-that can prevent grid congestion by flexibly controlling how much power the solar panels generate. Control boxes and smart meters can be used to reduce and increase output from a remote location, as well as provide information about the technical condition of the solar panels.
The data as well as encrypted control signals are transmitted via a communication gateway inside the meter. This ensures compliance with the maximum security standards defined by the Federal Office for Information Security.
The PV systems are connected to the grid operated by Bayernwerk, one of E.ON’s regional distribution subsidiaries.
Paul-Vincent Abs, Smart Meter Leader at E.ON, said: “What sounds pretty simple is an important milestone on the path towards the digital, smart electricity grid. The control box/smart meter combination allows both the generation and consumption of renewable energy to be optimised.”
The Ministry of Economics is sponsoring this work as part of the Smart Energy Showcase - Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition (SINTEG) programme. The aim of the initiative is to develop and demonstrate model energy supply solutions for the future in so-called showcase regions.
The programme focuses on smart grids that will help to ensure stability and improve the interplay of power generation, consumption, storage and grids by means of modern information and communications technologies. The funding programme addresses key challenges of the energy transition including the integration of renewables into the system, flexibility, security of supply, system stability, energy industry efficiency and the establishment of smart energy systems and market structures.
Grid congestion is a growing concern in Germany as the country continues to develop its renewable energy generation. On 30 April this year, Germany broke a national record by generating 85% of its electricity from renewables such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power.
Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative says that days like these will become “completely normal” by 2030, as the federal government’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, begins to reap the benefits of the investments made in renewable energy resources since 2010.
The new renewable record in Germany continues a trend. So far in 2017, renewable energy has consistently been a significant source of electrical power in Germany. In March of this year, over 40% of all electricity consumed in the country was generated by renewable sources.