TOKYO Dec 4 Japan's Toshiba Corp will
tie up with German real estate company Gagfah SAS to
sell energy directly to residents in Germany, people close to
the matter told Reuters.
Beginning in March 2014 in two towns in south Germany,
Toshiba will fit solar panels on residential properties owned by
Gagfah and feed the power generated directly into homes,
supplemented with other energy sources to ensure stable
supplies, the sources said.
Bypassing the grid should enable Toshiba to cut costs and
offer energy at a lower price to consumers without relying on
subsidies known as feed-in-tarriffs, a selling point in Germany
where a shift away from nuclear power to renewable energy
sources has caused a rise in electricity bills.
The sources said it was the first case of a solar-panel
maker selling power directly to customers and bypassing the
grid, a claim that couldn't immediately be verified.
The sources said Toshiba aims to reach a capacity of 100
megawatts with solar power and generate revenues of 19 billion
yen ($184 million) to 24 billion yen ($233 million) from the
installation of the infrastructure and sale of electricity in
the next three years.
Investors would fund the solar panels and their installation
and sell the power they produced back to Toshiba, which would
take the place of an energy utility and sell it directly to
consumers at a lower price than that of the grid.
Gagfah, one of Germany's largest real estate companies with
around 145,000 properties, announced a pilot of the project with
Toshiba in February in the town of Ostfildren, near Stuttgart.
Sources said Toshiba will fit solar panels on 700 residences
in Ostfildren and the nearby town of Villingen-Schwenningen
starting in March. Storage batteries will be added to the local
network once it has grown sufficiently.
Toshiba hopes to expand the scheme to Italy and parts of
Asia, the sources said, including Thailand, Malaysia and
Indonesia to either pose a cheaper alternative to schemes using
subsidies or to provide energy to areas outside the existing
($1 = 102.9850 Japanese yen)
(Editing by William Mallard and Aaron Sheldrick)