Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Xander van Mechelen, CTO of Kipp & Zonen, dropped in to tell PES about the DustIQ, the simple missing link in a mature solar energy industry. It has been quite a year and 2018 is also full of promise. PES: We are pleased to welcome you back to PES Solar/PV magazine. For 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? Xander van Mechelen: Kipp & Zonen is an instrument manufacturer founded in 1830 and in the last few decades the business and R&D have mainly focused on meteorological instruments, based on the measurement of solar radiation. In recent years solar energy has become a significant market for Kipp & Zonen; initially with traditional ‘passive’ analogue pyranometers and later we set the standard for digital, smart instruments. PES: We have been reading and hearing about your new DustIQ. Could you explain to us what it is? What motivated Kipp & Zonen to develop such a project? XvM: Sometimes it happens that in large industries like solar power there is still an opportunity to develop an instrument that is not there, but for which there is a

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PV Plant downtime is dead time and therefore investors’ eyes light up when we can demonstrate exceptional PV plant uptime performances in capricious environments around the globe. But precisely how reliable does solar PV need to be? The industry’s aim, for sure, is to compete with traditional non-sustainable energy sources, such as coal and gas, as well as other renewable energy sources such as off-shore wind. Levelised Cost Of Electricity (LCOE) gives us a way to compare the cost effectiveness of each energy source and reliability is a key factor embedded in the calculation. If a PV plant breaks down, the operations and maintenance cost rise and the LCOE is less attractive. On a more intuitive level, if you ever think about your electricity supply, you never wish to imagine being without it. In the modern world, most of us take electricity for granted and find any power cut rather disconcerting. We like to think of it as a constant flow and so PV plants, being a significant source of electricity, need to better connect with this expectation. Clearly solar power systems need to be able to withstand prolonged sun exposure. But it is perhaps less well understood that they are also

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Demand for glass/glass PV module construction is growing due to the inherent benefits that allow both the back and front panel of the module to produce electricity. This is especially true in highly reflective environments like deserts, near water, rooftops, and above parking lots. The dual layers of glass also reduce the need for bulky structures that often cause hot spots that degrade or even burn modules produced with traditional aluminium frames. According to the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV), glass used as the back-side cover material will increase in the next decade, with roughly 25 percent of all c-Si modules produced with glass/glass construction by 2024. Further, EnergyTrend reported that ‘even though the dual-glass design is not a fresh innovation, its market acceptance has rapidly expanded. Shipments of dual-glass modules from Chinese manufacturers grew to about 800~900MW in 2016.’ While more expensive than modules produced with plastic backsheet construction, glass/glass costs can be offset due to increased power output and predicted longer service life – including warranties of up to 30 years versus the usual warranty of 25 years for conventional modules. These improvements, plus factors like reliability and durability, become important considerations when looking at overall lower levelized cost

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PES caught up with Richard Reno, Senior Executive, Renewables Segment, GE’s Power Conversion business, to hear about their capacity to supply every aspect of a solar farm’s lifespan, the importance of digitalization and Predix, their open cloud-based digital platform. 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 organization and how you currently serve the solar/PV industry? Richard Reno: Sure. We are Power Conversion, GE’s electrification business. We provide electrical equipment and digital solutions that cover the life cycle of our customers’ energy projects. Now you see, energy demand will continue to outstrip supply in the years to come. To close this energy deficit, you need to continuously provide clean, affordable and reliable electricity. At Power Conversion, we do just that. Let’s take solar as an example. We are able to supply every aspect of a solar farm’s lifespan—from finance to equipment to digital solutions and long-term service. We were the first to launch a 1,500-volt inverter technology and the 1,500-volt system is rapidly becoming the industry norm. We are also introducing silicon carbide to inverters to further unleash efficiency gains, which reach 99 percent weighted EU level. Our

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PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine. Thanks for talking with us. 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? Hind Beaujon: Pfeiffer Vacuum is a leading company in the field of vacuum technology. Indeed vacuum is very critical for key enabling processes serving major industries that transform our daily life such as, telecommunications, connectivity, energy, medical, food, research and development… to list but a few. We have been active in all the above sectors for more than 125 years and we are continuously improving our industry knowledge and applying it to new applications, to provide the latest vacuum solutions servicing these key industries. It is just a natural move to develop our activities in key, vacuum emerging industries like Solar, LED and AMOLED which have gained momentum in the last ten years. PES: You are active in a number of industry sectors. How important is the Solar/PV business in China to Pfeiffer Vacuum? HB: As I said before, the solar segment has been a focus for Pfeiffer Vacuum for the past 10 years. Of course, as you may know, this industry is

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Ferroamp, a Swedish company founded in 2010, has developed a unique system that takes the integration of PV power and energy storage in facilities, to a new level. The product concept is based on a unique approach for managing phase unbalance in three phase systems. PES went to find out more about this latest technology. These unbalances occur when too many loads end up on the same phase conductor. This is a problem in Sweden as the fixed monthly grid fee is based on the size of the mains fuse. The lower the fuse rating, the lower the monthly grid fee. Three phase system reinvented The ACE technology automatically reduces the phase unbalance and neutral currents. Large single phase loads such as single phase charging points can be used without overloading the AC grid. Costly reinforcements can be avoided and grid fees can be reduced. Due to the ACE technology a new flexible inverter had to be designed. It had to be capable of dynamic power conversion from AC to DC, as well as DC to AC, with independent dynamic current flow in each phase conductor. Integrated trouble free AC charging Charging electric vehicles using AC often reduces the available supply capacity. This limits the charging

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Our industry continually strives to get better, smarter energy. Research and development means there are always new innovations on the market. PES brings you the latest in fast response sensors from EKO, for measuring solar radiation due to various cloud conditions. This plays an important part in the quality of converted energy from solar devices. Even though the solar radiation incident at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere is relatively constant, the amount of solar radiation arriving at the Earth’s surface is extremely variable. It depends on the location, date and time of the day, and on the atmospheric conditions. It is well known that absorption and scattering by gases, aerosols, and water vapour present in the atmosphere have attenuating effects on the incoming radiative power. It is also well known that the attenuation of the incoming solar radiation caused by clouds is larger than any other atmospheric component. Another atmospheric effect has gained interest recently, while being counter intuitive – clouds can also cause enhancement of the incoming solar radiation. Partially cloudy skies with broken clouds lead to multiple scattering and radiation reflection. At times this may result in increased irradiance from a portion of the sky exceeding the expected irradiance value

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A new generation, of highly flexible modular energy storage solutions, finally overcomes the standby mentality of the energy storage market. PES caught up with Alvaro Garcia, Managing Director of Storing Renewable Energy Ltd, part of EFT Group, official service partner for BYD B-Box in Europe, about the energy storage market trends visible at Intersolar Europe and BYD’s B-Box storage series. PES: Welcome to PES Solar magazine. We didn’t have the opportunity for a catch-up at Intersolar as it was really busy, so it’s great to have the opportunity to catch-up now. Energy storage has been one of the key topics at Intersolar Europe for the last four or five years – so what changed? Alvaro Garcia: I guess nobody in the industry would deny a connection between the development of the solar energy market and the evolution of energy storage solutions. 2017 was the fourth year ees Europe was held in parallel with Intersolar, which also reflects the close relationship between the two markets. Nevertheless, the development of energy storage implementation has been rather slow. To quote Maroš ŠefČoviČ, the European Commission VP in charge of the Energy Union: ‘The role and importance of storage have been underestimated for too long.’ Matt Roberts, executive

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PES brings you two great show previews, Solar Power International (SPI) and Energy Storage International (ESI), September 10th to 13th 2017, Las Vegas and European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) September 25th to 29th 2017, Munich Germany. Hopefully we will see you at one of them. Fusing solar energy and technology for the future The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% since 2010, which has helped make the industry more ubiquitous throughout the world. The United States is no exception. Nearly 260,000 Americans work in solar, more than double the number employees compared to 2012 - at more than 9,000 companies in every U.S. state. This has led the industry to expand into new markets and deploy thousands of systems nationwide. With nearly 1.4 million solar installations in the U.S., there are projections that the market will hit 2 million installations by 2018, and 4 million by 2022. This has helped the success of North America’s largest solar & energy storage trade show, Solar Power International (SPI) and Energy Storage International (ESI). This September, over 18,000 energy professionals and 650 exhibitors from more than 110 countries will make Las Vegas their home for three days to experience

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Our second preview is of the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2017). Once again this will be an exciting event with the possibility of seeing the latest innovations, meeting up with the key players in our industry and a golden networking opportunity. Conference: 25 – 29 September 2017 Exhibition: 25 – 28 September 2017 RAI Convention & Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands EU PVSEC is a fixed appointment in the calendar of PV experts – and has been for decades. In the 33rd edition from 25 to 29 September the global PV R&D community will meet in Amsterdam to discuss the latest developments and innovations. Research and technology innovations, as well as policy and strategy framework conditions – the future of photovoltaics will be shaped by a unique alliance between researchers, industry, and politics at the EU PVSEC 2017. Over 1250 abstracts have been received for the Call for Papers of the 33rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC). Arno Smets, General Chairman of the upcoming EU PVSEC 2017 commented, ‘I am very happy with the large number of abstracts submitted. The submissions demonstrate that the interest in photovoltaics keeps on growing.’ The abstracts were received from corresponding authors in 70

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