Toshiba to Battle EON, RWE With Solar Power in German Apartments

Toshiba Corp. will enter the German solar-energy market, seeking to sell electricity to residents of apartment buildings at cheaper rates than those of utilities.

Toshiba from March will team up with Gagfah SA, the second-biggest owner of German residences, to fit solar facilities to buildings in Villingen-Schwenningen and Ostfildern, it said in a statement on its website today. Toshiba will build 3 megawatts initially and plans to raise that to 100 megawatts by 2016.

Germany has “recently seen higher electricity bills every year, along with a lower feed-in price for surplus solar power,” the Tokyo-based company said. “Toshiba is responding with a new on-site consumption model that will operate independently of the feed-in tariff system, and that is expected to reduce the burden on the regional grid and the environment.”

Building solar plants to provide electricity for residents is increasingly lucrative in Europe’s biggest energy market as household power prices have risen to be the second-highest in the European Union, data from Eurostat shows. Utilities such as EON SE and RWE AG and EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG are among the biggest providers of power in Germany.

Toshiba will buy power in the wholesale market when the solar plants don’t produce, for example at night, and sell it to residents at the same rate as the solar power, it said. The company eventually plans to add batteries and energy-management systems to deliver solar power day and night, Toshiba said.

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