Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Thijs Haselhoff, New Business Development Manager at Althen Sensors & Controls, talks to PES about the latest sensor solutions for offshore windfarms, and how the newest Quick Connect feature for fibre optic sensors makes instrumenting offshore as easy as ABC. PES: Welcome to PES Wind. Can you briefly introduce your company? Thijs Haselhoff: Altheris Sensors & Controls BV (Member of the Althen Sensors & Controls group) is your specialized partner for sensors, instrumentation, measurement systems and industrial joysticks. We offer solutions for OEM, Test & Measurement, Industrial Automation, and IoT Applications. We turn every measurement challenge into a sensor solution. PES: Please can you tell us about Althen Sensors & Controls and the partnership with Opsens Solutions? TH: Roughly three years ago, we started a partnership with Opsens Solutions to be their sensor expert partner in Western Europe. Opsens is a leader in the development of fibre optic sensors based on White Light Polarisation Interferometry (WLPI). Together with them we developed the best custom sensor solutions for the European market. The WLPI fibre optic solutions are immune to EMI, lightning, temperature and RF. Also the sensors have no drift over time and they are temperature independent which make them perfect for long term monitoring applications

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In this, the third of four articles, we will examine the rope access, work positioning and enclosed space entry capabilities of ActSafe Powered winches. In wind energy, it is imperative that maintenance and construction personnel can reach their place of work and perform tasks as efficiently as possible to reduce work time and get tasks completed during available weather windows. Powered ascenders allow easy, quick and efficient access to all areas of a wind turbine that have previously proven difficult to access. Although many tasks can be performed by alternate access methods such as access platforms, most areas of a wind turbine are more easily reached using a powered winch. Rope access ActSafe Powered Ascenders have become the go to product for rope access technicians contracting to the wind energy industry. Powered Ascenders augment traditional rope access techniques to allow workers to reach areas of the wind turbine for blade inspection, repair and tower cleaning tasks. Once ropes are established, it is equally viable to work from ‘bottom up’ as ‘top down’ which doubles the efficiency and speed of work. The reduction of physical effort means more actual work can be performed and the risk of accidents reduced with a subsequent reduction in fatigue. Technicians

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Trojan brings power to the northern state of Choco, located in western Colombia, in the Municipality of Acandi, an area that is mainly jungle, along the Caribbean Sea bordering Panama. This region is in a remote area of the country that is not tied to an electrical grid. The Colombian government issued a mandate to expand the availability of electricity to the remote area of Acandi by building five solar hybrid installations, or microgrids. Acandi is mostly jungle, located on the Caribbean Sea bordering Panama, and its remoteness made it impossible to effectively connect to the country’s main electrical grid. These communities were forced to rely on diesel generators which only provided power for a few hours each day. The government decided to improve electricity service to the communities using state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic technology with energy storage powered by advanced deep-cycle batteries. One of the greatest incentives to installing these microgrids was to reduce the use of diesel fuel. Not only were the generators loud and emitted pollutants, but because the area can only be accessed by boat, the cost to transport fuel is prohibitively high. Also, when a generator broke down, the community would have to go without electricity until someone could

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We are hearing more and more about solutions for making electricity available in remote locations. PES finds out about the latest revolutionary modular energy system, which might overcome the challenges of delivering electricity to rural areas. Power-Blox is the first scalable energy product that uses ‘Swarm Power’ and is capable of both storing and distributing electricity from a variety of inputs. Power-Blox is the first modular solar energy system to offer alternating current up to the kilowatt range, based on swarm technology. This revolutionary concept also frees the supply to be completely mobile, serving as a portable outlet wherever it is required. Stäubli Electrical Connectors, the specialist in advanced contact technology and Power-Blox, the award-winning start-up, signed a strategic partnership and will together offer efficient solutions for energy storage and off-grid systems. This future-oriented partnership will develop innovative solutions for next-level autonomous power supplies. The intelligent Power-Blox cubes are scalable, flexible and independent and can be used for a number of applications. At its simplest, a single Power-Blox 200 series cube and solar panel can function as an off-grid power supply, with the unit’s integrated 1.2 kilowatt-hour battery and 230 V AC/200 W inverter providing enough electricity to run a small fridge,

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It is clear that the solar revolution is sweeping across the globe, with or without governmental incentives. Particularly in North America, the largest job creator in the past year has been singularly the solar industry. But a deeper analysis reveals that most of the growth over the past decade has been in utility-scale sector, although certain states like California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania lead the way in residential sector as well. Even in these states, if we look a bit deeper into the residential sector, we find that most of the penetration has been in the mid to upper echelons of society, while leaving out the vast majority of low income communities. Thus, in a sense, solar is still the playground of the rich, in spite of drastically falling costs in the industry, and significant federal, and state level incentives. Consequently, the affordable housing residents do not have an opportunity to enjoy the savings due to solar installations, nor the health benefits of clean power. To make matters worse, most of the coal plants are located close to low income communities. We don’t need to look far to find out the reasons for this situation; the residents of low income communities cannot

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Dr Ganesan Visvabharathy, founder CEO of Solar Micronics Incorporated, shares his enthusiasm for providing clean energy to low income families with PES. The company has a wide portfolio, in a variety of areas and so brings a plethora of skills and expertise to the solar market. PES: We are pleased to welcome you to PES Solar/PV. Would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of your organisation and how you currently serve the solar/PV industry? Dr Ganesan Visvabharathy: My background is electrical engineering, but I spent most of the past 27 years developing real estate. But, the great recession of 2008 made me focus on a burgeoning solar industry, with the bottom having fallen out of the real estate market. We started Solar Micronics in late 2009. Historically, we have focused providing clean energy for commercial and industrial sector. Our operation base is Chicago, Illinois. Over the last years, Illinois hasn’t been known for solar, but the recent fixing of the state’s renewable portfolio (standards RPS) is changing all that. Illinois is now poised to be the third largest solar market in US, with the recently announced changes to the renewable energy credit (REC) program. A bit more

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Schneider Electric and AdSolar collaborated to build a unique solution giving energy independence and self-sustainability to a high end residential estate development in South Africa using a community level centralized storage with decentralized power generation. Background At a time of rolling black-outs on the South African electricity grid, AdSolar was tasked with designing a power solution for 11 new homes in a luxury estate development in the Upper Highway area of Durban’s western suburbs. The goal was to provide power generation, delivery and security without compromising the homeowners’ lifestyle. Given the complexity of the project, AdSolar selected a solution from Schneider Electric’s broad range of solar technologies to meet their client’s needs. The cost of grid power in South Africa is ever increasing to allow utilities to maintain and expand their distribution networks and generation capacity. This increase in power costs in South Africa combined with deteriorating grid stability is pushing more consumers to want to take control and go off-grid. Rolling black-outs leave homes in South Africa exposed to the risk of crime, food decaying in fridges and freezers or simply the inconvenience of power going off when you need it most (in the middle of preparing your meals, showers in the morning,

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With the productive use of renewable energy it is possible to accelerate clean energy access to rural areas. The Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) explains how to PES. 1.1 billion people live without access to electricity and approximately 87% of these live in rural areas characterised by remoteness and sparse population density, where the extension of national grids is often technically difficult, costly and inefficient.1 In contrast, decentralised electricity generation and distribution through smaller and more local systems such as mini-grids and stand-alone systems, also called off-grid systems, are in most cases the more competitive solution. While off-grid renewable energy is used for various consumption purposes such as lighting, access to information, comfort and entertainment, it is not sufficient by itself to trigger development in rural areas: the usage of energy should be aligned in such a way that it will trigger economic development through enhancement of income generation for the local population. Hence, the Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE) could be defined as “agricultural, commercial and industrial activities, powered by renewable energy sources, which generate income.”2 Triple bottom line sustainable business The Alliance for Rural Electrification, which is the only industry partner association of the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEforAll),

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PES caught up with Brad Berwald, Morningstar Product Manager, to learn all about their new product designed for domestic, rural use. Another company in our industry who is experiencing growth and positive global reception of its products with more to come. PES: We are pleased to welcome you back to PES Solar/PV. For the benefit of our new readers would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of your organisation and how you currently serve the solar/PV industry? Brad Berwald: Morningstar is a US based company. Since 1993, we have been designing and supplying high quality solar charge controllers, to regulate battery charging in off-grid systems, throughout the world. This includes remote telecommunications, oil & gas, lighting, traffic, railroad, surveillance, residential, and many other applications where grid connectivity is not economically viable and solar power is the best solution. Over the years, we’ve experienced steady growth and now we offer over 50 product SKU’s including off-grid inverters and accessories that complement our solar charge controllers. PES: We have been reading about your EcoPulse™ solar charge controller, could you explain to us what it is and how it works? BB: The EcoPulse is our latest pulse width modulation (PWM) charge controller. It

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PES was pleased to have the opportunity follow up and find out about the latest updates to KUBUS and the M10 Solar Campus, with Gregor Reddeman, the CEO at M10 Industries AG. Things are still looking good, with expansion and innovation continuing well in to 2018. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine. Thanks for talking with us. For our new readers would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of M10 and how you currently serve the solar/PV industry? Gregor Reddemann: M10 Industries AG specialises in developing and producing highly efficient state-of-the-art cell connecting automation equipment. Based in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, in the so called Solar Valley, our young dynamic team of skilled engineers and technicians face this challenge under the leadership of solar pioneers of Günter Schneidereit, Reinhard Willi and myself Gregor Reddemann. Our M10 Solar Campus incorporates our development and technology centre, production and material testing, including preliminary acceptance, 24/7 service support and service. This enables us to provide our customers with ideal solutions. Our performance areas are perfectly synchronised to suit each other’s needs. This is achieved through the close connection to our subsidiary, SI Module – our module manufacturer, in a cutting edge

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