Intersolar award winners announced

The ceremony, dubbed the "Oscars of the solar industry" was celebrated at the Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich.

Germany-based Gehrlicher Solar took home an award in the photovoltaics category. This company got down to brass tacks in order to get giant 5.6 square meter modules from the factories onto the fields.

To do so, the company’s developers first built a transport container with which the modules are tightly packed and transported to the building site. Secondly, they designed a semiautomatic assembly robot that picks up the modules with six suction cups and places them on the rack.

Thirdly, the Gehrlicher solution involves a mounting system with which, according to company information, it is possible to remove the 5.6 square meter modules from the truck and install them in only sixty seconds (see pv magazine 03/2010, page 78).

SMA Technology, also based in Germany, was the second company to receive recognition in the field of photovoltaics. They won their award with the 800CP outdoor inverter.

With an output of 800 kilowatts, the 800CP outdoor stands out among large central inverters, due to the inverter’s remarkable maximum energy conversion efficiency of 98.6 percent, which satisfies the requirements of the Medium Voltage Guideline of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries. It is supplied in weatherproof housing so that the investor can save on a concrete shelter, and string monitoring is already integrated.

The combination of all of these features means that the 800CP is easily transported and installed in a comparatively short amount of time.

Additionally, the cooling is so good that even with an outside temperature of up to 50 degrees centigrade the inverter generates the full nominal output, and even ten percent more with a temperature of 25 degrees – which translates into correspondingly lower costs, according to SMA.

The developers from ABB also received an award for their S800-RSU remote-controllable load disconnecting switch. The product in the first instance saves money, and could also please fire-brigades and insurers.

Basically, each string in the proximity of the modules is equipped with such a switch. Since they can be switched off by means of the load disconnecting switch, only the string affected fails and not the entire system. As a result, the switches quickly pay for themselves.

However, they also offer another significantly favorable aspect in a completely different field, i.e. fire protection, or rather, safe extinguishing. If a house on which a photovoltaic plant is installed burns, then the local fire-brigade must exercise extreme caution when putting out the fire because the high voltages are very dangerous. On the other hand, if the system is equipped with the load disconnecting switch, then it is possible to switch off the solar installation at the string via remote control.

Six other winners were also announced at the Intersolar awards under the categories PV Production Technology and Solar Thermal Technology. The winning companies in these categories included: Festo AG & Co. KG, GEMO-TEC Ltd. and Gebr. Schmid GmbH + Co. for their contributions to PV Production Technology; and FSAVE Solartechnik GmbH, InvenSor GmbH and a joint submission from the Institute for Building Construction and Design of the University of Stuttgart, Ritter Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Hydro Building Systems GmbH and Frener & Reifer Metallbau GmbH for their entires in the Solar Thermal Technology category.