With the solar industry currently experiencing a wave of innovations, numerous companies are showcasing the results of their intensive research and development. Intersolar Europe and ees Europe in Munich opened its doors presenting the Intersolar and ees AWARD to especially groundbreaking solutions.
In the Photovoltaics category, the Intersolar AWARD award went to LG Electronics Deutschland GmbH, M10 Industries AG and SolarEdge Technologies Inc., while projects submitted by Jakson Engineers Limited, ME SOLshare Ltd., Schneider Electric SE, SMA Sunbelt Energy GmbH and S.O.L.I.D. Gesellschaft für Solarinstallation und Design mbH impressed the panel in the new category of Outstanding Solar Projects. This new category recognizes projects from around the world that make an exceptional contribution to driving forward the energy transition. For the first time, owners of solar projects were also able to take part.
The ees AWARD of Europe’s largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems went to the companies Ferroamp Elektronik AB, LG Chem, Ltd., and SMA Solar Technology AG.
With 149 projects this year, the Intersolar AWARD received a record number of submissions. Exhibiting companies from all Intersolar and ees exhibitions around the world were invited to take part. Applicants could only put forward products, projects, services and solutions which were undergoing testing or which were already in use (and were making their first appearance) or which showed significant developments to existing technologies at the time of submission. The experts examined the degree of technological innovation, the benefit for industry, the environment and society as well as the economic viability of the solution.
Winners of Intersolar AWARD in the Photovoltaics category
The new, highly efficient, bifacial solar module LG NeON 2 BiFacial of Electronics manufacturer LG Electronics Deutschland GmbH significantly boosts energy yields and features NeON cell technology and 12-wire CELLO cell connection. In outdoor tests carried out and documented by LG Electronics under various, typical conditions, the modules were shown to increase yields by around 10%. The conventional, simple junction boxes are divided into three smaller boxes located outside the cell area, thus avoiding shading and heat build-up on the back of the module. The module is also relatively lightweight, making it easier to install.
The Germany-based company M10 Industries AG develops, produces and maintains manufacturing systems for the solar industry. As the only stringer in the world able to solder up to 5,000 solar cells per hour, the Kubus multi-tray stringer increases capacities dramatically. The Kubus system connects an entire module in a single soldering process, eliminates the need to insert individual strings and significantly minimizes cell handling. All components can be exchanged without interrupting the production process, which considerably reduces the amount of downtime. The same system can be used to process numerous cell concepts with a different number of busbars, and can even be integrated into existing production lines.
The HD Wave technology of SolarEdge Technologies Inc., Israel, has enabled the development of a compact, lightweight inverter with a record-breaking efficiency of up to 99%. It uses multi-level technology with distributed switches to generate voltages that come very close to the sine wave of the grid voltage. This considerably reduces the number of magnetic components required. The silicon MOSFETs used for the multi-level switching ensure low switching and conduction losses, thus reducing cooling requirements. This allowed power density to be increased, whilst reducing the size of the inverter to around half that of most standard devices. SolarEdge anticipates lower production costs, thus considerably reducing the costs of one of the main components of a PV installation.
Winners in the Outstanding Solar Projects category
Jakson Engineers Limited from India offers a diverse range of energy solutions promoting sustainable growth. For the Intersolar AWARD 2016, the company submitted a project that sees the Indian village of Baripatha (Odisha) powered completely by solar energy through centralized and individual installations. This has considerably improved the quality of life of all inhabitants in the rural village, who are also responsible for cleaning the solar panels and checking the water levels in the batteries. In the event of cyclones or strong wind, the solar installation can be dismantled and stowed away in just two minutes. Micro-financing was a decisive factor during the implementation phase, and positively influenced the project’s long-term success. The off-grid installation is easy to reproduce, thus helping to protect the environment and reduce the inhabitants’ dependency on oil.
ME SOLshare Ltd. from Germany provides low-income earners in rural areas of Bangladesh with a platform for sustainable, affordable access to electricity. The smart PV DC village microgrid in Shariatpur is the world’s first peer-to-peer network to allow energy to be shared between private solar installations. Bidirectional metering devices allow users to buy and sell electricity via the power grid. Households that do not have their own solar installation can now purchase electricity from their neighbors. The expansion of solar energy in the village is reducing fossil fuel consumption and facilitating the inhabitants’ access to electricity
Thanks to French Schneider Electric SE’s project in Lagos, Nigeria, diesel generators have been replaced by solar technology on a large scale. The solution includes a charge controller which enables the PV installation to operate at high voltage with less cables, a plug-and-play communication gateway, robust products that can withstand the tough environmental conditions in Africa, and a system designed for a prefabricated container.
SMA Sunbelt Energy GmbH from Germany, a subsidiary of SMA Solar Technology AG, is behind the large-scale hybrid project for solar power generation and storage on St. Eustatius Island. This project, the first of its kind and size in the Caribbean, is reducing the island’s dependency on diesel generators. Thanks in particular to the storage device used, the panel of judges found the project to be a revolutionary solution for replacing diesel generators. It integrates large quantities of solar power into a diesel solar power grid, reducing operating costs, CO2 emissions as well as dependency on diesel fuel. The solution’s storage component increases stability thanks to its frequency control, ability to limit fluctuations in performance caused by the weather and optimization of diesel generator operation. The amount of diesel used and resulting emissions are drastically reduced.
Austrian S.O.L.I.D. Gesellschaft für Solarinstallation und Design mbH designed the largest solar cooling system of its kind at Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. The installation heats a single-effect lithium bromide adsorption chiller. Although temperatures in Scottsdale can rise to 43°C in the summer, the installation meets all of the school’s cooling requirements. It also serves as an educational project on environmental awareness for 2,600 students and the local population.
The ees AWARD winners
With the EnergyHub system, the Swedish manufacturer Ferroamp Elektronik AB has developed an intelligent photovoltaic storage combination. This highly flexible, low-loss system brings together a local DC nanogrid, the most up-to-date circuitry and smart meter function. The basic set-up: a bidirectional 3-phase inverter with internal phase com-pensation and distributed DC-DC converters for diverse PV strings, batteries and DC consumers. Different generators are networked over a DC high-voltage connection, and wind and hydropower plants can also be integrated via rectifiers. This system particularly impressed the panel of judges with its high levels of efficiency enabled by the DC coupling, and considerable scalability from 3.5 kW to the MW range.
The Residential Energy Storage Unit RESU from the Korean company LG Chem, Ltd. is an innovative storage solution which uses lithiumion batteries with advanced JH3 cell technology. The RESU range boasts the world’s highest energy density in the low-voltage range. Thanks to different low-voltage and high-voltage variants, it supports a wide range of compatible inverters. The basic device in the range is available from 3.3 to 10 kWh and can easily be expanded, therefore increasing storage capacity. The software upgrades of the Battery Management System are available on an SD card: extremely convenient. Easy to install and space-saving, RESU lends itself to external and internal assembly, as well as application in new and existing systems around the world.
With the compact, transformerless high-voltage battery inverter Sunny Boy Storage 2.5, SMA Solar Technology AG from Niesetal, Germany has developed a solution which is particularly well suited to retrofitting existing PV plants, and at an attractive price. Weighing just 9 kg, it can easily be assembled by a single person and used with high-voltage batteries from a variety of manufacturers. With 2.5 kW charging and discharging power, it is ideal for electricity consumption in private households. The high efficiency level of over 97% means that the battery storage system can boast an overall efficiency (AC-AC) of up to 90%. And thanks to the AC coupling, it is suitable for installation in new and existing plants. Following the trend set by high-voltage batteries, the Sunny Boy Storage 2.5 can be flexibly deployed as an independent component, gaining therefore huge market potential.