The more self-generated solar energy you use in your own home, the more efficient your PV system becomes. When self-consumption is high, grid feed-in goes down. If you combine a battery-storage system with an electric heating element, you can use as much of your solar power as possible for yourself. Thanks to electric water heating, our colleague Manuel März enjoys hot water essentially at zero cost, which means that his heat pump even gets some time off in the summer month.

For März, installing a PV system with a storage system in spring 2014 was the first step toward independence from rising electricity costs and his electric utility company. He is an expert in solar energy and has spent 10 years at SMA, where his responsibilities include off-grid electricity supply solutions. This includes energy self-sufficient mountain cabins and power supply systems for remote islands. The focus is always on generating energy precisely where it is needed.

He consistently pursues this goal in his personal life as well. Since spring 2015, he and his wife Rebecca have been realizing his dream of using electricity produced entirely from solar power. In addition to the PV system and heat pump, their energy supply is now equipped with two AC ELWA-E heating elements from my-PV. These help reduce electricity procurement costs and minimize the heating and hot water bill. The heating elements work like an immersion heater, efficiently converting the excess solar power from the hot water and heating tanks into heat in a continuous, grid-compatible process.


242.05 KWh + 12.18 KWh was not fed into the utility grid, but was used at home instead.

Generating hot water electrically and saving costs

Heating and hot water appliances account for as much as 75% of a household’s energy needs. In Germany, the average daily consumption of drinking water is roughly 120 liters. Approximately a third of this is heated and generally referred to as hot water. On average, a typical home in Germany consumes 22 cubic meters of hot water per year at a cost of around €300. The cost of heating water varies considerably by the cubic meter and depending on the fuel used. However, if you heat your water with self-generated solar power instead, the costs are effectively zero.


The self-consumption quota is 99%. Otherwise, the energy from the AC-ELWA-E 006/008 would have entered the utility grid at €0.13 per KWh.

The März family chose an east–west arrangement for their PV system, which means that it can be used to generate solar power from sunrise to sunset. This type of arrangement is currently very popular because people are now looking to maximize self-consumption rather than simply yield the best possible feed-in tariff with a south-facing configuration. This is precisely the purpose of a heating element that uses surplus solar energy from the PV system to heat water. Since 2016, the couple have been partially heating their water using the AC ELWA-E with solar power from the 10 kilowatt peak system in an old building that they renovated themselves. Initial concerns that the water would not be available quickly enough or in sufficient quantities proved to be unfounded. The elements are controlled by the Sunny Home Manager, which intelligently manages the household and automatically activates the heating elements, always at the right power level, when excess solar power is available. Self-consumption is optimized every single day of the year in this order:

1. Supplying home appliances: major domestic appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can be programmed to run on solar power.

2. Charging the battery: the battery provides solar energy for evening and night hours. Regular charge and discharge cycles extend the battery’s service life.

3. Activating the my-PV ELWA_006 heating element (summer) and generating hot water: the AC ELWA-E is activated when there is surplus energy and heats water for cooking, showering and washing hands.

4. Activating the my-PV ELWA_008 heating element (winter only) and generating hot water: the AC ELWA-E is supplied via solar energy and heats the water used to heat the house.


Intelligent energy management enables 96% of the energy generated to be used in the home. Last March, purchased electricity was reduced by 62% (self-sufficiency quota).

Protecting the heat pump and extending its service life

Although the ELWA has the lowest priority in the März household, it enables the air to water heat pump to be switched off entirely in the summer months. This extends the service life of the equipment—after all, if it’s not running, it can’t break down. The heating element itself is largely maintenance-free. Depending on the mineral content of the water, it may be advisable to use a filter cartridge to prevent the formation of limescale. This is because limescale, which forms deposits similar to those found in kettles, has an insulating effect and can hinder energy exchange by the heating element.

Cat Mohrchen also enjoys the cozy warmth of the hot-water ceiling heating.

Cat Mohrchen also enjoys the cozy warmth of the hot-water ceiling heating.

The renovated old building offers another special feature, which is that the house is heated using hot-water ceiling heating. This exceptionally energy-saving method of operation ideally complements the heat pump and enables a low flow temperature of 35°C, even in an old building. Mohrchen the cat is not the only one to enjoy the agreeable radiant heat—friends and relatives are also frequently pleasantly surprised. Another positive side effect of the space heating system is that there is no need for unsightly radiators, and dust bunnies are a thing of the past thanks to the absence of circulated air.

Incidentally, März doesn’t buy into the claim that the heat pump requires a longer start-up time and thus more energy to heat up when it is switched on again. Protecting the pump is his top priority. If a little more energy than usual is indeed needed, he doesn’t think it too much of a problem—after all, the energy comes from the PV system and doesn’t cost anything.


100% independence


The water heater AC ELWA-E, rubber duck included ?

Profile: the “solar heating system”

To boost self-consumption of their own solar power, the März family, from the town of Borken, added the my-PV AC ELWA-E heating element to their grid-connected storage system in spring 2016. The resulting hybrid storage system enables the self-generated solar power to be utilized in full. Only when all appliances have been supplied, the battery charged and the water electrically heated does the März family feed solar power into the utility grid.

The AC ELWA-E elements are incorporated via Ethernet into intelligent energy management with the Sunny Home Manager. They are infinitely variable from zero to three kilowatts and adjust their output every second

to the supply of electricity, and consume only 1.5 watts in standby mode.

The Sunny Home Manager manages the flow of energy such that self-consumption is covered first, then the battery is charged; the remaining solar power is used to heat the building and provide hot water. The buffer tank collects solar power from the roof in the form of thermal energy.

PV system: 10 kWp east–west arrangement, 62° roof pitch

Inverter: SMA Sunny Tripower STP8000TL-20, 3 x Sunny Island 4.4M-11 battery inverters

Battery: Exide SH48V16.0-B
Sealed lead-acid batteries with up to 3800 cycles at 50% DOD (depth of discharge)
Total capacity 330 Ah (equates to 16 KWh). Usable capacity: approximately 8 kWh

Controller: Sunny Home Manager, SMA Energy Meter, SMA Sunny Sensor Box

Heater: air to water heat pump for drinking and hot water; each drinking and hot water storage tank is fitted with an electric heater

Water heater: AC ELWA-E

3.33 avg. rating (73% score) - 3 votes


Quelles tendances observez-vous sur le marché photovoltaïque français ?

« Nous allons sans aucun doute voir de très beaux prochains mois en France. La fin du marché de la revente approche doucement et avec la baisse du prix du matériel on voit de nouveau un fort engouement sur le segment de 9 à 100 kilowatts qui devrait perdurer encore au moins 18 mois. Les clients finaux sont souvent des agriculteurs et l’arrivée du marché de l’autoconsommation va changer le marché. Les installateurs vont devoir adapter leur discours pour convaincre des sociétés dans le tertiaire ou des industriels, ce qui va demander un gros travail de fond. En parallèle, le marché des appels d’offres va continuer à faire les volumes des capacités installées, mais ce sera probablement de plus en plus la chasse gardée des grands groupes. »

Quelles sont les principales clés de réussite par rapport à ces évolutions ?

« Grâce à notre présence internationale, nous avons vu dans des pays comme l’Allemagne ou l’Italie qui ont un prix du kWh plus élevé que l’autoconsommation a bouleversé le marché. Ceux qui ont réussi avec la revente ne seront pas forcément ceux qui réussiront sur ce nouveau marché. Il va falloir être plus précis dans la technique pour dimensionner les installations au plus proche de la consommation, valoriser des économies et non plus un produit financier, puis maîtriser des métiers ou techniques complémentaires pour favoriser l’autoconsommation. On a encore une à deux années de transition et c’est le moment de faire les premières références sur le stockage et l’autoconsommation. »

Pourquoi distribuer les produits et solutions SMA ?

« Notre groupe a été fondé en 1923 dans le secteur agricole et malgré notre forte croissance au fil des décennies et notre internationalisation, nous avons toujours gardé ces valeurs du monde agricole. Diversifier pour ne pas être dépendant et peu de prise risques pour garantir des revenus sûrs. C’est pour cela que SMA est notre premier partenaire onduleur photovoltaïque sur la France et le Benelux. Nous cherchons toujours à minimiser le risque. Les produits sont fiables et performants, le SAV est très réactif et la notoriété de la marque est excellente. C’est pour nous et nos installateurs une « assurance tranquillité » largement justifiable, surtout dans un contexte de fortes baisses sur les prix des panneaux photovoltaïques. De plus, le renouvellement de la gamme avec les nouveaux Sunny Boy et le Sunny Tripower CORE1 va permettre de se repositionner sur de nombreux marchés. »

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 3 votes

What role do large battery storage systems play in the future energy supply? What opportunities does energy market 2.0 offer for companies involved? How is a megawatt-class battery inverter actually built? In April, Large-Scale Storage Day at SMA offered participants interesting lectures, tours of Sunny Central Storage production and the SMA Test center, and plenty of time for networking.

SMA CEO & CSO Pierre-Pascal Urbon sees battery storage systems as a growth driver on the world market because they provide added value for customers.

SMA CEO & CSO Pierre-Pascal Urbon sees battery storage systems as a growth driver on the world market because they provide added value for customers.

Solar energy is competitive and will therefore be a significant energy carrier of the future. The industry anticipates worldwide market growth of at least 200 gigawatts by 2030 (Bloomberg New Energy Outlook). In comparison with today, that means a tripling of the market. This is because solar energy is also one of the most cost-effective technologies in power generation.

Battery Storage Systems as Growth Drivers

Large battery storage systems on the utility grid provide necessary grid services and thus avoid expensive and complex grid expansion. Since prices for battery storage systems have dropped over the last few years, particularly in the field of lithium-ion technology, general conditions are becoming increasingly attractive. The time is more than ripe for storage systems on the utility grid.

During the breaks, the participants took the opportunity to make contacts and talk about new options with storage solutions.

During the breaks, the participants took the opportunity to make contacts and talk about new options with storage solutions.

On Large-Scale Storage Day on April 25, 2017 at SMA in Niestetal, more than 150 interested parties from the energy industry and the areas of project development and research excitedly discussed with SMA experts the new opportunities with large-scale storage solutions. This is because storing energy offers significant added value for electric utility companies, project developers and PV system operators.

Battery storage systems are interesting wherever solar energy or other renewable energies are already installed, or are going to be installed. Grid-connected storage systems enable the integration of large amounts of intermittent renewable energies into the utility grid while simultaneously keeping the utility grids stable. Solar energy and storage systems are the drivers of the energy transition. Megawatt-class storage projects in the UK and South Korea prove that battery storage systems are already running efficiently and are preferred to conventional solutions. Volker Wachenfeld, EVP Off-Grid and Storage business unit at SMA, reports on the subject in an interview.

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Energy Market 2.0 Offers New Opportunities

gridsupport_largescalestoragePrimary Operating Reserve

Primary operating reserve is one of the main tasks of transmission grid operators and ensures the grid stability. Frequency control, or the relationship between load and generation, is decisive here. Storage systems perform this grid management service within seconds, are extremely efficient and are also very flexible and modular during installation.


industrialbehindthemeter_largescalestoragePeak Load Shaving

In commercial and industrial systems, and in so-called capacity markets, it is a question of absorbing peaks and offsetting shortfalls. The temporarily required peak load is generally much higher than the average required load.

integrationofrenewables_largescalestorageRenewable Energy Integration

Large battery storage systems, energy provision and grid management services enable the same grid-stabilizing properties as conventional power plants. They can be used worldwide in every application and every system size. The changing electric vehicle market offers new business models, such as for operators of vehicle fleets or parking ramps. Ricky Jark from Koopmann Energie- und Elektrotechnik Hannover GmbH talks about the new ideas and tips for integrating large-scale storage systems into the utility grid in an interview.

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Impressions of the Large-Scale Storage Day


Large-scale storage systems are the next logical step in making the supply of energy reliable and controllable. Thanks to the flexible and modular design of storage systems, the possibilities are almost endless. These are the ideal conditions for a decentralized and worldwide electricity supply using renewable energies.

SMA has the right solutions for a sustainable and reliable energy supply.

SMA has the right solutions for a sustainable and reliable energy supply.

The Sunny Central Storage 2200/2500-EV Battery Inverter

sunnycentralstorageThe Sunny Central Storage is the central component of the SMA system solution for integration of large-scale storage systems. It is designed to compensate for fluctuations in solar energy generation and offers comprehensive grid management services such as automatic frequency control. The battery inverter is optimized for continuous operation at nominal load and temperatures of −25°C to +50°C and is also available as a turnkey solution with a medium-voltage block.

Find more information on our product page.

Anyone who missed Large-Scale Storage Day but would still like to learn about SMA solutions is invited to visit the SMA booth at Intersolar Europe, May 31 to June 2 at booth B3.210, hall 3.

4.00 avg. rating (84% score) - 2 votes

Intersolar began in Pforzheim in 1991 as a small but dignified exhibition with a total of five (!) exhibitors, moved to Freiburg in 2000 and has been held in Munich since 2007. The leading international trade fair for the solar industry, with offshoots in North and South America, India and the Middle East, attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually. It will open its doors in Munich again this year on May 31 with the latest trends, exciting developments and pioneering technologies. Over the three days, more than 40,000 visitors are expected to visit approximately 1,200 exhibitors to learn about photovoltaics, energy storage and renewable heating, as well as products and solutions from the field of smart renewable energy.

SMA will be meeting them at booth B3.210 in hall 3. Our product managers will introduce you to a few of the exhibition’s highlights. Further you’ll get a first impression of the new SMA Energy Solutions.

1. Sunny Tripower Storage

Brisa Ortiz, product manager

Brisa Ortiz, product manager

Load flow optimization – for lower electricity supply costs

“As a three-phase battery inverter, the Sunny Tripower Storage is perfectly suited to worldwide use in commercial and industrial systems with high-voltage batteries. With the bidirectional device our customers can implement system solutions up to the megawatt class. Thanks to the integrated energy management, the Sunny Tripower Storage supports a variety of grid management services and thereby opens up new business models.”


2. Sunny Tripower CORE1

Mathias Strippel, product manager

Mathias Strippel, product manager

Reduces installation costs – stands on its own

“With the new Sunny Tripower CORE1, SMA is proving its leadership in innovation once again. With this 50 kW inverter for commercial systems, we are setting new standards in installations on flat roofs and ground surfaces. The freestanding inverter allows a commercial system to be installed up to 60% more quickly and simultaneously reduces the total cost of ownership considerably. Therefore, the CORE1 has also been nominated for the Intersolar Award.”


3. Sunny Highpower PEAK1

Bernd Haberecht, product manager

Bernd Haberecht, product manager

Combined benefits – central installation with string inverters

“This inverter is the successor to the Sunny Tripower 60 and is based on the system concept featuring the central installation of string inverters in large industrial and ground-based PV systems. With 75 kW of power, the Sunny Highpower Peak1 is ideal for use in PV power plants. Thanks to this system concept, customers have maximum flexibility in system design – combined with significant cost savings.”


4. MVPS 5500SC-EV
Bernhard Voll, product manager

Bernhard Voll, product manager

For PV power plants worldwide – because complete is simply a good thing

“The 5500SC-EV Medium Voltage Power Station is a fully integrated, turnkey solution in ideal block size for large-scale PV power plants. Building on the tried and tested MVPS container technology, SMA has now developed the optimal solution for large-scale PV power plants, in a compact, 40-foot format with all components in one container. Inverter, medium-voltage transformer and switchgear are perfectly matched and type-tested for maximum system safety at minimal cost.”


5. Sunny Boy Storage 3.7/5.0/6.0
Ralf Rietze, product manager

Ralf Rietze, product manager

Battery power times three – ideal for all PV storage systems in the residential sector

“With the new multi-string battery inverters, it is possible for the first time to connect up to three different high-voltage batteries. For connecting larger batteries, the three DC inputs can also be connected in parallel. Uniquely, all new Sunny Boy Storage inverters offer integrated emergency power. In addition, the system can be expanded to supply the entire household with fully automated automatic grid transfer switch. Thanks to AC coupling with proven qualities, the new Sunny Boy Storage is ideally suited to new and retrofit systems, for all households with annual electricity consumption of 3,000 to 12,000 kWh and for PV systems from 3 to 12 kWp.”


6. Sunny Island 4.4M/6.0H/8.0H
Nico Kreutzer, product manager

Nico Kreutzer, product manager

For off-grid and on-grid – with internet-based user interface

“The motto of our new Sunny Island is: TRIED AND TESTED is now even better. The battery inverter is a reliable all-rounder and suitable for flexible use in off-grid and on-grid systems. It enables easy communication and commissioning as a result of integrated WLAN. The new Sunny Island now always has a ten-year warranty and a significantly lower price!”


7. Sunny Central Storage 2200/2500-EV
Johannes Otto, product manager

Johannes Otto, product manager

The storage system for power plants – ensuring network stability

“The new large-scale Sunny Central Storage is the flagship of all SMA battery inverters. As the central component of the SMA system solution for large storage systems, the new Sunny Central Storage 2200/2500-EV battery inverter allows integration of a high level of renewable energies into utility grids with maximum grid stability. With its new properties for grid-forming and black starts, it can be used worldwide in all utility grids.”


Last but not least

In addition to the new products, SMA will be unveiling an entirely new cross-segment energy management platform in Munich. With this solution, SMA aims to offer users Energy Solutions to get the most out of renewable energies. What exactly does this mean? Come and see for yourself at our booth.

A free ticket to Intersolar

Do you want to get a free ticket to Intersolar Europe? If yes, you should answer the question below:

Which SMA product is nominated for the Intersolar AWARD 2017?

Send your response to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are lucky, you will receive tickets via e-mail. You’ll find the SMA booth in Hall 03, Booth 210.


4.80 avg. rating (95% score) - 5 votes


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