Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Ireland’s first competitive auction for renewable energy capacity took place this summer. The results spell sunny times ahead for the nascent solar industry in Ireland and mark an important step towards the country’s target to meet 70% of its electricity supply from renewables by 2030. Auction results According to provisional results issued by electricity market operator EirGrid, 63 solar farms totaling 796 MW and 19 wind farms totaling 479 MW were successful in the RESS-1 auction, with an average bid price of EUR 74.08/MWh. Figure 1 shows this pricing alongside recent auction results in the wider European market. Unlike most renewables subsidy schemes in Europe, the RESS-1 prices are not index linked, which according to our industry contacts added EUR 10-12/MWh to bid prices. Grid costs in Ireland also tend to be higher than in other European markets. The move to a competitive auction scheme is good news for the consumer – RESS-1 prices showed a significant step down from the previous REFIT subsidy scheme, which was only available to onshore wind farms at a tariff of EUR 80.25/MWh in 2019. Technology competition While a separate auction is expected to take place for offshore wind projects in 2021/2022, RESS-1 marks the first time that

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‘Noticing the lack of EV- charging stations around Europe kick-started the development of carport systems at Mounting Systems. The process of finding the perfect equilibrium between strength, design, cost and function led to the making of over 30 different designs. After close collaboration with customers and building multiple prototypes, we developed safe and reliable carport systems, while keeping cost low.’ reports Dawid Janczewski, engineer in the product & innovation team. In Rangsdorf, 30 min outside Berlin, surrounded by beautiful fields and lakes, an impressive building appears. This is the location of Germany’s only mounting systems manufacturer today, recently also certified as a Made in Germany brand. The company specializes in solar rooftop systems, in addition to solutions for solar carports and ground mount systems. For the past decade, the company has mainly been selling their products as white label, resulting in low recognition of one of the most sold racking systems in Europe. Mounting Systems have been producing quality solar racking systems for the past 27 years but has only recently had a spiking increase in brand awareness as a result of selling their products with their own brand Mounting Systems. Part of the recent growth is also a result of

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At PES, we thought it was time to discuss PV monitoring with Stefan Rensberg Head of Product Management at meteocontrol. Stefan has seen a big change in this area and is absolutely confident of its importance in the PV plant of today and tomorrow. Things have come a long way over the last 15 years and he is sure that data handling is the key for the future. Read on to find out more… PES: Hello Stefan, welcome back to PES. Could you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself. Stefan Rensberg: I have been with meteocontrol in Augsburg, Germany for over 15 years and work there as head of product management, with a great team. As a product engineer, I started with the development of meteocontrol’s first data logger WEB’log and the Safer’Sun monitoring portal. I’d describe myself as being absolutely passionate about photovoltaics in general and especially about the possibilities that photovoltaic monitoring and data analytics offer. What stimulates me is being surrounded by people who create new ideas and innovations and share the vision of a better, cleaner future. Climate change really is a topic for every single day. PES: We would like to know how you define photovoltaic monitoring? SR:

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Last year it was still believed that the next solar cell size standard in the industry would be M6. The much larger M12 was on the horizon, but it was not believed to arrive at mass production the market so soon. Just one year later the cell is available and some module producers have announced the mass production of modules made out of M12 cells by Q3 2020. This article will look at the possible layouts of these modules and the impact that it will have on module producers and the production equipment suppliers, with a focus on the module backend production equipment. What should the next generation of module production equipment look like? This is a big question for solar module producers and the solar manufacturing supply chain as well. One thing is clear: the manufacturing equipment will need to change to accommodate the newest module layouts. In this article we will look at the changes in cell/ module sizes and the effect they will have on the module backend production. In the best case, it will be just upgrading existing equipment wherever possible, but for the latest large cell sizes, it will mean exchanging the older equipment. The size of

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Dirk Tegtmeyer, co-founder of Ingenieurbüro Mencke & Tegtmeyer GmbH is an old friend of ours at PES. He tells us about the development of the PV industry and the importance of quality through the whole value chain. During the pandemic IMT made small changes to their work routines, which allowed them to carry on developing and producing their temperature sensors. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV, Dirk, it’s great to have this opportunity to catch up with you. For the benefit of our new readers would you like to begin by giving us a brief overview of IMT? Dirk Tegtmeyer: We started in July 1993 as the first spin-off of Institut für Solarenergieforschung (ISFH, Institute for Solar Energy Research) the founders were Detlef Mencke and myself. We wanted to bring our master thesis to the market, silicon irradiance sensor with internal irradiance signal temperature compensation, steady-state sun simulators and I-V curve analyzers for PV. IMT first started to expand in 1999, with first employee, Nikolai Maris, who is also now an associate. Until 2011 our expansion was continual. It slowed a little in 2012 and 2013 because of the German politics on renewables. Since then we have increased our export quota massively

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Dr Rob Grant FRSC, CEO at Gas Recovery and Recycle limited dropped in to PES to bring us up to date with on the latest for argon recycling, which they continue to refine. He is optimistic about the future and thinks a bounce back from the problems associated with Covid 19, is on the horizon. Currently, a new product is nearing the end of its development, which is aimed at recycling the ultra-high purity argon, where the impurity levels in the recycled argon are below 0.01ppm and nitrogen free! PES: Hi Rob, it’s a pleasure to talk with you as always. We have been following GR2L closely for some years now and you are regular participants in PES Solar/PV. To start with please could you give us a brief overview of your company? Dr Rob Grant: GR2L was founded in 2008 to commercialise chemical looping combustive purification technology, developed in collaboration with Cambridge University, UK. This addresses the 10-10,000ppm impurity level gap not addressed by current conventional gas purification technologies as seen, for example, in the microelectronics industry at the low ppm end and the general chemical processing industries at the top end of the gap. We specialise in the recovery, purification

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The year 2019 saw rapid growth in the solar PV tracker market, with most vendors doubling or at least significantly expanding their shipments from the previous year. Much of that activity was in the US, which represented 50% of global tracker sales and expanded its production by over 200%. Part of the reason for that growth was the US policy environment. In a process called ‘safe harbor,’ solar developers were scrambling to ensure that they could either purchase components or start their projects before the end of the year in order to be eligible for the 30% Investment Tax Credit, which is now gradually declining each year. However, safe harbor was only responsible for 30-40% of the market expansion, according to Renewable Energy World. The rest is due to recognition of the superior efficiency of tracking systems, which can increase solar production by 15-25% under the right conditions. As the utility-scale solar sector continues to lead the renewable energy industry in growth worldwide, investors are looking for every opportunity to maximize energy production and return on investment. FTC Solar is no exception to booming growth rates for tracker sales in 2019. After launching our business in 2017, we contracted over 500MW in 2019,

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In this article, Marco Trova, Senior Global Product Manager at FIMER S.p.A., talks us through some of the myths associated with Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) technology to help engineers and installers specify the right approach to maximize yields and efficiency. MPPT is often fitted as standard in state-of-the-art inverters, yet many users still don’t understand its use and functionality within a solar array to get the optimum results from the technology. Headlines for MPPT tend to focus on efficiency and it is often positioned as an inverter feature to help the user improve energy harvest. At a technical level it is an algorithm that is used for extracting the maximum available power from the PV module by dynamically detecting the voltage operating point that results in the maximum energy transfer under certain conditions. These statements are true. However, MPPT is not solely focused on increasing yield but also on optimization, as energy within the solar array constantly modulates and changes. Optimization is dependent on several factors including: shading from clouds, solar radiation levels, ambient temperatures, PV plants that are built with varying degrees of topology and/or strings exposed to different angles of irradiation right through to the condition of the PV module

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It was a great pleasure for us at PES to speak with Kees Hoogendijk, Managing Director, EKO Europe. Accuracy is of paramount importance to this company and now they have made improvements to their already world famous pyranometer and launched the new MS-80S, with multiple added aspects of value for their customers. To produce the smartest, most innovative, accurate, and best in class sensors on the market remains their quest, so we’re sure we can expect more in the future. PES: Hi Kees, welcome back to PES Solar. We have worked with EKO for many years and it’s good to have the chance to speak with you. For the benefit of our new readers could you give us a brief overview of EKO? What products are you best known for? Kees Hoogendijk: EKO Instruments was founded in Japan over 90 years ago, and develops industry-leading solar energy sensors, and scientific instruments for environmental research. One of our most famous products is the MS-80 pyranometer. We launched it in 2016 and until recently it was the only ISO 9060:2018 Class A solar sensor on the market in the top tier ‘fast-response’ and ‘spectrally flat’ sub-categories. We’ve since launched the MS-80S so there are now

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PES thought it was time to catch up on the latest news from Ecoppia. We had a very interesting interview with Oscar Aira Zunzunegui, VP Sales. This go-ahead company is a top player in automation and robotics for large-scale solar and their cloud-based, connected platform and an array of robotic solutions allow smart management of solar plants. Even during this global pandemic, Ecoppia successfully managed to keep an optimal production as always. PES: Welcome to PES Solar/PV Oscar, it’s great to have this opportunity to speak with Ecoppia again. Would you like to begin by giving us a brief overview of Ecoppia? Oscar Aira: Thank you for having me. In the past 7 years, since late 2013, Ecoppia has been a pioneer and world leader in automation and robotics in the solar industry, offering robotic cleaning solutions for PV modules, keeping them clean, at a year-round peak performance. Our cloud-based, autonomous robotic systems remove dust and soiling from solar panels, typically, on a nightly basis, while leveraging advanced machine learning. Managed and controlled remotely, our platform allows solar projects to maintain maximum performance with a minimal cost and no human intervention. We offer the Ecoppia E4 solution to fixed tilt installations, mainly in

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