Energy storage: Heating and electricity are coming together
Karlheinz Reitze is head of the new Viessmann division for PV and electrical systems.
You are in charge of Viessmann’s new PV + E-systems division. What exactly is involved in that?Karlheinz Reitze: The new division is intended to focus on the introduction of intelligent generation and consumption of electricity to building services. What was the heating division will be extended. The customers’ opportunities for becoming mostly self-sufficient will expand. We want to offer various packages to our customers and the installing companies, from entry-level to all-encompassing systems: always focussed on the customers and their needs.
What groups of customers do you have in mind?We are thinking of solar technicians, electrical installation engineers and the sanitary, heating and air conditioning companies that cooperate with electrician’s companies or have staff competent in installation. Electricity now is an essential part of building services. For a house of the KfW-40 standard, storage batteries are mandatory. Hot water generation and ventilation are closely connected to PV. In order for the variety of systems to actually work efficiently and conveniently requires a smart energy management system, which should be able to be controlled via a mobile device like a smart phone or a tablet computer.
Customers are demanding more and more independence. Is that a trend you also see?More than that. For instance, it will also be about utilising over-capacities from the power grid in building services. This can and will bring about economic benefits for the users. PV is available during the summer and in the winter we will see a surplus of wind power. Such offerings can be made use of through storage batteries, electric vehicles, thermal storage systems or direct consumption in the building.
Are you providing the equipment to completely run a building on electricity?We have outfitted some show homes so that they run entirely on electricity. For newly built houses and for companies selling prefab homes that will become significant. For existing buildings, electrical and thermic systems will complement each other. We currently offer about 90 percent of the components needed for a fully electrical energy supply. For instance, we will introduce electrical underfloor heating or electrical water heaters to our product range.
But it is not just about supplying the building. Installing companies increasingly provide their customers with electric chargers for cars and other vehicles. What do you offer in terms of electric mobility?Electric mobility is increasingly calling for fuel cells that take care of the charging during the night. With our Vitovalor 300-P, Viessmann have had an electricity-producing heating system, produced at scale, in our product range since 2014. In combination with PV and stationary storage batteries, this can be used to build a variety of electrical systems. But we even go beyond that:
The company Digital Energy Solutions – a 50/50 joint venture of Viessmann and BMW – will increasingly offer electricity products. To start with, our colleagues at Digital Energy Solutions have issued an electricity tariff for heat generation – for heat pumps or for thermal storage.
The joint venture will soon also offer concepts for charging points that will be controlled through the energy management system. 80 percent of vehicles that are charged at home spend most of the day at the workplace. This calls for systems that allow the feeding of electricity back into the building. Bi-directional charging systems are coming and will dominate this market.