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Positive Balance of Intersolar Europe and of ees Europe 2017: Innovations and Falling Prices Stimulate the New Energy World

July 06, 2017 by Intersolar

This article discusses the events that happened and topics discussed during the Intersolar Europe 2017 Conference especially about renewable energies.

With great success ended the Intersolar Europe2017, the leading trade fair for the solar economy and its partners of the world, and – taking place at the same time — the ees Europe 2017, the largest trade fair for batteries and energy storage systems. More than 1,100 exhibitors from 51 countries presented innovative solutions and products in Munich from May 31 through June 2. Both fairs attracted about 40,000 visitors in seven halls.


Intersolar Europe 2017

This year’s exhibition focused on the new energy world. One of the highlights was the special exhibit Smart Renewable Energy. Other topics included new financing and business models for photovoltaics (PV), large-scale PV power plants and the operation and maintenance of PV installations. Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and partners of the solar industry attended the show and the conference in Munich.

The global photovoltaics market is booming: According to the latest Global Solar Demand Monitor by GTM Research, analysts expect the demand for PV to reach 85.4GW this year, which would mean a doubling of the global PV market since 2014. As a result, Intersolar Europe is becoming even more attractive for the industry’s manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and service providers. In 2017, the leading exhibition occupied one hall more than in the previous year.


Special Focus: Smart Renewable Energy

The energy industry’s shift towards a digital energy world and the interconnectedness of electricity, heat, and mobility (sector coupling) are the main factors in the success of the energy transition, which has put them at the top of the agenda at Intersolar Europe. Visitors to the exhibition could find out all there is to know – from the challenges of efficient, safe and cost-effective integration of renewable energies to new business models that result from the energy industry of the future.

Manufacturers and experts from industry, business and research presented their latest solutions on the three exhibition days, where Friday was all about local energy supply and self-consumption. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and its project partners from the Helmholtz Association demonstrated the Energy Lab 2.0, a real-life laboratory showcasing new approaches to integrating different technologies into the energy system.


Smart Renewable Energy Forum: Digitalization is Key

The digital transformation in the energy industry has fundamentally changed the electricity landscape. In the future, the energy supply will be ensured by a range of renewable energy plants, storage systems and consumers acting as prosumers. Therefore the Smart Renewable Energy Forum concentrated on new concepts and technologies for digital networking along the energy value-added chain. It threw a spotlight on diverse aspects of a digitalized energy industry on all three exhibition days. Industry experts from science, industry, and associations discussed the wide-ranging topic of digitalization.

The future of renewable energies in the power supply depends strongly on digitalization along the whole value-added chain – as this is the only way to ensure that power from decentralized and disparate volatile energy sources is optimally integrated into the grid. Numerous new digital services, products, and solutions are currently under development. These will control the decentralized energy market flexibly and safely, and in doing so, optimally coordinate generation and consumption. In addition to this, smart communication between energy producers, smart grids, storage systems, and consumers is also necessary. “The large number of players in the communication chain naturally involves risks to grid security and data protection. Cybersecurity always has to be taken into account in this context. "For this reason, we are continuously working on solutions for improving system security,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Waidner, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT.


Intersolar/ees AWARD

The Intersolar AWARD was given for the tenth year in a row. For years, the award ceremony has been a highlight of the exhibitions and a source of excellent publicity for the finalists and winners. The top-class panel of judges honored cutting-edge, sustainable solar products and projects in the categories of Photovoltaics and Outstanding Solar Projects. For the first time, submissions were accepted for the topic of Smart Renewable Energy. The ees AWARD is among the most important prizes for the energy storage industry and honors pioneering developments and innovations. This year’s many international submissions included projects for the integration of renewable energies into the grid, increased efficiency, and durability of lithium-ion batteries, and the step towards megawatt output. The award ceremony was attended by high-caliber dignitaries and brought together Intersolar and ees exhibitors, representatives and decision-makers from the international solar industry.


Intersolar Europe Conference

The Intersolar Europe Conference saw experts delving into the exhibition topics, discussing the latest trends and the developments of international markets. Large-scale PV power plants were a hot topic this year, as they are driving the expansion of PV at an international level. Financing and the profitability of large-scale systems were of particular interest at this year’s conference, with digitalization often playing a prominent role.


ees-Europe 2017 – “Charging the Future”

This year, the event dealt with the topics of self-consumption in residential and commercial buildings, large-scale storage systems and grid integration, battery safety and global storage markets as well as e-mobility. ees Europe, the continent’s largest and most visited exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, presented the latest trends and technologies in the industry in cooperation with the International Battery and Energy Storage Alliance (IBESA). The exhibition took place in parallel with Intersolar Europe, whereas the ees Forum was dedicated entirely to the most important markets and practical experiences in the production, sales, installation, and application of batteries and energy storage systems. It featured presentations and discussions from specialists and experts from all over the world.


ees Europe Forum
Figure 1: ees Europe Forum


ees Europe offered an overview of the versatile applications for large-scale storage systems. Suppliers, manufacturers, and users of stationary and mobile electricity storage systems had the opportunity to share information and gain insights into the future of modern energy supply. Major trends were an enormous market upturn, driven by considerably decreasing costs. The prices for e.g. small lithium-ion storage units up to 10 kWh in Germany have dropped by around 4o percent since 2013, and in the same time frame prices of the bulk storage systems up to 30kWh even dropped by more than 50 percent. That is one of the reasons why more than 20,000 new solar power storage units have been installed in the last year.


Storage Helps Reduce Costs

Energy storage systems are set to play a central role in the energy supply of the future: As the use of renewable energy sources becomes more widespread, it will be increasingly important to guarantee a reliable power supply and smart energy management. Storage systems allow electricity to be retrieved even at times when cloud formations or windless conditions prevent the generation of clean power. Furthermore, they can help to connect different generating units to create virtual power plants, and thus ensure a reliable energy supply across entire regions. With their capacity to uncouple the generation of clean power from consumption and ease the burden on grids, large-scale storage systems will play a central role in the energy supply of the future, because they allow flexible coordination of energy supply and demand.

The potential for use of such storage systems in Germany is far from being exhausted, however: The German Energy Storage Association (BVES) put the total market for large-scale storage systems at some 35 MW in August 2016. By January 2017, the cumulative capacity had already reached around 120 MW, and the association expects approximately 200 MW to be available by December 2017. The BVES estimates that somewhere in the region of 600 projects have been completed in Germany in agricultural settings, apartment buildings, trade, commerce, and industry to date. The demand for large-scale storage facilities is rapidly increasing.

Thus the success story of ees Europe is unbroken: from 48 exhibitors at its start in 2014, the exhibition has grown to include 251 companies from all over the world this year. Around 440 of the roughly 1,100 exhibitors at ees Europe and Intersolar Europe are presenting energy storage technology.


ees Forum: Growth and Change of Energy Storage

At the ees Forum, experts, exhibitors, and start-ups were offering insights into the latest developments in the energy storage industry on all three exhibition days. Right at the start, the market research institute EuPD Research reported on the status quo and the future of the energy storage market in the keynote speech titled “Current Trends and Market Forecasts in the German and Global Energy Storage Market”. Subsequent presentations addressed the legal conditions for the profitability of energy storage systems, installation and operation safety, and quality assurance.

The storage market for renewable energies is booming and bringing long-term change to the energy landscape. This goes hand in hand with new business models and competitive opportunities that benefit consumers as well as manufacturers and suppliers. For this reason, the ees Forum, held in cooperation with IBESA for the fourth time, shone a spotlight on promising market strategies for suppliers of small-scale and commercial storage devices. The afternoon sessions were entirely devoted to the innovative industry environment with the keynote speech “How Start-ups and Innovations Enrich the Storage Industry”.

Further presentations saw researchers, manufacturers and solution providers addressing e-mobility as part of sustainable energy supply. Networking and new connectivity solutions play an important role in this, as was shown in the presentation “E-Mobility and HVAC Technology: Integrating What Belongs Together – Market Overview and Product Diversity in Charging Systems”.


Large-Scale Storage Systems

Finally, the ees Forum turned to large-scale storage systems. Energy storage systems used in industrial installations or neighborhood scale distributed energy storage systems are facing significant challenges, but also opportunities. Furthermore, experts were concentrating their attention on practical topics: The presentation series “PV Domestic Storage Systems – A Booming Market with Pitfalls”, held in cooperation with the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar), was addressing the most important questions on the usage of energy storage systems, such as an overview of the current standards, or the PV storage passport from ZVEH (German Central Association of Electrical and Information Technology Contractors) and BSW-Solar.

One important application of large-scale storage systems is the industry, where they are used for peak shaving. Surplus energy, produced for example at midday, can be captured by the storage devices and then released on demand, for instance at times when large amounts of electricity are required. Power supplied by the electric grid is reduced dramatically as a result, and costs fall. Businesses are then able to benefit from so-called “atypical grid usage”. If they predominantly consume energy at times when the general grid load is light, they pay significantly lower tariffs. “Large-scale storage is essential to distributed, green, reliable energy supply systems. We are delighted to be presenting our innovations at ees Europe, and to have the opportunity for discussions with a wide range of trade visitors here,” stated Daniel Hannemann, Managing Director of TESVOLT GmbH.


Lucrative business models

Other business models are also suited to the use of large-scale storage systems, one example being neighborhood-scale distributed energy storage: Here, operators of cogeneration plants and PV installations utilize the same energy store. Since investment is only required in one storage facility, purchase costs are far cheaper than the installation of several small domestic storage systems. When used to capture surplus power from the German grid, large-scale storage systems also allow plant operators to optimize their electricity marketing.


Hot Topic: E-Mobility

The energy storage industry is becoming increasingly attractive for other industry sectors. Alongside traditional battery and storage system manufacturers, large automotive companies are now setting up production facilities for batteries. Electric vehicles fuelled by electricity from renewable sources represent the climate-friendly mobility solution of the future, and increasingly powerful batteries are becoming more and more important storage resources. The topics of e-mobility and mobile storage systems were among the most important trends at this year’s ees Europe. The new mobile applications are also serving to expand the market, which until recently was dominated by stationary storage systems.


The ees Forum and the ees Europe Conference

The ees Forum also took up the hot topic of e-mobility. Many keynote speeches and case studies illustrated the development of high-performance batteries, e-mobility as well as storage components and infrastructure. Presentations and discussions from international specialists were shedding light on the most important markets and practical experiences in the production, sales, installation, and application of batteries and energy storage systems.

For even deeper insights into the trends, the ees Europe Conference kicked off with a number of sessions dedicated to the most pressing questions for all sectors of the energy storage industry. The two-day conference focused on storage systems for household, commercial and industrial applications, energy management, and the political framework conditions for the future of Germany’s energy supply. The conference agenda also included e-mobility. Large-scale storage systems were a key topic at ees Europe Conference, too: Drawing on best practice case studies, the session “Real Life Projects: Commercial & Utility-Scale” provided insight into the technical and economic potential of PV battery systems. In the conference session “European and Global Market Developments for Stationary and Automotive Storage Systems”, attendees had the opportunity to learn how the market for stationary and mobile storage systems is poised to develop, chiefly in Europe but also worldwide,


The Smarter E - More Fairs and an Umbrella Brand

In the future, the new umbrella brand “The smarter E Europe” will combine several fairs around renewable and intelligent energy solutions – among them Intersolar Europe and ees Europe in Munich. From 2018 The smarter E will be a new bracket for diverse events covering topics like regenerative production, distribution, storage and intelligent use of energy. For the first time in Munich, new trade fairs under this umbrella will be “Power2Drive” and “EM-Power”. The Power2Drive Europe addresses traction batteries and the charging infrastructure for e-mobility plus networking of electric vehicles. At the same time, the EM-Power will be the trade fair for intelligent energy usage in the industry and in buildings. Later in the future, the fair organizers intend to start events, workshops, and forums around intelligent energy under the roof of The smarter E.

The next Smarter E event, including Intersolar and ees, will take place June 20 to 22, 2018 in Munich.


About Intersolar

With events spanning four continents, Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition series for the solar industry and its partners. It unites people and companies from around the world with the aim of increasing the share of solar power in our energy supply. With more than 27 years of experience, Intersolar has the unique ability to bring together members of the solar industry from across the world’s most influential markets. Intersolar exhibitions and conferences are held in Munich, San Diego, Mumbai, São Paulo, Mexico City and Dubai. These global events are complemented by the Intersolar Summits, which take place in emerging and growing markets worldwide.


This article originally appeared in the Bodo’s Power Systems magazine.