Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

It might sound like bringing sand to the beach, but in the PV sector a lot of friction inside business processes is still accepted. Looking at business processes in PV, several fields and several players can be identified. We at PES were intrigued by this statement from Stefan Wagner, Head of Marketing & Sales at Levasoft and asked him to expand on this. With the exception of the end-customer, all participants of a value chain in PV seem to accept a lot of friction inside the processes and thus an extended time-frame in delivering results. Planners satisfied When we started the development of Solar.Pro.Tool in 2010 at Levasoft, we were aware, that there was no integrated solution for project planners, to design and deliver one project with one tool. So, it was clear to us, that all demands of project design needed to be covered by features inside Solar.Pro.Tool. This tool still is the only white-label software, world-wide to offer this. No matter what type of project and no matter what needs to be calculated or documented, planners using Solar.Pro.Tool need no an additional software for their project. Just one part of the chain Having reduced friction during the planning process, we could see how project

Read More

Ruud Ringoir, product manager at Kipp & Zonen is a regular visitor to PES. It’s great to hear that the markets continue to be buoyant. There is continuous research into optimizing their solar radiation measurement tools, which will spill over to the roof top market. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine, Ruud, it’s great to talk with you again. I’m sure there will be some new readers, so could you begin by explaining a little about the background of Kipp & Zonen and the importance of the solar/PV industry to you? Ruud Ringoir: Yes, my pleasure. Established in 1830 and manufacturing pyranometers since 1930, Kipp & Zonen has a long history as a leading manufacturer of accurate and reliable solar radiation sensors and systems. We offer a wide range of radiometers from ultraviolet to far-infrared. Our market has long been meteorology and science, but over the last 20 years solar energy has become our main market. Product improvements and interfaces have optimized our monitoring solutions for this industry. PES: Are you still finding this is a growing market? RR: Yes, we have spent years explaining to solar energy customers the benefit of accurate solar monitoring, now we can focus on advising the most optimal

Read More

It’s been three years since the founding of Kameleon Solar and I find myself, only now, writing the first in-depth article about our company. It’s not that we’ve never had news worth sharing, as you will find, there have been plenty of milestones. Your first publication largely defines who you are as a company, and I prefer to share what we have accomplished rather than what we plan to. Kameleon Solar was founded mid 2015 with the aim of producing custom-made flexible, glass/backsheet and glass/glass modules for BIPV and PIPV (product integrated photovoltaics). Like most solar companies, we focused on price, efficiency, on warranties. Production-wise, we focused on quality, costs, and efficiency. It didn’t take long for us to find out why this standard solar manufacturing recipe simply doesn’t work when you’re dealing with architects, custom-made PV and BIPV façades, in general. Our first issue was that we weren’t the only ones to step up to the increasing demand of custom-made PV. Based in a high-wage country like the Netherlands, it is difficult to compete with countries that can offer the same services at a lower cost, if you don’t have any unique qualities about your product. The fact that a solar

Read More

PES had a very interesting conversation with Dirk Tegtmeyer, one of the founders of Ingenieurbüro Mencke & Tegtmeyer GmbH. Quality, customisation, a real interest in the technology and continually striving to reach the next level, along with staff driven by the same aim, is what keeps this successful company at the top. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine, Dirk. It’s great to talk with you again. For the benefit of our new readers would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of Ingenieurbüro Mencke & Tegtmeyer GmbH (IMT) and the importance of the Solar/PV industry to you? Dirk Tegtmeyer: We started in July 1993 as the first spin-off from the Institut für Solarenergieforschung (ISFH, Institute for Solar Energy Research) the founders, myself and Detlef Mencke, wanted to bring our master thesis on silicon irradiance sensor with internal temperature compensation of the irradiance signal, steady-state sun simulators and I-V curve analyzers for PV, to the market. The first IMT expansion was in 1999, when we got our first employee, Nikolai Maris, who now is also an associate. Until 2011 we were continuously growing, but this slowed down a little bit in 2012 and 2013 because of the German

Read More

The history of the global PV industry is one that is defined by innovation. And now, more than ever, the continuing growth and sustained health of the solar sector is further enabling companies to invest in R&D. From tech start-ups to global electronics companies, new components that deliver marginal improvements or game-changing solutions, the efficiency and performance of PV systems across the world continues to be advanced by technological innovation. One characteristic that unites innovators across the solar industry is the unwavering focus on optimizing solar PV systems, always looking to deliver higher yields, reduce O&M costs and increase the ROI for system owners. So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that in recent years there has been a significant increase in the use of module-level power electronics (MLPE), such as power optimizers or microinverters. As the name suggests, MLPE place power electronics on the modules of the PV system, with the aim of isolating individual panels in order to improve overall system performance. The introduction of MLPE marks a shift from the conventional PV system design, where the inverter would be responsible for handling so many of the functions and processes that a PV plant is required to carry out. The proliferation of

Read More

With bifacial PV devices a large gain in solar power generation in the range of 10%-20% can be achieved in the field. Despite this, selling bifacial devices at higher prices is still a difficult task. With peak-performance of solar cells and modules at standard testing conditions being the price meter, true bifacial testing is a key step to achieve bifacial pricing in the future of PV. We present deeper insight into bifacial testing and analyse the economic impact of different approaches. Large-scale production of bifacial solar cells and modules has become possible mainly by three developments over the last few years – dielectric passivation layers on both sides of the solar cells, thinner glass for solar modules and alternatively transparent backsheets. Offering a major increase in electricity generation at a comparably low increase in costs for device manufacturing, bifaciality has become one of the largest industry trends in photovoltaics in the recent years. Bifacial devices achieve a gain in power generation of 10% – 20% compared to monofacial references [1-5], depending on system design, albedo of the systems’ location as well as the bifaciality coefficient of the modules. This gain, which corresponds to 2% – 4% higher solar cell efficiency, is

Read More

High purity argon (greater than 99.999%) is used as a shield gas in the production of silicon ingots, to be fabricated into wafers for solar cells and micro-electronic devices. The argon is used to control the impurity levels present during the manufacturing process to an acceptable level. In response to rising costs, the trend in the solar industry has been to reduce the argon purge flows to a minimum, typically about 30slm; however, this cost reduction comes at the expense of wafer purity which can result in lower performance solar cells. Ultra-High purity wafers for use in micro-electronic applications typically utilise two to three times as much argon as for the solar PV application, so rising argon costs are an even more critical issue in this sector. The current trend in the Solar PV wafer market is to move to higher purity high performance and/or n-type doped wafers, to maximise the efficiency of the resulting solar cells and generate added value. This requires argon purge gas flows to increase up to about 70-90slm. The supply of high purity argon is primarily a by-product of the air separation process generating oxygen used in steel making. This means, at best the, supply of high purity

Read More

Gantner has been selected numerous times to supply complete monitoring solutions for new, large solar power plants in e.g. Egypt, Denmark, Thailand and the Netherlands. In the past 12 months we have repeatedly confirmed our position as a leading global player in utility scale PV industry. After participating in two 50MW projects in Kazakhstan previously, Gantner will now provide its complete monitoring solution to the biggest solar farm in Central Asia, Saran, expanding its exposure in the country by another 100MW. This includes the Q.reader as data logger and power plant controller, DC combiner boxes, meteo stations and Gantner.webportal, a SCADA system. Thanks to the dropping cost in solar energy production and an increasing global awareness of the advantages of clean energy, we are confident that the recent upward trend in solar industry will continue for several years. Now the application of solar energy is not only justified by its advantages to the environment but has also become economically competitive. Witnessing significant growth in PV in most geographical regions, the installed assets and investments require reliable and effective data monitoring solutions to meet the rising expectations of the plants’ stakeholders. A monitoring system should serve to reduce risks for investors and to provide reliable

Read More

PES brings you the latest exciting news from EKO. With the constant increase of PV projects globally and new standards in place, there is an increasing requirement for a compliant and cost-effective solution to monitor plant performance. Last year was another successful year for the Photovoltaic (PV) market, with approximately 96 GW of PV installed globally. Following this trend, 2018 is set to surpass 2017 with nearly 105 GW of PV projects forecasted, an increase of 10%. This substantial increase would have been even higher, were it not for the sanctions on new solar projects by Chinese government entities. Worldwide PV investment and development is set to maintain its stellar performance for the foreseeable future – for example, the European market, after several years of stagnation, is now entering a period of rapid development and investment, with a forecasted 14GW of PV installed per year by 2022. With this growing increase in PV investment and development, the industry is becoming more aware of the importance of performance monitoring. Optimal energy output of a PV plant is essential to ensure an adequate return on investment, and this can only be assured with continuous performance monitoring of the yield and efficiency of PV plants.

Read More

Solar panel manufacturers strive to minimize cost and maximise efficiency of their modules. Their success is confirmed by the substantial decrease in $/Wp factor for the modules. In 2006, crystalline silicon based module prices were approximately 5.2$/Wp. By 2017, this had dropped to 0.42$/Wp, over an order of magnitude decrease in ten years. There has also been a massive relocation of the cell and module manufacturing industry. In 2006, China and Taiwan produced ~7% of the world production of solar modules as expressed as MWp. At that time, over 40% of production was in Japan, and over 30% in Europe. By 2017, China and Taiwan dominated module manufacturing, with over 70% of the world production, ~60% of that being in China alone. Both Japan and Europe had dropped to less than 5%. It is important to stress that $/Wp values are dominated by availability and cost of capital, land prices, environmental regulatory restrictions, and production scale – these parameters contribute to operating costs more than labor. Module efficiency contributes to the $/Wp performance indicator. The table provides absolute and relative module efficiencies. The best heterojunction modules are 50% more efficient than those modules based on thin films. The Chinese government has been very actively

Read More