Intersolar Europe: bright skies but declining size

The bright skies above the city were unable to brighten the mood of organizers at the opening press conference. Fewer numbers were behind the glum expressions of Intersolar Munich organizers. Solar Promotion, which organizes the trade fair, reported a decline from 1,870 exhibitors in 2012 to 1,330 this year who nevertheless represented 47 countries.

Exhibition space has also declined, from 171,600 square meters to 121,000 square meters. The number of expected visitors is also down from 65,000 to 50,000 this year. International visitors account for about 40% of attendees, approximately the same as in 2012, according to Solar Promotion CEO Markus Elsässer.

Unsurprisingly, Germans make up the largest group of exhibitors by nationality, followed by Chinese and Italian exhibitors.

The decline in Chinese exhibitors has been apparent to the pv magazine team and according to official numbers, exhibitors from China have dropped by 53% in the past two years, from 523 in 2011 to 241 this year.

The energy storage sector of the exhibition is still growing, however, Elsässer reported, with 20% of exhibitors now presenting storage solutions – a clear reflection of the emergence and growth of the market for energy storage products.

New exhibitors from emerging markets are also generating interest at the show, such as the newly formed Dusol, a joint venture between India’s Premier Solar and Dubai-based Apex Power Concepts. Dusol told pv magazine that it is currently ramping up a new 50 MW module line for high quality off-grid modules and with 30W to 40W output.

The Dusol facility is located in Dubai and is designed to serve the growing market and off-grid applications in the MENA region. Dusol General Manager Amin Lakhani said that Dusol will offer off-grid modules for about half the price as currently on the market, at around US$0.80 per watt. Dusol said that the modules are designed with specially configured equipment from Japan’s NPC.

Initial impressions that crowds were noticeably down were reinforced by the available seats in the metro approaching the event, as opposed to previous years when the crowds made a spare seat difficult to find. Entrance to the fairgrounds took only minutes, while in previous years the lines would delay attendees.