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More Solar Power than ever: Growth in Photovoltaics brings new opportunities to the Solar Industry

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2011 was a record year both for Intersolar Europe and the international solar industry, with the expansion of newly-installed photovoltaic capacity reaching a new high.

With 18 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar power generated dur-ing the year, 2011 saw photovoltaics conquer a larger share of the German energy pro-duction market than hydropower for the first time. The increasing market share occupied by solar power highlights the opportunities that could be enjoyed by the technology in future energy supply. In order to exploit these opportunities effectively, the solar industry is working at full steam to create new solutions, such as grid integration and energy storage systems. The PV Energy World Special Exhibit at Intersolar Europe 2012 presents the latest developments in technology and reveals both the measures and the political conditions that are necessary to achieve the highest possible quotas of solar power generation.

In 2011, solar plants with a total capacity of at least 26.5 gigawatts (GW) were installed across the globe. In Germany alone, around 7.5 GW of new photovoltaic capacity was added, exceeding even the previous record year of 2010. This takes the total capacity installed in Germany to 24 GW. With 18 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar power produced during the year, 2011 saw photovoltaics conquer a larger share of the German energy production market than hydropower for the first time – and this share is set to grow further. According to estimates from BSW-Solar (German Solar Industry Association) in Berlin, solar power production will see a further 70% rise in the next four years alone. This would mean that, by 2016, 7% of the German energy mix would be supplied from PV systems. In order to take full advantage of this capacity in future, the industry needs to address grid stability, intelligent solutions for on-site consumption and efficient, economical storage as a matter of priority.

Innovative solutions for future energy supply

As the demands on infrastructure increase, so the industry gains new potential for value creation. Only recently, when the latest amendments were made to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), was the route paved for improving the grid integration of photovoltaics. The new Low Voltage Directive has been in force since January 1, 2012. Inverter manufacturers played a significant role in developing both this directive and corresponding solutions that have integrated mechanisms for controlling effective power. Thanks to the new standard, it will be possible to install significantly higher numbers of PV plants in future and integrate them into the low voltage grid. Even the on-site consumption of solar power and new storage technologies may, in future, also play their part in easing the burden on the grid and boosting photovoltaics’ contribution to energy supply.

There is also potential for small, efficient, distributed battery storage systems to assist in optimizing on-site consumption in residential homes. And for industry and commerce, which have highly consumption-dependent electricity costs, chiefly throughout the day, it is possible that intelligent all-in-one solutions using efficient storage technologies could achieve substantial cost savings. The options for doing so are many and varied, as almost all types of storage open up enormous potential for lowering costs, which in turn makes the use of energy storage systems increasingly attractive. Current battery technologies, for example, require an investment of at least 15 euro cents per kWh of stored energy that the installation is intended to generate. Over the next five to ten years, as the mass production of these technologies in-creases, it is expected that costs will drop to a level of around seven to ten euro cents per kWh.

These are just some examples of how the maximum possible market share of solar power might be achieved in future, both in Germany and throughout the world. The PV ENERGY WORLD Special Exhibit at Intersolar Europe 2012 will shed light on the entire sphere of technologies and market situations.

PV Energy World Special Exhibit showcases latest developments

Following its successful launch in 2011, the PV ENERGY WORLD Special Exhibition at Intersolar Europe 2012 will showcase the hottest developments and pioneering solutions in hall C4, booth C4.230 for the second time. The Special Exhibit is presented by the organizers of Intersolar Europe, Solar Promotion GmbH, Pforzheim, and Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co. KG (FWTM), Freiburg. Within the two thematic areas of Electricity Storage and Grid Integration, the Special Exhibit illustrates the measures, technologies and political conditions necessary to increase PV electricity generation. Expert presentations and panel discussions will also be hosted in the Special Exhibit’s central forum. The Special Exhibit is sponsored by SOLARWATT AG.

Experts discuss the power grids of the future

This topic will also be picked up by experts at the Intersolar Europe Conference from June 11-14. As the conference gets underway on Monday, June 11, a panel discussion will be held on the sub-ject of Electricity Storage, and the next generation of efficient storage solutions will be presented. The final conference day will then focus on topics including grid stability and safety (Grid Integration).

Source: Intersolar

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