SWARMENERGY

One Year of `ZuhauseStrom´ – a Great Feeling

Tenants in Berlin-Hellersdorf are able to benefit from tenant electricity ´ZuhauseStrom`, Picture: STADT UND LAND
Tenants in Berlin-Hellersdorf are able to benefit from tenant electricity ´ZuhauseStrom`, Picture: STADT UND LAND

LichtBlick’s ‘ZuhauseStrom’ tenant electricity product has been available for a year now. It allows tenants to directly source electricity produced on site. The energy can come from a solar panel on the roof or a combined heat and power unit in the cellar, for instance. Around 3,000 tenants in Berlin-Hellersdorf are able to benefit from tenant electricity. Photovoltaics systems generate environmentally friendly electricity directly on the roof and supply it to tenants. If the sun’s not shining at the moment or additional electricity is required, the residents receive 100 percent green energy from LichtBlick.

Heidi Lube has been a ‘ZuhauseStrom’ customer from the very start. We talked to her one year into the project.

Our electricity is generated directly on our roof

You’ve been using electricity generated directly on your roof for a year now – has anything changed?
No, not really. We already kept a close eye on how we were using electricity. But it is a great feeling knowing that our electricity is generated directly on our roof and we now know exactly where it comes from.

What made you choose the ‘ZuhauseStrom’ plan?
We’d been considering changing our electricity provider for some time. The offer from LichtBlick came at just the right time. And it’s a great project – we not only receive green energy, but it comes directly from our roof. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Has your behavior regarding how you use energy changed? For instance, do you now try to use energy when the sun’s shining?
Well, I work during the day, so it’s not very easy to organize my energy consumption based on the weather. But since we’ve been using ‘ZuhauseStrom,’ we’re more aware of the fact that environmentally friendly electricity is produced on our roof. And whenever the sun’s shining, I think to myself: The solar panels are generating electricity. The whole topic of renewable energy is simply much more present.

Due to the lower grid fees, ‘ZuhauseStrom’ is more affordable than many other electricity plans. Is that something you notice in your electricity bill?
Yes. At the beginning, we paid up to 10 euros less a month. Now we save about five euros with ‘ZuhauseStrom.’ That’s because of changes to the German Renewable Energy Act. Because of that, we tenants now have to pay the full reallocation charge again.

Politicians don’t even want to support tenants like us

That’s right. The German Renewable Energy Act amendment last year has made the situation worse for tenants than for homeowners, who are still exempt from the German Renewable Energy Act reallocation charge because they have smaller photovoltaics systems on their roofs. Tenants, on the other hand, are not. Has this become more of an issue for you since you started using ‘ZuhauseStrom’?
Sometimes I have the feeling that politicians don’t even want to support tenants like us. We don’t have a big lobby behind us like the industry does. So, yes, it has become a real issue for me. I even follow the discussions about high-voltage transmission lines. I’m not entirely sure, but can that really be environmentally friendly?

When it comes to energy, I think we should question the status quo and not just do things the way they’ve always been done. It’s about finding new solutions for using and storing energy.

Im Gelben Viertel liefern PV-Anlage den Strom, der direkt vor Ort verbraucht wird, Foto: STADT UND LAND
Photovoltaics systems generate environmentally friendly electricity directly on the roof, Picture: STADT UND LAND

We need to conserve our resources

When you talk about new solutions, what do you imagine the energy supply will be like in 10 to 20 years?
I hope that, by then, renewable energy will be used all over the world and that we’re more conscious about how we use energy. But electricity is just one aspect. I’d like to use geothermal heat in our apartment in a few years. We need to conserve our resources. Do we really need to fly somewhere for vacation three times a year?

And who knows, there just might be some sustainable energy sources we haven’t even tapped yet.


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