Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Mini-grids have become the solution for efficient and economic electrification in developing countries and in remote areas. PES gets an overview of the different configurations available from Pablo Muñoz, Technical Support Manager at Studer Innotec*. He will also be a guest speaker, at the Intersolar Europe Conference 2018, on this topic. PES: Welcome to PES Solar/PV magazine. Thanks for talking with us. Being a mini-grid expert, perhaps you could start by clarifying the terminology used in this field. For instance, mini-grids, microgrids and nanogrids, are these many names for the same thing? Pablo Muñoz: Yes and no. All three terms refer to an electricity distribution network that is smaller than typical regional or nationwide distribution networks. It is easy to find more specific definitions online but they are sometimes contradictory. At Studer Innotec, we use the term mini-grid to describe an energy system with distinct economic entities between the producer/operator and user/consumers. More than a specific technological solution, it is a business model. PES: Please tell us why you think we should use mini-grids for electrification? PM: There are several reasons for using a mini-grid. For economic reasons, because for example, extending the national grid to certain areas of a country can become very

Read More

Olivier Haldi, Global Business Development Photovoltaics and Alternative Energies, met up with PES to share the reason behind the recent rebranding from Multi-Contact to Stäubli Electrical Connectors and the importance of using high-quality components. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine. Thanks for talking with us. For the benefit of our newer readers, would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of Stäubli and the importance of the Solar/PV industry to you? Olivier Haldi: Originally founded in 1892 as a small workshop in Horgen/Zurich, today Stäubli is a multi-national group headquartered in Pfäffikon, Switzerland. We are a global mechatronics solution provider with three dedicated activities: fluid and electrical connectors, robotics, which are also used in PV panel production lines and textiles. We serve customers who want to increase their productivity in many industrial sectors. We are an international group that currently operates in 29 countries, with agents in 50 countries on four continents. Our global workforce of 5000 shares a commitment to partnering with customers in nearly every industry to provide comprehensive solutions with longterm support. Stäubli Electrical Connectors, formerly Multi-Contact, was founded in 1962 and is part of the Swiss Stäubli family. We have over 55 years of practical

Read More

PV energy has become indispensable for power companies. About 390 GW are installed around the world and a growth of 113 GW is expected this year. PES investigates the importance of monitoring. Why PV monitoring is important There are many reasons for the success of PV energy. It is decentralised, has a simple technology and, above all, it is cost-effective to produce. In fact it’s the most cost-effective way of generating energy. Most PV plants even pay for themselves thanks to feed-in tariffs, direct marketing, net-metering, and self-consumption. Thus, every hour of sunshine is worth hard cash, which needs to be ensured. PV energy is becoming more and more relevant. Real interest in solar PV power began about 20 years ago. Slowly but surely, the new technology for generating power from sunshine established itself. As it became more popular, the technology was optimised and became more efficient and durable. At the same time, the price for modules decreased, accelerating the spread of PV power. However, a growing PV market also means rising investments. More and more money from companies or private entities goes towards solar power generation and PV is becoming essential as a reliable power supply. It is critical, regardless of whether or not it

Read More

Dr.-Ing. Stefan Rinck, CEO Singulus Technologies AG, caught up with PES to tell us about the latest business activities and technology.This is a company which makes a significant contribution to the solar/PV market. It is innovative and always strives to improve performance and save costs. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine. Thanks for talking with us. Would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG and how you currently serve the solar industry? Stefan Rinck: SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG’s business activities centre on developing, manufacturing, and marketing machinery and equipment in the fields of vacuum coating technology, surface engineering, wet chemistry, and thermal processing technologies. The company’s primary focus is on the solar, optical disc, and semiconductor applications, with particular attention to consumer goods and medical technology in the future. In the solar segment, SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG offers machinery for manufacturing crystalline solar cells and thin-film solar cells based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) vacuum deposition equipment and equipment for wet-chemical processing. The field of activity of crystalline solar cells includes production solutions for high-efficiency solar cell concepts such as HJT (heterojunction), IBC (interdigited back contact) and PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) solar

Read More

Pfeiffer Vacuum are specialists in vacuum technology. They provide the highest quality testing in order to provide top class products. Here we learn about the importance of the pump down curves and the different materials that can affect them. Displaying and interpreting processes in different vacuum ranges Pump down curves are a popular control instrument when designing and operating a vacuum system. Thanks to them, any problems in the system can be derived and the correct pump performance can be assessed. A pump down curve describes a time-dependent pressure drop in a vacuum system. In a graphical representation, the time is applied to the X-axis and the pressure to the Y-axis. For the known geometry of the vacuum chamber and pumps, a pump down curve can be calculated. Any deviations between the calculated and the measured pump down curve will often provide information about problems in the vacuum system. This also applies to the comparison of curves measured over long-term use with a reference curve. Pump curves in in the low vacuum range: displaying connections, interpreting, and applying A reference curve can be measured when the system runs properly and without any problems after startup. Under these conditions, the pressure drop is measured over time

Read More

It is well known that on large scale PV farms clean panels are essential in order to produce peak yields. The Italian company Messersì has been offering PV cleaning solutions for 7 years. Their product, Roboklin 25, is a fully automated machine and it delivers efficient cleaning to large PV farm operators. The company’s main business is actually building special vehicles for construction and agriculture, the Roboklin 25 was developed as a solution for cleaning solar modules. 40 units have been sold worldwide so far. During 7 years, working in many different conditions around the world Messersì acquired a lot PV cleaning experience. The tracked vehicle is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine from Kubota and has a maximum cleaning capacity of 1MW in five hours. The telescopic arms have maximum lengths of 4 and 6.5m. Two washing systems can be mounted on them. There is either a sprinkler system with a maximum pressure of 40bar or a rotating brush: 3 sizes of 2.2, 3.6 and 4.2m long. Both systems are supplied from a tank with a capacity of 2400l. Cleaning is controlled through ultrasound sensors, which ensure that the distance between the modules and the cleaning system is always the same, automatically

Read More

Dirk Tegtmeyer, CEO Ingenieurbüro Mencke & Tegtmeyer GmbH, gives PES a short look into the near future and explains why quality is paramount as PV conquers the world and nobody can stop it. Even in Germany, where politicians tried to shut down PV installations and industry, the news gets better every year. The last tender for renewables saw a 32 to 0 for PV to wind energy. This is good for PV, but we should have wind in mind as well. The actual news says that Intersolar Germany is already booked out. And Fraunhofer ISE announces that PV energy is already cheaper than fossil energy in some installations in Germany. While Photovoltaic components become cheaper and cheaper, one has to think about the energy output. What will be main stream and what will become another part of PV industries? For residential houses it will be cheaper to install a small battery system for use of PV energy instead of buying from the utility companies. Using optimised control systems the energy drawn from the grid can be minimised to less than 20 % of the overall consumption. Together with new concepts of electric vehicles, with bidirectional charging, this step can get to

Read More

PES asked Tyler Ogden, Lux Research Inc. to give us his expert viewpoint on the longevity of PV systems. Lux Research is a leading provider of research and advisory services, helping clients drive growth through technology innovation. Utility-scale systems are now a competitive choice for electricity supply, with bids undercutting conventional sources of generation in some regions, while other regions see competitive subsidy-free deployments. This has largely been the result of declining module costs. Manufacturers have obtained significant economies of scale and have continued to adopt higher efficiency cell technologies. Meanwhile other players across the supply chain that offer balance of system components and developed projects have reached maturity, contributing to lowering the capital expense of new installations to a point where sub dollar-per-watt systems are now feasible. However, the rate of cost declines has begun to taper off. If solar costs are to continue to drop and maintain the precedent of low-cost renewables, the industry must look elsewhere – must look forward in time. The standard lifetime for a photovoltaic installation is 20 to 25 years, nearly double the time from when the global solar industry began to mature in early 2010s. The focus has primarily been in reducing dollar-per-watt costs to

Read More

In this day and age recycling should be a top priority throughout the renewable energies sector. Dr. Palitzsch from Loser Chemie GmbH, reminds PES readers about the latest update to the EU waste legislation. It’s remarkable to see how it is possible to achieve total recovery of all materials, in both thin-film PV and silicon-based modules. According to the latest revision of the EU waste legislation (WEEE), producers of solar photovoltaic panels are responsible for the disposal and recycling of the modules they sell in EU Member States. In addition to this we also have a few other reasons to recycle all and any used materials. Recycling allows the materials, in otherwise one-use products, to go on to become something new and saves resources involved in sourcing new materials: that´s why it is amazing. And the best way is, of course, the complete recovery of all components. In recent years, Loser Chemie GmbH has led the search for a universal concept, for as many solar module types as possible. Today, the company has introduced a technology that enables the recycling of both thin-film PV and silicon-based modules. An important role is played by light and water. Used correctly complete disassembly of old solar

Read More

Kipp & Zonen continue with their quest to improve the DustIQ, which can now be locally calibrated for the exact dust composition on site. This means the PV panels can be monitored 24/7 and cleaned whenever necessary. PES delves deeper to bring you the latest on this affordable and compact, cost saving, optical measuring tool. The maximum efficiency exhibited by solar cells has been incrementally improved over 150 years of scientific endeavour. But while photovoltaic technology continues to improve, the amount of power we can generate from solar cells is ultimately dictated by environmental factors. Primarily these are solar irradiance, temperature, and soiling. While the effects of solar irradiance and temperature are well-understood, the detrimental effects of soiling on solar panel performance often go overlooked. However, new technologies are making it easier than ever before to measure the effects of panel soiling on photovoltaic performance. Advances in increasing solar cell efficiency The world’s first photovoltaic device was created by Edmond Becquerel at the ripe old age of 19, while conducting experiments in his father’s laboratory.1 Edmond, the son of prolific electro-/bio-chemist Antoine Becquerel, found that a platinum electric I think they mean conductor coated with a thin layer of silver chloride could be

Read More