The market for storage systems is booming and the number of markets is growing – both in Germany and around the world. Storage systems are the basis for a wide range of innovations, from technical hardware to climate-friendly solutions, that help end customers achieve their desire for self-sufficiency. Aurélie Alemany, Managing Director of SENEC GmbH, spoke with us about technical developments and the trend towards new, comprehensive energy solutions.
Ms. Alemany, you took over as managing director at SENEC GmbH last October. What are your goals?
At SENEC, we are looking to provide our customers with a sustainable energy supply and play an active role in the energy transition. We want to do our part to make sure that the infrastructure available to end customers for exploiting renewables becomes the key to a sustainable energy future.
What do you expect in terms of market developments – not just for SENEC, but in general? What will the German storage device market look like in ten years’ time?
In 2020, the market for storage systems experienced very strong growth, even though the Covid-19 pandemic made it a particularly challenging year. There is, however, a clear trend, which is not just limited to 2020: I’m referring to the trend towards self-sufficiency – and storage devices play an essential role when it comes to enabling our customers to become self-sufficient. That’s why I firmly believe that the German storage device market will continue to see strong growth over the coming years. And of course, SENEC wants to be part of this growth.
Along with the desire for self-sufficiency, there are two other trends driving growth in the storage market: First, storage systems are now economically viable – which maybe wasn’t the case ten years ago. This has been proven. In Germany, the rate of self-consumption a decade ago was very low. Today, it is at least 70 percent. That’s the first trend.
The second aspect is that remuneration for electricity fed into the grid is ultimately declining, while purchasing electricity from the grid is growing more and more expensive. So we are observing another trend here: the economic viability of storage devices is constantly improving. While these two trends will certainly weigh differently in different households, they have been proven.
It’s not just the storage market that has experienced considerable growth. Progress has also been made in terms of storage technology. Which technologies do you find particularly exciting at this point? In which direction will the technology develop?
I believe there are two aspects to this topic. Of course, major progress has been made in terms of storage technology itself. New storage systems are definitely more efficient – which in turn helps us market this technology even more successfully. Battery recycling is also becoming more and more important. Ultimately, we are already addressing this issue – just like the automotive industry. And of course, the size and energy density of storage devices is also a key issue.
The idea behind all of this is that the market will develop in such a way that sustainability will be viewed holistically. In other words, we are talking about self-sufficient electricity generation for households as well as the connection between e-heat and e-mobility. This will place additional demands on storage devices. We need an ever greater energy density and ever larger storage systems so that we can balance all of these demands. This is what is driving development work in storage technology.
The other aspect I mentioned involves product innovation that goes beyond technical components. The issue is not just how storage systems can be connected with e-mobility and e-heat. The issue is the creation of a holistic energy management system. I find that exciting. We want to offer our customers holistic solutions, such as SENEC 360°. And there are a lot of innovations to come over the next few years.
What is the concept behind your 360° solution?
We like to say that we offer a product that covers everything from the basement to the rooftop. That means that we look at the whole house and are positioning ourselves as more than just a storage device manufacturer. Our portfolio is not limited to storage solutions and photovoltaic products, we also offer our customers electricity products and further services, such as access to e-mobility through a wall box or access to charging points provided by our parent company, the EnBW HyperNet. In other words, we explicitly view our business as a comprehensive solution that helps our customers achieve self-sufficiency.
Does the SENEC.Cloud also play a role in this concept? How does it work?
Our cloud product can best be explained by comparing it to an electricity account: Any excess solar power that is not used immediately or stored in a domestic storage system is credited to an energy account, which our customers can access to charge their electric vehicle at any time. Again, the underlying idea is self-sufficiency – that’s what we want to offer to our customers.
Do you think that this desire to become self-sufficient is one reason why cloud solutions are gaining in popularity in Germany?
Our SENEC.Cloud is a prime example. It enables self-sufficiency – and with it the satisfaction that comes with using your own electricity. Indeed, it has been a great success for us. In recent months, we have also created some additional cloud services, such as Family & Friends and our Cloud-to-go package. We are striving to make these products more and more attractive and to foreground self-sufficiency.