Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Since our jump into the façade market, we’ve encountered multiple technology-combinations on façades, which make a lot of sense and left us scratching our heads, thinking, why hasn’t this been done before? The answer turns out to be deceptively simple: PV hasn’t really been a building element until now. Seeing other companies use our products for smarter solutions, we have also investigated whether we can make our production process smarter to accommodate these many applications. Lighting and data communication Solarix Helmond was launched in December and marked the first combination of colored PV, LED lighting and data communication on the façade. Studio Solarix, the brains behind this façade, designed Solarix Helmond to communicate with its surroundings, visualize incoming data, and to generate sustainable energy without sacrificing aesthetics. The façade was fitted with multiple features to accomplish this. Sorba Projects manufactured the Alpolic backing, a folded aluminum/composite element that gives the façade its robustness and mechanical fixing to the rear construction. The folded element was designed together with Studio Solarix to hold the PV modules and hide LED lighting and cabling, whilst also remaining modular in its implementation. With a hook-type fixing, the elements can be easily detached for possible maintenance yet virtually

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Andrea Schartner, Head of Communications at Fronius International Business Unit Solar Energy, gives PES an update on the progress of their 24 hours of sun vision. Smart solutions such as continuously adjustable regulation and their award winning Ohmpilot are edging them nearer to this goal. PES: Hi Andrea, it’s a pleasure to welcome you to PES. It’s a while since we had a contributor from Fronius, so to begin with could you give us a company update? Andrea Schartner: We have a very strong product and systems portfolio in both the residential and commercial sectors. Our main strength is in roof-top installations. We specialise in self-consumption systems including storage, energy monitoring, open interfaces, the integration of heat and mobility and the control of energy flows. Wherever service and expertise are called for we are really well positioned with our network of partners. We are extremely proud of our Fronius System Partners. Our relationship with the installers has always been of the utmost importance to us, since they form the crucial foundation stone for our sales and service organisation. The training and service philosophy of Fronius System Partners is unrivalled anywhere around the world, just as it always has been. PES: Please can

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No matter how much the solar industry talks a good game about sustainability, the reality is that we are ignoring a looming issue: solar waste. There will be at least 24 billion PV modules installed on earth by 2050 – enough to stretch to the moon and back. That’s a conservative estimate. How on earth, literally, are we going to dispose of today’s PV modules safely and responsibly once they reach their end of life? What will the financial, environmental and societal cost be? You could call it the solar industry’s own ‘inconvenient truth’. Solar energy is already infinitely better for our planet than burning coal, gas and oil, so it’s no wonder recyclability and circularity are low on the agenda today. Some people might think, what’s the huge rush to make solar even more sustainable, especially when the industry is still fighting to compete with fossil energy? At DSM, we create materials technology for PV modules. We spend much of our time thinking about how materials perform at the most intricate and precise level – and not just our own materials, but many of the materials used in the solar industry. But we are also thinking about what happens after performance.

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With innovative GPS/GSM-based security systems for solar panels and solar parks, viamon has made a name for itself globally for protecting solar parks around the world from theft. PES invited, engineer, founder and managing director Oliver Strecke, to give us his insight into the company’s technology and the expanding market. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar Oliver. We are interested to hear about the security viamon offers, especially for operators of solar parks. What exactly does that mean? Oliver Strecke: Around the globe, huge solar parks are continuously being built, some of them many square miles in size. Such high concentrations of modern technology in a single spot naturally attract the attention of criminals. In concrete terms, this means that solar panels and valuable technology are dismantled and stolen on a large scale in these huge and often remote parks. In many cases, these things go unnoticed for days. We at viamon make sure that theft is prevented or that the thieves don‘t have a chance to enjoy their loot for long. For this purpose, over the last 10 years we have developed GPS/GSM-based security systems, especially for the protection of solar parks. Our system anticipates all security-relevant scenarios, around

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Gordon Clements General Manager of VARTA Storage, dropped by to give PES his views on the energy storage market. A market, which he is sure will continue to grow. Systems have to evolve quickly and be adaptable to meet the consumers’ changing needs and there are many combinations on offer. PES: Hi Gordon, welcome back to PES Solar/PV, it’s good to talk to you again. For our new readers, could you give us a brief overview of VARTA to bring them up to date? Gordon Clements: VARTA Storage GmbH is the daughter of VARTA AG specialising in the design, manufacture and application of lithium-ion batteries. Based in Nördlingen, Bavaria, we specialise in energy storage as well as applications such as power tools, garden tools, domestic appliances, robotics and material handling systems. Our strength in the energy storage market is that we are a battery company, with a strong brand. We have been producing batteries for more than 130 years and lithium-ion batteries for over 30 years. Our well-established brand stands for quality, service, reliability, integrity and innovation and of course safety is our number one concern. VARTA is a B2B company. In the residential storage market, we sell our products to wholesalers, who in turn

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PES met up with Stacey Delzeit, Sr Applications Engineer at Trojan, which as you know is a world-famous name in batteries. Despite making batteries for almost 100 years, R&D continues to produce new, exciting and innovative products, which provide great flexibility to the end user. There are still more markets to conquer and they relish the challenge. PES: Hi Stacey, we’ve been working with Trojan Battery for a good few years now so it’s great to welcome you to PES Solar/PV. As always, we have new readers, so could you give us a brief overview of the company to bring them up to date? Stacey Delzeit: Trojan has been making lead-acid batteries in the US since 1925. Our maroon batteries have become synonymous with quality, durability, and long life. We offer flooded, AGM and GEL lead-acid deep-cycle batteries. Recently, we added lithium-ion batteries to our list of products. PES: What is your experience in the solar/PV industry and is this a significant part of your business? SD: People have been using Trojan’s deep-cycle batteries in solar applications for many years. Our standard ‘golf’ and ‘floor cleaning’ batteries were often used in solar applications because of their high quality. So, several years

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The UK’s battery storage market has great potential, but the current political uncertainty in the country means that many projects are being put on the back burner. In which areas does it still make sense to invest in storage systems? PES wanted to find out more from Lawrie Wilson, Area Manager for the UK and ROI at Tesvolt, and Simon Patterson, CEO of MSP Technologies. PES: Hi, we’ve been working with Tesvolt for a good few years now so it’s great to welcome you to PES Solar/PV. As always, we have new readers, so could you give us a brief overview of the company to bring them up to date? Lawrie Wilson: We specialise in high-performance lithium-ion battery storage systems for commercial and industrial use. In the past few months, we have been developing our Megawatt Container which ensures maximum cost efficiency for the lithium high-voltage storage system, making it around 40% more economical than its predecessor. We will be presenting the TPS 2.0 and our other products from 4.8 kWh up to several megawatt hours at Intersolar in Munich. PES: The UK energy storage market has been hit by uncertainty. What is your take on the current situation? Simon

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Matthias Mack, Director Global Alternative Energies and member of the Management Board at Stäubli, came to talk to PES about electrical connectors. These small components play a crucial role in a long-term partnership between our company and the customer. This is built on reliability, thoughtful expertise, dynamism and exceptional quality, in both products and services. PES: Welcome back, it’s good to talk to you again. As we have some new readers, who don’t know as much as we do about Stäubli, could you give us a brief overview of your company to bring them up to date? Matthias Mack: Stäubli Electrical Connectors, formerly Multi-Contact, is part of the Swiss family-owned Stäubli Group, founded in 1892. We are a global mechatronics solution provider with three dedicated activities: connectors, both fluid and electrical, robotics and textile, We have over 56 years of practical experience in producing reliable electrical connectors for different industries. We have been the pioneer and market leader for electrical connectors in photovoltaics for more than 25 years. The first industrial photovoltaic connector (MC3) was introduced by Stäubli in 1996 followed by the original MC4 in 2002, has set the industry standard ever since. We never compromise when it comes to

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With over 500 GW of installed capacity, photovoltaic power generation has long since become a global industry. Financial and economic interests depend on the reliable production of PV energy. The German PV expert, Solare Datensysteme, has specialized in monitoring PV power generation since 2007. Solar-Log™ data loggers and the Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ online portal offer PV plant monitoring and smart energy management. The Solar-Log™ system is designed to efficiently implement country-specific regulations for the connection of PV plants to the grid, and to safeguard solar investments through reliable monitoring. Meeting the ever-growing requirements with new technology The pressure for innovation is high in the PV industry. Constantly changing regulations, especially in the field of PV energy management, require regular enhancements and new functions. In addition, the demands placed on PV plants are constantly increasing, thus promoting technical progress. To meet the PV industry’s ever-growing requirements, Solare Datensysteme has developed the newest generation of energy management. The all new Solar-Log Base and Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ 4.0 will be launched in 2019. Safeguarding PV yields and investments Generally, a PV plant reliably produces electricity after its initial installation. However, like any other technical system, PV plants are not permanently free of errors and malfunctions.

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Martin Bellmann is a Senior Research Scientist at SINTEF. We were pleased to meet up with him at PES to discuss some of the research developments, driven by their customers. We were also keen to hear all about the Eco Solar EU project, which received massive EU investment, with excellent results. PES: Hi Martin, welcome to PES, it’s great to talk with you. We know your organisation works in many different sectors, so could you tell us something about your work in the solar/PV industry? Martin Bellmann: Myself, I have worked mostly in R&D, in the field of silicon feedstock, ingot and wafer manufacturing, in close collaboration with our Norwegian producers. Lately I have become more involved in the coordination of solar related actions across SINTEF. Our aim is to provide more comprehensive solutions to our customers, for a wider range of markets. It also includes securing funding at national and international level and gettin our customers on board. PES: We are curious to know if your research is customer driven? How does it work? MB: That’s what SINTEF is all about. Customer-driven innovation means understanding the customers’ real needs. Developing solutions that work for the customers can only be

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