Energy Communities – A sustainable model for decentralized energy supply


When producing their own electricity, many owners of photovoltaic systems face the problem of producing too much electricity on sunny days and having too little available on days with little sun. The solution is an energy community that shares surplus electricity among its members.

What is an Energy Community?

The 4 most important points to get started

  • An energy community or electricity community is an association of electricity producers, prosumers and consumers.
  • The electricity which is shared between members of an energy community comes mainly from renewable sources, e.g. from photovoltaic systems
  • The self-produced electricity is shared, used and stored collectively among the members of the energy community.
  • There are two different solutions for electricity storage (physical and virtual)

What factors must an energy community fulfill?

In general, three factors must be fulfilled in order to speak of an energy community:

  • The development and management of a digital platform for the provision and optimisation of decentralised energy supply, whereby supply from renewable sources is prioritised over conventional grid procurement.
  • The creation of a digital network of prosumers and consumers with corresponding participation in decentralised generation, e.g. via tariff structures and marketing resp. sharing mechanisms.
  • The design of a digital marketplace for the provision of further services to the community participants within the framework of the energy community.

What types of Energy Communities are there?

Basically, a distinction is made between physical and virtual communities.

Physical Energy Communities

This type of energy community is often referred to as real storage. The surplus electricity is stored by the members’ own storage facilities as well as in storage solutions from third-party providers that are used jointly by the Energy Community and are connected to form a network.

Virtual Energy Communities

The second type of an energy community is based on virtual electricity storage. If so much electricity is produced that it can neither be consumed completely nor stored locally, it can also be made available to other members in a so-called electricity cloud. This process can also be compared to topping up an account. You load credit onto your electricity account, so to speak, and can in turn draw from it in the event of insufficient electricity production.

A virtual energy community can further be subdivided into regional and cross-regional.

Regional Virtual Energy Community

  • The Energy Community is created by a virtual association of prosumers and consumers within a certain region.
  • Providers of such supply communities are often local energy suppliers or municipal utilities that are further developing their product portfolio in the context of digitalisation.
  • Using appropriate tariff models, prosumers and consumers are linked together to form a community and billed via regular balancing of generation and consumption.
  • There is no compulsory physical connection to the electricity grid.
  • A local community can emerge from a regional virtual community through appropriate metering concepts.

Cross-regional Virtual Energy Community

  • Basically works like the regional virtual community in terms of implementation.
  • However, the connection between prosumers and consumers is not necessarily limited to a certain region, but can be distributed nationally or arise through a certain commonality between the participants, e.g. using the same residential storage model.
  • Providers of such communities are, for example, manufacturers of decentralised generation technology, such as SMA Solar Technologies AG or SENEC.

We at coneva are happy to implement an Energy Community with you and ensure that your energy flows remain traceable thanks to our app and energy landscape. If you are interested, simply get in touch!

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