simon – A mini power station for all
Using photovoltaics to generate power is nothing new. However, many people do not have the option of generating their own electricity. The standard system and feed-in models make this form of energy production inaccessible to normal home owners or tenants. With this target group in mind, Simon Niederkircher and Michael Galhaup have created the first full plug-in photovoltaic system.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times, and it is a scientific fact that humans are one main cause. According to the agreement drafted at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, global warming may not exceed the level of 1.5 degrees Celsius in place before the start of industrialisation. In order to achieve this goal, by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial nations must be reduced by up to 95% compared to 1990. An essential element if this is to succeed is the energy transition, in other words, the transfer from the use of fossil energy sources and nuclear energy to sustainable, renewable energy supplies. In urban areas in particular, many people who may wish to make a contribution of their own are prevented from producing energy themselves. With the simon mini power station, sustainable electricity can be produced at home and fed into people’s own networks, thereby enabling them to make their own personal contribution to the energy transition. At the same time, simon is a step towards self-determination in terms of energy supply and the democratisation of the energy system. Simon Niederkircher and Michael Galhaup from “homemade.energy GmbH” have taken a creative approach to solving this problem. Together, they have developed simon: the first plug-in photovoltaic system. This mini power station converts sunlight into electricity, with a peak capacity of 150 watts. simon weighs 14 kilogrammes and with its dimensions of 138 x 69 centimetres is easy to handle. This makes it suitable for installation in urban and rural areas, on balconies or terraces, in the garden or on a window. Users can then generate their own power at home, and direct it straight from the plug into their own power network.
Unpack. Mount. Plug in. A power station can be so easy.
The power station for home use, which has been financed through crowdfunding, provides a piece of independence on an electricity market dominated by large energy providers. Niederkirchner and Galhaup are therefore also aiming to contribute towards creating a more democratic, self-determining energy system. At the same time, the product with its high-capacity solar cells, which is produced in Austria almost exclusively from recyclable materials, leaves the smallest possible carbon footprint. simon therefore gives users the chance of making their personal contribution to the energy transition.
The first ever plug-in photovoltaic system
For apartments, traditional photovoltaic systems are not usually feasible. Their large size and bulk means that they are not suitable for mounting onto roofs or larger green areas. This is precisely what simon hopes to change, making solar energy user-friendly, even for apartment tenants. It achieves this through its size and structure. The successful crowdfunding project run by oekostrom AG, which financed the project implementation via the “1000×1000” platform in the summer of 2015, has demonstrated that there is a high level of interest in new forms of autonomous energy production of this kind. In order to be able to connect this miniature photovoltaic system directly into the socket, an inverter has been integrated, since photovoltaic cells generally produce direct current. This direct current is converted into high-quality alternating current by means of the integrated converter. At the same time, the alternating current ensures that the power can be emitted directly to the plug socket at a voltage and frequency suitable for household appliances.
Since electric power always seeks out the shortest path, the self-generated power flows through the plug via the in-house power lines to the electrical appliances plugged in there. With a peak capacity of 150 watts, simon generates enough power to cook lunch for two people, for example, or brew 35 cups of coffee. The 32 monocrystalline solar cells used for simon, each with a size of 156 x 156 millimetres, are all produced locally using recyclable materials. This means that the home photovoltaic system saves on 63 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, and leaves no radioactive waste. This makes simon a building block in the much-needed energy transition process, which can be used by anyone, and which involves just three steps: unpack, mount, and plug in.
Simon Niederkircher und Michael Galhaup
simon – Das Mini Kraftwerk