Can you be economical and yet generous?

Economical and clean

One option is called "electricity from the neighborhood". Energy cooperatives like HEG in Heidelberg show how this works. If you want, you can become a member here for as little as 100 euros, invest in renewable energies and benefit twice: from cheap solar power and the profits that are made with excess energy. "It's the cooperative principle," explains Andreas Gißler from the HEG, "what one cannot do alone, many can do."

The start-up eFriends in Austria works according to this motto, the concept is called sharing technology. It is designed to personally bring those who generate electricity together with those who need it. For example, the Weber family, who are building a large solar system on the roof of their winery, but cannot bear the costs on their own, and the Poller family from the neighboring village, who need electricity. The eFriends turn it into a win-win situation: For a one-time investment, bollards receive electricity free of charge for six years and then at a price that is not even half the usual market price. They also get the investment back in the form of wine vouchers. Thanks to a technology that is unique in the world, the eFriends-Watch, both sides are connected in real time. This special clock shows the Poller family when their electricity friends are generating free energy for them and can then use this specifically.

The energy-saving concept of EnergieRevolte from Düren is also unique and smart. It works with prepaid electricity. A monthly bookable budget helps to keep consumption and costs under control and to avoid blockages, while the associated app shows the current consumption every quarter of an hour. The Uhlmann family has saved 30 euros a month since they started using prepaid electricity. "You don't have to be afraid," says Frank Uhlmann, "that at the end of the year or at the beginning of the year shortly after Christmas the big, fat back payment will come."