German solar company Solarwatt sees growth in electric car charging services

(Reuters) German residential solar battery maker Solarwatt GmbH, Dresden, Germany, is talking to a car manufacturer about a potential tie-up that would connect electric vehicles to its solar rooftop systems, CEO Detlef Neuhaus said.

The CEO told Reuters that the company, among the leading solar battery providers in Germany and with a presence in several other countries, is expanding its manufacturing capacity and considering tie-ups with carmakers.

He said that for people building a house or renovating one, or for small businesses, it made economic sense to go for a solar power system. “And it is the right thing to do for the climate,” he said. “We are at the beginning of a self-reinforcing boom.”

The Berlin government will put finishing touches to its EEG renewable energy law by the end of 2020, which is expected to clear red tape to speed up the contribution of solar and wind power to the decarbonisation of energy, heat and transport.

Solar power is virtually free of emissions. Solar generation costs in Germany have fallen roughly 45% over the past five years.

Germany has two million rooftop photovoltaic systems whose owners use most of their output themselves.

But as the price of battery technology has come down it is becoming increasingly economical to store surplus solar power for use potentially for electric car charging purposes. In the long-term this could become “bidirectional,” which means any surplus car battery power could feed back into the car owner’s house.

Solarwatt’s module sales could amount to between 280 and 300 megawatts (MW) in 2021 after 250 MW this year and 156 MW in 2019, helped by a new production line coming on stream.

The German battery market is currently led by Solarwatt rival sonnen, bought by Shell as part of efforts by big oil companies to expand into electricity.

Solarwatt, majority-owned by BMW-heir Stefan Quandt, should be profitable by 2023, Neuhaus said.


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