In recent months, we have discussed the grid connection process (Netzanmeldeprozess) for solar systems in Germany with many solar installers. For installation companies that install 10+ PV systems per week and across Germany, the grid registration process is a very complex process. And even for smaller companies, the process is annoying. But why actually? In this post, we will answer that question and cover:
- An intro to grid operators in Germany
- An overview of the current grid connection process and its pain points
- An outlook of the grid connection process in the future
An intro to grid operators in Germany
In Germany, there are over 800 different grid operators (“Netzanmelder”) in Germany who are responsible for the local feed-in to the grid and for maintaining the energy grid. Therefore, they are currently facing an enormous and complex challenge with the flood of new small power plants such as PV systems. However, the grid connection process increases the complexity due to a lack of standardization.
An overview of the current grid connection process and its pain points
Depending on the grid operator, the grid connection process is somewhat different. Large installation companies therefore usually have to do the following:
Identification of the responsible grid operator
This is usually done using the customer’s postcode, unless you already know the grid operator for the relevant postcode by heart.
Look up desired information
Which information and how the grid operator needs this information differs depending on the grid operator. The VDE (Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) is trying to create a standard. However, this standard is often not met.
Enter information manually
The required information (e.g. information about the inverter) often has to be compiled from different sources such as the CRM, asset management system and from the installation documentation. Today, this is still often done very manually.
There are different ways to transfer the desired information to the network operator, depending on the network operator. Most often it is either by post (yes, you’re reading correctly), by an e-mail that includes a .pdf as an attachement, or via an online portal of the grid operator.
Complete the grid connection process
The grid operator checks the grid feed-in and reports back after a while – if there are no further questions.
Even these 5 steps are just a simplification of the current process. We have left out sub-steps, such as entry in the market master data register for example. That’s why we ask ourselves the question: how do we manage to accelerate the energy transition in Germany when the grid connection process takes so much time for installers of renewable energy sources?
An outlook of the grid connection process in the future
We at Kwest, and also many installation companies, would like more standardization. The implementation of the standardization of grid connection processes according to EEG2023 is a good step, because grid operators must provide a portal for grid connection from 2025. However, we would wish if there were a portal with only one interface (API). Kwest can already help installers to automatically create documents and branded reports with data coming from different systems.
The worst that can happen now is that every grid operators will build its own portal. Then we would end up with more than 800 portals, each with its own interface. This would lead to a lot of unnecessary work for installation companies which even we cannot solve alone.