Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

PES brings you previews to the Intersolar shows, kicking off with the Intersolar Europe and followed closely by Intersolar US. These shows reflect the expansion of solar energy across the globe and bring you the latest technology, innovation and a chance to meet the regular players in the market and new ones. Prepare to be wowed. Intersolar Europe 2017: Showcasing the future of the energy industry The international solar market is booming. Market researchers from Mercom Capital have put the global rise in photovoltaics for 2016 at 76 gigawatts. Southern Europe is one of the sunniest regions in the world, making it the perfect location to drive forward the global energy transition and further promote solar energy growth. And as the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners, Intersolar Europe will serve as a source of inspiration from May 31–June 2, 2017 in Munich for manufacturers, distributors, service providers and suppliers. This year, Intersolar Europe will once again be accompanied by ees Europe, the continent’s largest and most visited exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems. At both exhibitions, the industry sheds light on topics such as energy generation, storage, grid integration and energy management, smart renewable energy

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The ongoing trend to push high-efficiency PV cell devices to higher efficiency levels is more and more accompanied by the adaption of semiconductor device fabrication standards. One of the reasons is the rising sensitivity of p-i-n PV cell structures of thin film layer stacks to the impact of impurities, which may be increasingly harmful with respect to the proper functionality of the layers themselves or their surface interaction. Therefore, suitable measures have to be implemented to suppress such film contamination in the manufacturing process. From the equipment point of view, it is highly desirable to avoid potential contamination sources upfront and to implement efficient treatments for avoiding so-called memory effects. Specifically, for the manufacture of HJT devices Indeotec has produced a successful design with its PECVD Mirror Reactor concept, which eliminates the need of wafer flipping and hence eliminated the potential contamination source of flipping automation. Additionally, Indeotec successfully tested a plasma treatment method which means it’s possible to put the intrinsic and the subsequent doped a-Si:H layer in one reactor, which could reduce the number of required deposition chambers by half.

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Driven by the accuracy requirements of the solar renewable energy industry, solar radiation measurement reaches the next level. Sensor technology is improving, user access to calibration is getting easier, practices for instrument maintenance and measurement uncertainty evaluation are now being standardised. Hukseflux Thermal Sensors, a technology leader in this field, is actively involved. The weakest link Until now, measurement of solar radiation has often been often the weakest link in PV system performance assessment. The equipment used for this, pyranometers, is an optical instrument. Their measurement uncertainty under perfect conditions is in the 2 to 3 % range. However, conditions at a solar power plant are frequently imperfect. A major error source is instrument fouling, for example by dew, frost, rain or dirt. The frequency of pyranometer maintenance is often low. To reduce the impact of fouling, cleaning is essential, but it may not be part of the standard maintenance program. Recalibration, the most common way of verifying the true performance of the instrument, may only happen from time to time. The overall result of this lack of cleaning and calibration is a much larger measurement uncertainty than that under perfect conditions; typically no better than 5 %.

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As the world transitions to a low carbon electricity system, one of the key challenges is responsiveness. Traditional forms of power generation provide a reliable base load that can be dialled up and down as needed. In contrast, renewable energy generation is intermittent and cannot be increased as efficiently in response to peaks in demand; the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow. As solar’s share in global energy generation continues to rise exponentially, the industry’s ability to innovate expands too, as large corporations continue to invest in this sustainable clean energy source. Thanks to rapid innovations in the application of digital technology the solar sector is able to offer one of the most flexible forms of power generation available. Industry 4.0 The world has seen a series of epochs: the first industrial revolution transformed production with mechanics, Industry 2.0 saw electricity enable mass production, and Industry 3.0 drove forward the increased use of electronics and IT. Today, a digital revolution is firmly underway and is considered by many to be the dawn of Industry 4.0. Smart technologies, including the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other forms of advanced communication, are fundamentally changing

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Moritz Meixner, the general manager at h.a.l.m. elektronik gmbh, came back to PES to catch us up on the developments in their high quality range of testers. He is also enthusiastic about the need for R&D and training – both for staff and the customer. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV magazine. Thanks for talking with us. For our new readers you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of your organisation and how you currently serve the solar/PV industry? Moritz Meixner: h.a.l.m. elektronik gmbh is a family owned business with high ethical standards and a strong belief in the future of renewable energies. Established in 1984 in Frankfurt am Main / Germany, h.a.l.m. has worked for numerous industrial sectors like material testing, chemical, pharmaceutical, and automotive, before turning the focus on the photovoltaic industry 15 years ago. Today, we provide complete measurement systems for the characterisation of solar cells and solar modules. Our PV product range offers cell testers, module testers for production and for R&D use as well as outdoor testers for solar systems. PES: h.a.l.m is well known for delivering high-end measuring systems for photovoltaic technologies. Can you give us more information about your tools for the

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Experienced in back-contact module manufacturing since 2007, Eurotron is taking module manufacturing to the next level. “Back contact is no longer a concept. It is a proven technology and our clients are currently in mass production,” says Bram Verschoor, Commercial Director at Eurotron. PES caught up with Bram and Jan Bakker, Technical Director at Eurotron, to corroborate this claim and learn why the solar industry is ready for back-contact modules. PES: Could you begin by introducing your organisation and explaining to us how it serves the solar/PV industry? Bram Verschoor & Jan Bakker: Eurogroup is a group of companies dedicated to back-contact module manufacturing and everything that relates to it. The group consists of Eurotron, Eurolab, and Eurotec. Eurotron produces equipment for manufacturing of solar panels and will be the topic of our conversation. Eurolab is a lab facility that enables testing of back-contact modules, while Eurotec is dedicated to general industrial technology applications. PES: Back-contact technologies offer an interesting ratio between efficiency and price. What are the advantages in terms of power generation? BV & JB: We believe that back-contact panels are the best way forward for power harvesting. With a single Eurotron manufacturing line clients produce between 10 and 90 modules per

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Market development of PV storage solutions in Germany There was hardly any awareness of storage systems in the German market until the introduction of a federal subsidy program for the usage of home storage systems in 2013. In the beginning the new technology was met with scepticism from various market players; however, the federal subsidy program was able to slightly compensate the high price level for end customers. After around 5,000 storage installations in 2013, the installation numbers in the German market almost doubled in the years to come, so that by the end of 2015 a total of approximately 30.000 storage systems had been installed. This market development was initially carried by the first subsidy program, which expired at the end of 2015. More or less every second storage system was installed with the help of the federal subsidy system during this period. After a phase of uncertainty, a second federal subsidy program was initiated in March of 2016, to accompany the development of storage solutions for small roof-top systems until the end of 2018. When taking the current market development into account, the subsidy budget of 10 million euros per year was too limited to offer sufficient market stimulation

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In a drive for even lower costs and higher efficiency, the photovoltaic industry is hugely dominated by the standard rectangular panels of 60 or 72 cells optimised for installation in large fields and flat roofs, in dry and accessible environments. This has proven a good model for utility-scale electricity production but people want more. This is exemplified by Elon Musk’s announcement last year, that Tesla will market a solar roof tile, going viral; a demand exists for PV elements integrated into the environment around us—in ways that are efficient, economic, and beautiful. Products for varied applications like PV roof tiles, PV building skins, floating PV, PV on landfills, and PV noise barriers are still required to be economic and manufacturable. The best system design choices for these products often require a novel module concept or set of materials. Dutch energy research centre ECN has established the Solar Elements Living Laboratory (SELL) to work with customers to develop their custom-integrated PV products from the initial idea to market introduction. Starting with economically and mass-manufactured solar cells or laminates, the SELL is equipped with tools and experts to design, prototype and test integrated PV products of all sizes, shapes, colours, and applications.

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PES met up with Rogier Reinders, Global Marketing Director at The Dow Chemical Company, to learn about the positive effect the ownership of Dow Corning’s silicones business will have on the PV industry and the customers of both entities. PES: Welcome back to PES Solar/PV China magazine. Thanks for talking with us. It’s been a while, so would you like to remind our readers about the background of your organisation and any changes there have been since we last spoke? Rogier Reinders: On June 1, 2016, The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: Dow) announced the successful completion of the transaction to restructure the ownership of Dow Corning. Dow is now the 100 percent owner of Dow Corning’s silicones business, which had revenues greater than $4.5 billion in 2015. Dow Corning’s silicones technology and product platform bring a highly complementary and growth enabling new chemistry to Dow that is aligned to the company’s strategy, to go narrower and deeper in attractive industry segments, where Dow is already a leader today. This is excellent news for customers of both Dow and Dow Corning. Bringing together the two companies will drive exciting opportunities for new product offerings, increased geographic reach and expanded R&D power, to bring innovations to

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PES takes a look at the latest way one company is offering a way to save time, money and be ecologically responsible, by using a new extrusion method. BREYER’s extrusion system “CellProtect” allows the production of low shrinkage EVA encapsulation film at high production speed – on top - no energy consuming annealing and no interlayer film makes the production economic and energy saving Photovoltaic (PV) systems are used to convert sunlight into electricity. Energy will continue to be a catalyst for global economic growth and prosperity and the power of the sun is at the heart of the revolution in renewable energy. The global PVB market is forecast to grow by a minimum of 10% in the next few years. According to a research report from November 2016 by Fraunhofer ISI Freiburg, Germany, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of PV installations was 42 % between 2000 to 2015. Concerning PV module production in 2015, China and Taiwan hold the lead with a share of 67 %, followed by Rest of Asia-Pacific and Central Asia (ROAP/CA) with 14%. Europe contributed with a share of 5 % (6% in 2014); USA/CAN contributed 3 %. In the same way the demand for encapsulant material is

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