Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Amid yet more uncertainty in the solar industry – fuelled by the recent policy shakeup in China and subsequent plunge in PV module prices – leading manufacturers know that the best course of action is taken with a steady hand and eyes fixed firmly on the horizon; a horizon shaped by PV innovation and quality. Right around the time that the world’s largest solar power exhibition, the SNEC show in Shanghai, was winding down at the end of May, Chinese officials were silently preparing to drop a bombshell that was soon sending shockwaves throughout the PV world. The country’s National Energy Administration (NEA), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Finance had prepared a new policy that stated, in no uncertain terms, that the government would not approve any more subsidized large-scale PV projects for the remainder of the year, effective June 1. The government bodies also confirmed a cut in the feed-in tariff (FIT), placed a cumulative annual cap on distributed generation (DG) installations at 10 GW (previously 19 GW) for the year, and introduced a new auction mandate for utility-scale projects. There was a lot to unwrap in this new policy. The kneejerk response among many solar

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Bertrand Lempkowicz, PR, Marketing & Communication Manager, at PV CYCLE, popped in to PES to discuss the importance of recycling and managing waste produced by so called ‘green energy’. Our industry should definitely make this an even higher priority. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine, 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 PV CYCLE and the importance of the solar/PV industry to you? Bertrand Lempkowicz: PV CYCLE was built on a voluntary basis, during the very first years of the photovoltaic Industry. At the very beginning, manufacturers were proud to be able to offer alternative renewable energy to fossil and nuclear energy and with good reason, but as for all types of energy, the end of life of the equipment must be taken into consideration. PV CYCLE was founded with PV modules in mind, by and for the photovoltaic Industry, which will now a few years later, can propose solutions for efficient recycling built on the experience gained from the first returns of broken, defective or end-of-life panels. On the other hand, when Europe introduced the photovoltaic panels into the WEEE directive,

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In the manufacturing process of its products, Pfeiffer Vacuum does not only attach importance to advanced technologies and highest quality standards but also to energy and resource efficiency, as these are important features of our corporate philosophy. Efficient solutions, with significant cost savings can be provided to customers, by incorporating these features in Pfeiffer Vacuum products. But not only customers benefit from efficient and thus cost-saving production, as PES found out from Pascal Ochalek, Facility Manager Pfeiffer Vacuum SAS, Annecy, France. Even Pfeiffer Vacuum’s own manufacturing processes should be as efficient and environmentally conscious as possible. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and want to optimally fulfil them in order to be able to guarantee a sustainable value chain to customers, starting with the very first link. Combination of efficient products and sustainable production as a recipe for success Our customers’ interests constitute our biggest and most important focus. Therefore, the improvement of efficiency and sustainable operation of vacuum solutions for customers has so far been the top priority. In recent years, impressive progress has been achieved in this and product development has significantly expanded: for some time now, development projects have been carried out according to the Eco Design approach. This

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There have been solar cells based on semiconductor technology since the middle of the 20th century, and photovoltaics (PV) have undergone continuous development since that time. Trends have always played a decisive role in the development of PV. An important trend is characterised by technology, market, materials and investors coming together at an opportune moment. Megatrends are indicative of especially strong changes that have a major impact on the development of technology and the market. Developments in photovoltaics Bell Labs made the first n-type silicon solar cell to generate electrical energy directly from sunlight as long ago as 1954. At that time, the semiconductor industry was in the very early stages of its development and material prices were still very high. After 1970, the semiconductor industry evolved rapidly, as a result of which suitable semiconductors became available. The first commercial solar cells were produced mainly using scrap wafers originating from the manufacture of integrated circuits. At the same time, research efforts were initiated with the goal of improving solar cell efficiency. The solar cell structures in use today were devised and first developed in the laboratory in a relatively short period of time. In some cases, however, it would take more than

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Martin Schneider, the Managing Director of meteocontrol GmbH and the President of meteocontrol North America, Inc. spoke enthusiastically to PES about the technological advances in monitoring and managing energy and weather data and there are even more exciting developments on the horizon. PES: Welcome to PES Solar/PV magazine, it’s great to talk with you. For the benefit of our new readers would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of meteocontrol? Martin Schneider: meteocontrol is recognized as a world leader in universal PV monitoring with 45,000+ solar plants, 13+ GWp monitored globally, and more than 40 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector. We offer monitoring energy and weather data management, hardware and software, yield reports, quality audits, and technical due diligence to support PV systems of all sizes. meteocontrol’s blue’Log datalogger and VCOM Solar Monitoring Platform combine to provide a robust, customizable, and scalable solution for utility, commercial, and distributed generation solar portfolios. Our independent engineering services team has supported projects with a total investment of more than $16 billion. meteocontrol’s services and products improve yields and profits for investors, project developers, and PV system operators world-wide. Our world headquarters are based in Augsburg, Germany and we have offices located

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The importance of recycling in the solar/PV industry is globally recognized. PES has followed LOSER CHEMIE for a long time. This new joint venture takes them nearer the goal of 100% reuse of the discarded products and materials and also provides support to the industry in various other ways. Whether or not this story shall ultimately go down in the economic history of Freiberg/Germany as a success story is not yet clear. For this, the young company FRESITEC (Fig.1), a 100% sister of LOSER CHEMIE, is still too young, only time will tell. They are both 100% daughters of the newly established L´FFICIENCY Holding. Fresitec has set itself the goal of continuing and expanding the recycling activities of the SolarWorld at the former site, in Freiberg in Saxony, Germany. The company has 20 years’ experience in reworking, upgrading und recovering silicon in many forms and formats. Fresitec can take the silicon produced from the recycling process as feedstock. Their portfolio includes mechanical and chemical processes as well as innovative crystallization techniques. The business processes started in November 2017 and now the L´FFICIENCY Holding group is very well positioned along the value chain. This February the first silicon ingot was produced. The range at FRESITEC

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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

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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

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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

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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

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