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The Sun Shines on Toshiba's New Solar Apartments

Solar Apartments

Late last year, Toshiba announced plans to utilize a new business model in Germany under which it will install and operate self-consumption solar power systems for residents of apartment communities. The plan is to sell the power to the residents of these rental units at a lower price than utility companies do. The system will be comprised of batteries and the µEMS micro energy management system. Toshiba is on track to launch this system in March and install 3 MW of solar panels for 750 apartments operated by GAGFAH, a German real estate company in Villingen-Schwenningen and Ostfildern.  All of the apartment communities are located in Baden-Wurttemberg. In addition, Toshiba hopes to increase capacity from 3 MW at the beginning to 100 MW by 2016.

This is reminiscent of the business model such solar leasing firms as SolarCity, Sunrun, and others use. Residents can call these firms, have them install solar panels at no initial cost, and then pay a fraction of what their electricity bill used to be for the solar-generated power. So far, though, these companies have serviced only single-family homes with their own roofs. This is why Toshiba's entry into the realm of apartments, to be funded and owned by a group of pension funds, is potentially huge.

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