A year of solar autarky
Studer and Smartsuna share their feedback from the field after the first year of implementation of the solar autarky concept for residential applications in Switzerland. More than 400 turn-key installations representing 6 MW of power, 10MWh of storage capacity and a budget around 30M CHF. The solar autarky concept has been very well welcomed by the houseowners. Up to 85% of energy autonomy, independency from price fluctuations and securing their energy supply are the main factors accompanied by the solar mobility. In 2023, the autarky concept expands to buildings and SMEs. A new application to popularize the autarky model and a future virtual power plan business model, the Swiss made autarky concept drafts a potential market of 100M CHF per year where homeowners, public organism, real-state, and SMEs can contribute to the energy transition.
2022 has been a year of great debate around energy in Switzerland as in many other places around the world. The politic agenda oriented towards the preparation of emergency plans in case of potential energy shortages. In Q4 2022 a general electricity price increase was announced. This has created many uncertainties for homeowners and how the situation should impact their energy supply.
Also in 2022, the electric mobility kept boosting, with a market that has doubled in Europe according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). In Switzerland the heat pump technology has quadrupled since 2010 and represents 75% of the heating solutions installed in residential applications since the last decade (source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office FSO). The electrification of end-use consumption is a trend representing an important electrical demand increase for houseowners in order to be more efficient in terms of their energy consumption and align with their willingness of reducing their carbon footprint.
With that situation, many houseowners have questioned themselves what should be their energy strategy for the next years. Studer and Smartsuna introduced in 2022 a new concept of solar autarky that has been very successful.
Your house, your own electrical production site
With most of the solar installers proposing standard solar rooftops installations, the energy is produced just during the time the demand is lower for residential applications. Without storage, the excess of non-used energy is re-sold back to the grid at a low price. During the night all the energy is taken from the grid. In addition, this solution does not provide backup during a blackout.
With a smart solar autarky installation, the client benefits from a battery that stores the non-used energy, providing a great flexibility in the use. In case of grid failure, the system continues to supply energy. An annual autarky rate between 60-85% is easily achievable and the impact of fluctuation in electricity prices is therefore negligible.
The autarkic home
With a system consisting of around 15-20kW of solar rooftop, between 15-30 kWh of batteries and 1 next3 16kW 3-phase smart inverter, a house becomes autonomous in terms of electricity. With an initial investment that can go up to 2 times the cost of a standard solar system, mostly because of the initial cost of the storage, a homeowner can ensure the electrical supply for the next decades, with an electrical bill close to 0. Investment return rates below 10 years are easily achievable, with the support of regional subsidies and tax deductions. Furthermore, the power electronics are 100% Swiss Made by Studer, a very powerful device ready for the new market applications, with an extraordinary 15-year warranty period and reparable for the peace of mind of the clients.
Another differential factor is that combining an autarkic home with the electric mobility, the houseowners benefit from a solar pump directly at home. This is a game changer especially in terms of transportation and ecological cost replacing a thermal combustion car.
365 days, four seasons feedback from the field
Many bright indicators from the above were collected during the several installations of autarkic homes in the French-speaking Switzerland implemented by Smartsuna in 2022.
Autarky rates of 98% in two autumn days (17-18/10) with solar energy supplying 200km of solar mobility (30kWh), 28kWh of direct energy consumption and 24kWh of energy fed back to the grid, with a tariff that will compensate the energy consumed from the grid on less sunny winter days.
Several owners are surprised to learn that their existing solar installation stops working in the event of a power cut. 20% of Smartsuna projects in 2022 consisted of installing a next3 and storage in order to switch to the solar autarky.
The autarky model for buildings and SMEs
The success of the residential solar autarky has served to raise awareness also for public organisms, real-state and SMEs, which are confronted to the same energy scenario.
The first 100% autarkic demonstration industrial and educational site in Switzerland, the AutarCity project will consist of 3000 m2 of solar rooftop and 6 next3 with batteries to supply the Studer factory and a municipal childcare facility and secure the production in case of interruptions in the electrical supply.
“Solar autarky will allow us to decarbonize our factory. We will be able to meet the market’s expectations by moving from the proven model of the autarkic solar house to the autarkic factory.” Loic Viret CEO of Studer Innotec. “A real demonstrator to motivate our clients to contribute to the energy transition and join the solar autarky” Julien Morard CEO of Smartsuna.
Julien Morard CEO Smartsuna, Loïc Viret, CEO Studer Innotec © Sedrik Nemeth
A bright future ahead of us
In Switzerland we are fortunate to have one of the most powerful solar sector in the world. The Swiss innovation DNA as igniter of several startups and SMEs proposals for the future of the energy supply. The company 3S has been developing and producing solar modules in Switzerland for more than 20 years. At the forefront of technology, integrated solar solutions over the entire surface of any building envelope. Studer Innotec manufactures in Switzerland since more than 35 years the top-leading power electronics for offgrid installations around the globe. An example of a 100% Swiss made solution to secure our energy supply in the next decades.
The autarky model brings a wide range of options. Smartsuna is introducing an application to popularize the autarky model and approach it to everyone. The Smartsuna model is being developed in other neighboring countries such as France, Germany and Spain. And Studer team is already drafting the next business application of the autarky model. By grouping several autarky installations in a virtual power plant (VPP) it is possible to participate in the grid management and bring a powerful, innovative asset with full flexibility.
2023 is the year to validate the autarky model also for buildings and SMEs. A great step towards the energy transition, Studer and Smartsuna bring their Swiss made autarky concept to a potential market of 100M CHF per year where homeowners, public organism, real-state, and SMEs can contribute to the energy transition.
Studer is a manufacturer of high-end power electronics for off-grid, on-grid and hybrid applications. World leader in its domain, Studer has been offering reliable solutions for more than 35 years. The last power conversion equipment manufacturer with 100% of the production chain in Europe.
A startup created by Studer, providing digital and engineering services to facilitate access to the autarky technology for the general public, but also for companies wishing to shift their way of consuming and/or producing electrical energy.
Loïc Viret, CEO Studer Innotec and founder member of the board of directors of Smartsuna
firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 79 737 03 68
Julien Morard, CEO Smartsuna
email@example.com, +41 79 274 67 17
Studer Innotec SA
rue des Casernes 57, 1950 Sion, Switzerland
firstname.lastname@example.org │+41 27 205 60 80
rue des Casernes 57, 1950 Sion, Switzerland
email@example.com │+41 27 205 60 80