INTERSOLAR 2019 - The world's leading trade fair for the solar industry
Every year the Who's Who, the elite of the solar industry, meets at Europe's largest solar trade fair INTERSOLAR in Munich to offer their products and services to interested visitors. The world's leading trade fair for the solar industry took place in Munich from 15 to 17 May 2019.
What is immediately noticeable is the increased number of exhibitors this year. A total of 1354 exhibitors showed their portfolio on 100,000 m² in 10 halls. In comparison, the number of exhibitors in 2018 was still just under 1200. The number of visitors this year is estimated at an estimated 50,000 trade visitors from 162 nations. This is certainly due to the continuing solar boom, which in 2018 saw an increase in PV capacity of almost 100 GW and is forecasted to reach almost 120 GW in 2019. The figures for 2019 fluctuate between 110 and 150 GW, depending on the information source. This expected growth, compared to the already successful previous year, is accompanied by a correspondingly significant demand for an increase in production capacities.
In addition, a look at the countries of origin of the exhibitors, at INTERSOLAR, reveals that the abolition of protective tariffs in the EU has not failed to have an effect. After all, it was obvious that the majority of exhibitors come from Asia.
In addition to quality and reliability, this growth is driven by cost-efficient and innovative production technologies, designed to ensure that products are launched on the market that reliably meet the planned service life of the respective components. These quality requirements are flanked by corresponding guarantees.
As every year, the products of the solar industry were thematically divided in the respective halls. In Halls A1-3, for example, everything to do with PV was to be found. From PV-cell and -module manufacturers (A1) to PV-system providers, PV-wholesalers and PV-services, EPC to IPC, to PV mounting and tracking systems. (A2/A3). Halls B2/B3 provided information on PV inverters, monitoring and control technology, smart renewable energy, off-grid power and solar thermal energy.
Hall B1 and part of Hall C1 were reserved for the parallel event ees Europe. Here stationary battery and energy storage systems, as well as battery production technologies and battery materials and components were presented.
This year's Power2Drive Europe, on the topics of charging infrastructure and electro-mobility, took place in Hall C3.
The third event, EM-Power, provided valuable information on the topics of decentralized self-sufficiency, energy management and building automation, energy services and contracting models in Hall C4.
What attracted attention was the meagre number of exhibitors in the solar thermal sector. It was only occasionally and with difficulty that solar thermal collectors could be discovered at the trade fair. An obvious indication that the focus is on the more profitable PV-industry and the foreseen growing PV-market. It's a shame when we do realize that solar thermal energy in the areas of providing hot water, solar thermal district heating, solar thermal industrial heating and the special applications like solar assisted cooling and solar assisted desalination plants, can certainly be expected to grow strongly in the coming years. Admittedly, a forecast that is repeated every year, but has not really been confirmed yet and has not yet picked up speed.
In my view, this year's INTERSOLAR solar trade fair focused on the following topics. In each case, this was flanked by corresponding lectures and presentations at the accompanying conferences.
In view of the expected continuing PV-boom on PV production technologies. The continued steady growth inevitably leads to an upswing in PV production. Inevitably combined with high quality standards, but also coupled with the requirement to significantly reduce component costs. A Vabanque game, which inevitably brings innovations and efficient solutions in the field of production technologies with it. This is not only about pure PV module production, but also manufacturing technologies and production solutions in the areas of PV-ingots- and -wafer production, systems for manufacturing such as PV-cells and thin-film technologies. To this fact was owed with this year's fair to this topic its own hall (C1) dedicated, flanked by an extensive master program.
Further attention was paid to the growing challenges of inverters. For a long time now, these inverters have not only been performing the function of converting DC to AC current, but have also had to master other challenges. Applications in the field of Power2Heat, SmartHome Technology, self-sufficient power supply units, hybrid solutions, are all possible.
The aforementioned topic packages are supplemented by a future orientation towards hybrid power plants. These include, among other things, systems in which PV paired with wind power are combined with corresponding storage technologies to form a combined package unit. Corresponding projects have already been announced worldwide for PV-wind-hybrid-power-plants. Massive growth is expected.
The theme packages will be rounded off with a growth market that is currently on everyone's lips - Africa. Africa is the market of the future par excellence. An extremely rising energy demand, rising conventionally provided electricity prices and ideal solar irradiation values are contrasted by falling costs for PV systems. This is an ideal constellation for accelerating the energy transition in Africa as well. Apart from that, there is still a huge demand for self-sufficient energy supply units that can also supply remote areas that are not connected to a grid, with energy. Unfortunately, this focus on this continent also has the bland aftertaste that profit vultures have found a new field of activity. We must therefore be careful that Africa is not misused as a sales market for purely profit-oriented investors. What is needed are fully comprehensive projects that integrate the local population into the process in order to create real perspectives, with the help of accompanying training and education measures, in addition to the actual creation of solar power plants. Measures that turn a solar park into a long-term sustainable project.
As every year, the INTERSOLAR Award 2019 was also presented this year. For the 12th time now, this prize is awarded to the best in the industry for their achievements. This year's recipients of the coveted award were Huawei Technologie Co. Ltd. Zhejiang Jinko Solar Co. Ltd. and Raycatch Ltd.
In addition to other smaller awards from the INTERSOLAR solar trade fair, the Baden-Baden television journalist Franz Alt was awarded the "European Energy Hero 2019" prize. [quote Sonnenseite 18.05.2019] "The jury's reasoning for Franz Alt: "The journalist has helped prepare the solar energy revolution and the ecological traffic revolution in more than 30 countries in recent decades. He continues to advise governments and corporations around the world on the switch to renewable energies. His book "Die Sonne schickt uns keine Rechnung ist ein Welt-Bestseller geworden" (The sun does not send us a bill has become a world bestseller) has made a significant contribution to solar and wind energy being the cheapest energy sources in 70 countries today. In many poor countries of the world, solar power is now "social power".
What I personally missed, although it cannot be ruled out that I simply overlooked this because of the enormous range of products on offer, are innovative approaches to solutions, e.g. to make PV solar parks more sustainable. If you have a look to some of the realized projects in this world, you will notice that in the name of environmentally friendly energy production, most valuable natural areas are being massively destroyed. In some places, valuable farming land, even virgin forests and valuable natural areas are sacrificed to create space for a PV solar park. From my point of view, sustainability looks totally different. Especially since innovative solutions are already available. Agro-PV should only be mentioned here. Here the solar area is still available for agricultural use. The same applies to aquaculture units and many other applications.
An presentable example for an innovative solution in this sector can be found here:
An presentable example for an innovative solution in this sector can be found here:
On the whole, it should be noted that the INTERSOLAR solar trade fair has recorded massive growth, which is very pleasing. After all, it shows the uniform global will to implement the energy transition in real terms in order to be able to do without fossil fuels or nuclear energy in the future. On the other hand, the current INTERSOLAR clearly shows that many entities would rather concentrate on pure profit-oriented technologies and not on all technologies that solar energy already provides technologically. Solar thermal energy continues to be a technology that is lagging behind. A snapshot that, in my view, does not do justice to the actual potential of solar thermal energy. I hope that the real market will take this into account and will make greater use of solar thermal technologies accordingly. In addition to pure service water heating, also in the area of industrial heat supply, local/regional local heat supply and also with special projects in the area of solar-assisted seawater desalination plants, as well as solar-assisted air-conditioning supply units. A diversified field for which highly efficient solar thermal collectors are already available.
Andreas Wöll, Dipl.Ing. (FH)
For over 25 years in the field of renewables at home with complementary experience on international terrain in Asia, Africa and Middle East..
You will find this article be published in the summer issue of Kathai Magazine 06/2019 and will be available from June 6th at http://books.kathai.de