PV storage and smart grids

In recognition of the growing importance of both storage technology and grid integration, pv magazine has created a dedicated "Storage & smart grids" page. Here you will find relevant, and regularly updated information on both topics.

Online news

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In print

Below you will find links to articles on storage and smart grids published in pv magazine, up until May 2013. For more recent articles, please visit the magazine archive.

Interview: Implementing storage solutions

pv magazine, 05/2013

The German Energy Storage Association (BVES) held its first meeting of members. Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and the organization’s first president, explains the goals.

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Grid mobilization

pv magazine, 05/2013

The German Energy Storage Association (BVES) held its first meeting of members. Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and the organization’s first president, explains the goals.

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Trends in energy storage markets

pv magazine, 04/2013

Market activity in energy storage, as with most cleantech sectors, is tied to government strategies pertaining to industrial innovation. The three regions with the most innovative and dynamic economies, Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America, have developed distinct strategies for cleantech and, more specifically, for energy storage, as Anissa Dehamna, Pike Research explains.

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Comparison of life spans

pv magazine, 03/2013

How long a battery lasts when used for a certain photovoltaic application depends on the circumstances. The manufacturer’s specifications are derived under favorable laboratory conditions. Thus in practice such values may often vary. Ulrich Ehmes explains how such information can be evaluated.

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Great savings potential

pv magazine, 03/2013

Solar power plants are still attractive for farmers. This is demonstrated by the example of a farming operation in which scientists have evaluated the consumption of self-produced electricity and electricity purchased from the grid, taking into account the possibility of load shifting. The study’s authors, Josef Neiber and Werner Schmid, explain.

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Self-consumption by the back door

pv magazine, 03/2013

Lower module prices and high levels of insolation mean photovoltaics is attractive in Spain even without government support. As a result, more and more companies are installing their own solar power systems to reduce electricity bills – although the government in Madrid has yet to pass any clear legislation regulating self-consumption.

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Main driver

pv magazine, 03/2013

The president of the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Jochen Flasbarth, on the role of storage, power to gas (PTG), power to liquid (PTL) and PV in a renewable energy scenario.

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Net metering in Brazil

pv magazine, 02/2013

We have seen a lot of governmental stimulus for the PV industry, in particular in Europe, with varying degrees of success and often at great cost. Many other countries have learnt from the seemingly endless discussions in Germany, Italy and Spain and have chosen alternative support systems to the customer-friendly feed-in tariff mechanism.

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Self-consumption

pv magazine, 02/2013

Small, decentralized solar energy production units, energy storage devices and a battery management system can help people to become independent from the public power grid and constantly rising electricity prices. The first systems for self- consumption prove that it really works.

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Vision 2050

pv magazine, 02/2013

A study conducted by Fraunhofer ISE shows that electricity in Germany does not have to be any more expensive in the year 2050 than it is today, and that it can be produced completely from renewable energies. This time PV technology fares decidedly better than in past studies on the topic.

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Battery overview

pv magazine, 02/2013

Batteries are an integral part of the total storage solution offered for renewable energy applications. However in the selection process, comparison of the different batteries available is not easy since chemistries and performance for applications differ.

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Stepwise innovation

pv magazine, 01/2013

Battery innovation will proceed due to both private and public investments, but guided by stepwise innovation introduced by legacy battery vendors, says Pike Research analyst Brittany E. Gibson.

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Power to gas solution

pv magazine, 12/2012

The electricity grid is under pressure to restructure itself to accept more renewable power. Power has been generated from gas conventionally. Now there is a practical option to go the other way too, power to gas, giving renewable-generated power a smart solution for storage and use.

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Smart inverters

pv magazine, 12/2012

With the popularity of PV prompting a move away from large centralized power generators to numerous decentralized small-scale generators, the latest generation of inverters have a significant part to play in modernizing grids for a renewables age, as TÜV Süd’s Christian Dirmeier and Ma Zhengdong explain.

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Net metering

pv magazine, 12/2012

A new net metering scheme should help Israel’s solar PV market grow more quickly in 2013 and there are signs that grid parity may soon be achieved.

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Storage market overview

pv magazine, 11/2012

The smorgasbord of storage solutions is on an upward trend as the products on offer increase this year. The first market overview on storage provides an orientation to integrated solutions and to this hot topic.

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Success in smart grid

pv magazine, 10/2012

The smart grid is projected to support a multi-trillion dollar global industry during the next two decades and this will open up a new frontier for entrepreneurs and investors in areas such as renewable energy technologies. Chairman of the IEEE Public Visibility Board Committee, Charlton Adams, Jr., elaborates.

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Changing energy habits

pv magazine, 10/2012

Electricity distributors, with the support of government funding, are piloting various energy storage applications as the UK sets out to reduce carbon emissions significantly in the coming years.

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Cross border solar

pv magazine, 10/2012

Prospects of exporting solar energy from Mexico to the United States have encouraged large power plant installations along the border area. While relative advantages exist in Mexico for lower cost installations, regulatory incongruities may hobble efforts to move the clean energy northward. Smart grid and transmission line developments currently underway should foster more activity in this unique region.

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The next big thing: Vanadium

pv magazine, 09/2012

One of the world’s newest “super powers” is not on the map yet, has not been recognized by the United Nations, and will not make an appearance at Comic-Con International. Its name is vanadium (chemical symbol: V), and it is a grayish-white, ductile and tensile metal that has unexpectedly become one of the most precious commodities on the planet.

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Solar and storage: A perfect marriage

pv magazine, 09/2012

Solar power manufacturers and storage solutions producers are joining forces. Pike Research’s research analyst in the Smart Energy practice, Brittany Gibson, explains how this helps and the direction of these collaborations.

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Now that’s smart

pv magazine, 09/2012

For some time now, experts have been saying that it is theoretically possible to obtain 100 percent of required power from renewable energy sources. In the heart of Berlin, a so-called micro smart grid is poised to provide evidence for this. But the project has placed researchers in uncharted scientific territory.

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From coin cell to giant

pv magazine, 09/2012

The technology is well known and there are enormous quantities of lithium batteries for laptops and mobile phones in use. While these batteries can also be used to store solar power, new developments are looking more promising for the near future.

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Renewable energy dynamics

pv magazine, 09/2012

Energy storage economics and electricity prices are inherently linked to each other. The decision to invest in energy storage will be partially driven by the idea to save on electricity bills or to assure power quality. Florian Schubert from Renewable Analytics explains the dynamics behind energy storage.

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The art of energy management

pv magazine, 09/2012

Many companies have been looking at the topic of energy management for a number of years, firstly to lower operating costs and secondly for ecological reasons. Franz Breitwieser, System Technology, Fronius International, explains how.

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Transmission lines

pv magazine, 08/2012

While hundreds of megawatts of new solar power projects have been approved by U.S. states and municipalities in recent times, the question of where associated transmission lines will be sited still hangs over some of these developments like the Sword of Damocles, a problem that could crash down with a terminating effect on a project.

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Decentralized power storage

pv magazine, 8/2012 

Gunar Hering, Principal at Boston Consulting Group, analyzes how storage technology will accelerate the adoption of photovoltaics.

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Interview

pv magazine, 8/2012

pv magazine spoke with Mastervolt International’s CEO Hans van Nikkelen Kuijper on the company’s strategy in the changing inverter market and its road map for the future.

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Inverters

pv magazine, 8/2012

Without new developments in inverters, solar power cannot be fed into the grid problem-free anymore. The electricity grid is changing and will continue to change. Inverters play a vital role. pv magazine joined the immense crowds at the inverter halls during Intersolar Europe to speak with manufacturers who gave us their two cents on the current situation.

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Off-grid PV

pv magazine, 8/2012

In some off-grid markets, solar power is already more cost-efficient than electricity from diesel generators. More market segments will join the list with rising diesel prices. We asked some of the many off-grid experts exhibiting at Intersolar Europe to describe the current state of the market for PV stand-alone systems, what is important, where the barriers are, and what are the major trends.

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Off-grid solar

pv magazine, 07/2012

The Alliance for Rural Electrification reports on a rural micro-grid project that powers a 60 home village on Santo Antão, the largest of the islands of Cape Verde, an archipelago off the coast of Western Africa. The most important application of the PV micro-grid, which includes an individual energy allowance scheme, is the production of ice to preserve fish.

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Grid integration in Germany

pv magazine, 7/2012

With record amounts of solar power generated in Germany this year, it is clear that the country’s regulatory framework is successfully fostering renewable energy. However success has had an impact on the economics of the electricity market. Now both fossil fuel incumbents and new solar players are trying to influence lawmakers to ensure their economic future.

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Raw materials

pv magazine, 7/2012

Lithium’s use as a raw material in batteries has given it a starring role in the energy age of tomorrow. However, the expected boom in electric mobility could create bottlenecks in the supply chain for PV powered systems.

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Self consumption

pv magazine, 06/2012

Inverter manufacturers are responding to this new market segment. Some are equipping their devices to control electrical loads. Some are even including weather forecasts. Others are building complete systems and integrating battery storage systems. All in an effort to increase the rate of self-consumption.

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Advancing Li-ion

pv magazine, 05/2012

Whether for off-grid applications or for self-consumption micro-grid systems, lithium battery storage technologies have steadily expanded their application scope and efficiency. REAPsystems together with the University of Southampton conducted research on a new version that can potentially increase efficiency and reduce cost.

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Solar with fossil fuels: partner or competitor?

pv magazine, 05/2012

Fossil fuels are usually considered a competitor to solar technologies, not a partner. But utilities in the U.S. are installing concentrated solar power technologies at their existing coal and natural gas power plants. The trend can bring either added competition or opportunity for the PV market.

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Energy storage systems

pv magazine, 2/2012

Europe’s leading utilities are investing in new storage capacities to be able to utilize more solar and wind energy, and at the same time cope with the phasing out of feed-in tariffs. An overview of storage technologies that support photovoltaic energy.

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Battery storage solutions

pv magazine, 11/2011

The combination of battery storage and PV has become a hot topic at industry conferences and exhibitions with the introduction of a range of new products and services targeted at utilities, grid operators, and PV power plant owners. The long-term benefit is improving the integration of solar energy into the energy mix.

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Cloud surveillance

pv magazine, 10/2011

A criticism commonly leveled at renewable energy producers is that the electricity they supply is variable and intermittent. A new project bringing together researchers, a plant owner/operator, grid operator and state and national government agencies hopes to overcome this hurdle, and track and predict the shadows cast by cloudy skies.

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Storage systems

pv magazine, 09/2011

Storage technology solutions are emerging in the U.S. solar market as something like the second punch in a boxer’s one-two knockout combination, delivering a hard-fought win for solar project economics.

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Interview: Smart energy

pv magazine, 09/2011

ProxEnergy is a young company that has been established by a man who has had years of experience in the solar industry. Knowing that current grids are not designed for bi-directional transport of electricity and information, the founder of the company felt it was important to think about energy transition. Frans van den Heuvel talks to pv magazine about his new setup and what he aims to achieve with the company slogan 'Produce it-Control it'.

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Solar inverter upgrade

pv magazine, 07/2011

A Canadian Engineering Professor has come up with a way to use idle solar inverter capacity in the evening to help relieve congestion on the grid and expand capacity for wind and other renewable sources. If it works as envisioned, it could open up new revenue opportunities for both solar and wind developers and help utilities defer costs.

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