Solar: When new photovoltaic systems are not allowed to be connected to the grid for months

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Dhe federal government plans to generate at least 80 percent of the electricity consumed in Germany from renewable energies by 2030. But the expansion is faltering – and that has something to do with a piece of paper, the so-called “investment certificate”.

This is proof that the owners of solar areas, whether on field areas or roofs, need to be able to put the systems into operation at all. Since the certification bodies often still carry out the checks manually, it can take months for such investment certificates to be issued.

That’s how long photovoltaic systems that have been built stand unused in the field. In times of energy and climate crisis: actually not such a good idea. Marko Ibsch has therefore developed an AI software called “Gridcert”, which should be able to do this faster.

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With his start-up Carbon Freed, the founder says he has already carried out tests for over 500 solar systems. The program should be able to collect, analyze and evaluate relevant data automatically.

The test results are then forwarded to the official certification bodies that are authorized to issue investment certificates. Carbon Freed cooperates with some such bodies, which in principle only have to look over it.

Instead of having the data analyzed by in-house engineers, who take longer to do it – and are also highly competitive on the market due to the lack of skilled workers. After all, it should take two weeks for operators of solar systems to hold their system certificate in their hands. Instead of six months, for example.

The booming solar power market

Carbon Freed, the start-up based in Meldorf in Schleswig-Holstein, offers this service to solar system builders, installer companies and larger planning companies. Because investment certificates are only necessary if a system has an output of 135 kilowatts per hour. This usually affects larger logistics halls or companies that want to use PV systems for their own electricity needs.

Many companies and private households are currently switching to solar power in order to save on energy costs and be energy self-sufficient. Demand has risen sharply, particularly as a result of the war in Ukraine and high energy prices. According to the Enpal start-up, which provides private individuals with solar panels, demand has tripled since the beginning of the war, the founder said in an interview with the online magazine “Klimareporter”.

With his AI solution, Marko Ibsch wants to help connect solar systems to the grid quickly

With his AI solution, Marko Ibsch wants to help connect solar systems to the grid quickly

When: Tue

Ibsch’s business is also benefiting from the boom in the renewable energy market. Carbon Freed, which he founded single-handedly in 2020, has grown organically from the start. According to the founder, the money from orders carried the business.

In 2022, Carbon Freed generated sales in the high six-digit range. Ibsch has so far rejected inquiries from investors. “I wanted to develop the product closely with the customers, you can’t speed up this process with money,” he explains.

With solar systems against global warming

However, it was not possible without start-up capital. In total, the founder invested around 45,000 euros of his own in the company – to build a team that now consists of 16 members.

Ibsch saved the money from his previous job. He worked for many years as managing director for the DNV group, which also inspects systems for this same certification – but without an AI program.

After his career in the group, he longed for more freedom, leisure time and flexibility. Now he has it. He can choose, for example, whether and when he wants to expand abroad with his company.

After all, Germany is not the only country that will increasingly rely on renewable energies in the future. “The grid requirements in Germany are the same as in the whole of Europe,” he explains.

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Autonomous energy supply

For the future, the founder assumes that the verification process will be even faster, maybe even in real time. If Ibsch has his way, it will be a measure that has been needed for a long time in order to meet the 80 percent target for renewable energies by 2030.

“We really have to step on the gas now,” he says. Not only because solar systems help in the fight against global warming. But also because he thinks of his children.

Ibsch is uncomfortable with the thought that his two daughters, two and five years old, will be born into a world of floods, prolonged droughts and mass exodus. “It’s very frustrating that we left the 1.5 degree path,” he says.

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