(Corrects to read solar battery maker, paragraph 1)
* Grid, panel firms in tie-up
* Virtually-linked solar batteries able to store, pool power
* IBM to deliver blockchain technology
* Could cut bills, solve problem of surplus wind power
FRANKFURT, May 2 Grid operator Tennet
IPO-TTH.AS and solar battery maker Sonnen GmbH have launched a
pilot project that will tap home photovoltaic (PV) systems to
help iron out imbalances on Germany's power network.
TenneT and Sonnen's e-Services subsidiary aim to sign up
6,000 household PV producers equipped with storage batteries by
the end of May.
The project will be supported by blockchain technology from
IBM, which works as an inexpensive
transaction-processing system for tracking and recording
It holds potential to link up small energy "prosumers" and
make them independent of centralised power providers.
"A home storage unit for solar power on its own is less
valuable than one that can be used collectively," said Philipp
Schroeder, director of sales and marketing at Bavaria-based
"We will be able to create a big virtual power line. That is
The two partners aim to initially pool 24 megawatts (MW) of
power capacity for TenneT to use as a buffer for variable wind
"Balancing" power is so far handled mainly by traditional
power plants while surplus wind power is often dealt with by
curbing turbine output or throwing output away.
"We want to find out how we can reduce the waste of wind
power by storing it in Sonnen batteries that we can access in
the North while releasing power from solar energy stored at
Sonnen batteries in southern Germany," said Urban Keussen, board
chairman of the board at TenneT's German unit.
Germany currently subsidises renewable power producers with
billions of euros a year, regardless of demand.
Because network development lags far behind, a lot of power
is wasted because the north houses most of Germany's wind
turbines whose output cannot reach industrial users in the
New transport lines, funded via grid fees charged to
consumers, will take years to build.
Schroeder said he saw big potential for solar pv
"communities" filling gaps in the meantime.
Germany has 15 million detached houses and 1.7 million
photovoltaic units, but only 50,000 home storage units.
Should 10 percent of all households use solar plus storage
in 10 years, that would create capacity of some 6 gigawatts of
power, he said, equivalent to six nuclear plants.
(Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Jason Neely)