Intersolar Liveblog 2024: SMA wins The smarter E Award for Sunny Central Flex platform

SMA wins The smarter E Award for Sunny Central Flex platform

SMA has won The smarter E Award for its Sunny Central Flex platform, a modular system solution for large-scale converter systems, available up to 7.4 MW. Despite its high performance, it uses silicon carbide transistors, achieving efficiencies up to 99.2% and 99.5% as a DC-coupled solution.

The award recognized the platform's flexible adaptability. The same platform can be configured for PV island systems, AC-coupled storage systems, DC-coupled PV-plus storage hybrid power plants, and hydrogen electrolyzers.

The 40-foot skidtainer construction includes a medium-voltage transformer, switchgear, DC-AC inverter stages, and DC/DC converter stages. These stages can be replaced and rearranged for various applications. SMA has certified the DC and AC connection stages, allowing the platform to adapt to individual applications without re-certification.

SMA configures each solution to project requirements and the DC/DC converters can be retrofitted to connect battery storage devices. Bernd Geßner, platform manager for SMA, said that its DC/DC converters enable fast reaction times within milliseconds for DC-coupled systems, matching AC-coupled solutions for frequency measures and virtual instantaneous reserve capabilities. He said these features are crucial in many markets.

SMA's Sunny Central Flex platform won The smarter E Award for its modularity, flexibility, and capability to perform various network formation tasks.

Shenzhen Tramsmart debuts 153.6 Wh LiFePO4 battery

Shenzhen Tramsmart is launching WalkingBoy, a 2.1 kg lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4) battery with 153.6 Wh of capacity. It can be charged via a solar panel or directly from the grid. The company is now looking for a distributor.

Growing in size

EcoFlow's launch of the PowerOcean Plus confirms a trend of residential installations growing in size and capacity. The Plus edition of EcoFlow's smart hybrid inverter handles up to 40 kW solar input, with a maximum 29.9kW AC output. Another feature of the Plus is that a single hybrid inverter can support a battery capacity of up to 60 kWh 15 kWh over the original model. Kevin Benedict, product and solution manager for EcoFlow, told pv magazine the larger product comes directly from customer requests for larger sizing to maximize home solar possibilities and EV charging. (Bald bros for life)

Germany remains top European battery market

“Germany is still and will remain the first market in Europe,” said Daniel Aleman, manager for Southern Europe at EFT-Systems by BYD. He added that residential battery prices will fall due to economies of scale, innovation and competition, but just marginally. “Italy will follow, but the major issue for end customers is that interest rates are high and this fact has an impact on the investment decision.”

Huawei draws crowds with biggest booth

Crowded everywhere but not at Huawei’s booth, which is not due to a lack of interest, but rather to the fact that the Chinese company has won the unofficial contest for the biggest booth of this year’s event. Huawei has booked half of Hall C1.

Bird nests under solar modules

What happens if a bird nests under your solar modules?

Nothing good: it's a fire hazard for humans and a bad habitat for incubating eggs. That's where Bird Blocker comes in, according to owner Hans De Grooth. Maybe one of the more unusual product launches on the floor, Bird Blocker is adding another variant to its range with the introduction of a steel roof compatible model that De Grooth sees as a perfect fit for rooftop C&I installations.

The team isn't just here to sell product either. To ensure Bird Blocker has the best compatibility range possible, De Grooth has colleagues measuring every module they can get their hands on at InterSolar.

Panel warns about rush to AI, calls for data quality

Slow and steady wins the race and other things to consider before hopping on the AI bandwagon: There was laughter from the audience in conference room 14C when the panel observed that mentioning AI in research proposals might help secure funding, but going all in on AI because it is trending without proper consideration of factors such as data gathering and processing, for example, is not advisable. “Digitalization is not the silver bullet,” “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” were some of the pearls of wisdom shared by panelists. That said, the panelists did name several current use cases for AI such as demand forecasting and for minigrids. And, for manufacturers, it’s very helpful to be willing to share any data they attain so researchers can learn from it. Improving digitilization for future systems depends on industry-wide access to good quality data and a lowering of expectations may be needed for the moment.

Sunmaxx PVT, Oxford PV unveil Solar Hammer PVT module with 80% efficiency

Sunmaxx PVT and Oxford PV have presented the Solar Hammer, their new photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) module. The companies say their partnership marks the first use of perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells in a photovoltaic thermal module. It has a record breaking 26.6% electrical efficiency and 53.4% thermal efficiency, totalling an overall 80% efficiency. Both the solar cells and modules are produced in Germany. Speaking at the unveiling of the module, Sunmaxx CEO Wilhelm Stein said “Solar Hammer is a challenge to our competitors and an impressive symbol of innovative strength.”

SolarEdge unveils 2025 home portfolio with modular battery, next-gen inverter

SolarEdge has unveiled a wide array of new hardware and software products for the residential and C&I sectors. SolarEdge CTO Ido Ginodi provided pv magazine with a preview of its 2025 SolarEdge Home Next Generation Three Phase Portfolio. This includes a modular battery compatible with both single-phase and three-phase systems, a next-generation inverter offering high efficiency at low consumption levels, and a previously announced bi-directional EV charger. Ginodi noted that product testing will begin in late 2024, with global availability from 2025, starting in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

GCL's perovskite-silicon tandem ready next year

GCL says its perovskite-silicon tandem module could reach mass production by the end of 2025.

Energia Italia at Intersolar

“We are the only Italian distributor present at Intersolar,” says Francesco Agusta, marketing director for Energia Italia. “Although the Key Energy show was a short time ago, Intersolar is attracting many visitors from Italy as well: there is a desire to be there and see first what the main innovations in the industry are.”

DJI launches DJI Dock 2 for solar

DJI, the leading consumer drone brand, integrates thermal cameras for the solar industry with its DJI Dock 2 drone-in-a-box solution, enabling a 10 km flight radius. Operations are streamlined through DJI Flighthub 2, allowing flights to follow preset paths initiated via a connected app. Demonstrations at Intersolar featured live flight data from a Spanish solar asset operated by Endesa. The Dock 2 is available through DJI's channel partners, priced around €15,000 ($16,130) in Germany, with Flighthub 2 available via subscription.

Ingeteam debuts mini central inverter

Ingeteam is showcasing a hybrid of central and string inverters called the mini central inverter, which connects to a single 300 kW cable instead of the 32 cables needed for a 300 kW string inverter. Mounted on a skid with multiple units, it can reach up to 8.4 MW. This innovative design significantly reduces cabling and construction costs by allowing easier cable routing along the mounting structure.

Cegasa presents new EScal HV modular battery

Spanish energy storage specialist Cegasa is launching EScal HV, a new modular and scalable battery, at Intersolar. The company says the new solution will respond to unresolved demand at the industrial and commercial level. It offers installations of between 17 kWh and 350 kWh through a stackable system, with up to 15 modules placed in a series, with four strings in parallel. Cegasa says the plug-and-play solution offers quick, safe connections without extra tools. The product is compatible with the main inverters on the market and will be available soon, with orders to be accepted from July.

'Long road' to electrification

Independent energy consultant Josef Hermann uses what he says is his favorite image to illustrate the “long road” that still remains for electrification in countries such as Ethiopia, where he is working on a project designing sustainable frameworks to aid the remote monitoring of social institutions‘ power systems.

Siqens proposes green hydrogen solution for gas networks

Siqens has proposed a solution to transport large quantities of green hydrogen by injecting it into Germany's existing gas network, which is already 96% hydrogen-capable, according to University of Stuttgart researchers. The challenge lies in cleanly separating hydrogen from methane, which is addressed by Siqens' self-developed membrane technology. This allows for efficient extraction of high-purity hydrogen with minimal electricity use, suitable for fuel cell operations. Additional details and project updates will be featured in an upcoming issue of pv magazine.

New leadership at Huawei

pv magazine met with the new president of Huawei's smart PV & ESS business, Steven Zhou, in an expansive one-hour interview. Zhou called for the entire industry to increase its focus on safety in both PV and ESS products.

Tecloman showcases advanced C&I energy storage solutions at Intersolar Europe 2024

Tecloman, a global manufacturer of battery energy storage systems (BESS), is presenting its innovative large-scale commercial and industrial (C&I) energy storage solutions at Intersolar Europe 2024. Its featured products include the TRACK outdoor liquid-cooled battery cabinet and the PV + BESS system. Attendees are encouraged to join the TecloTalk series at Tecloman’s booth (B1.470), where industry leaders will share insights into the energy storage sector. Small gifts will be provided to participants as tokens of appreciation during TecloTalk sessions.

European Hydrogen Bank exceeds expectations

“The European Hydrogen Bank auction has been a bit of a policy experiment. It did work. We wanted 40 bids, we received 132, of which seven were selected. Negotiations with them should be done in a couple of weeks,” said Johanna Schiele, policy officer for the European Commission. “The bids were surprisingly low also in relation to the estimates of consultants. These projects cover 1.5 GW of electrolyzer capacity”

To infinity and beyond...

A big launch from Aiko Solar as Managing Director Christian Peter unveils the next evolution in the module maker's ABC back-contact technology. Commercially available at the end of 2024, ABC Infinite takes efficiency to 25% and shines in partial shading conditions, according to Peter.

Italy's utility-scale PV market

Alessandro Bobbio, country manager Italy, Aiko Solar:

“Speaking of utility scale, the market in Italy and Europe is active, buzzing and moving, the opportunities are there. I sense that our customers are not worried, not even in Italy in light of the new legal decrees. It is a
market that stands on its own. Of course, if there were financial aid it would be better, but it stands.”

Don't decommission too soon

Tomaso Charlemont, head of PV revamping at BayWa re, says that the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region has more than 30 GW of operational assets that are aged over 10 years. He noted the dilemma faced by asset owners – whether to upgrade existing plants or decommission arrays that are nearing the end of their life cycle. Charlemont called for modernization, citing instances in which failing inverters posed challenges for plant owners. He emphasized the role of inverters as crucial components in solar systems and noted that adding new equipment such as energy storage, trackers, string inverters, and updated AC cabling could enhance project efficiency and financial viability. Charlemont said that revamping existing plants through updates is often more straightforward than developing new greenfield projects, which require leasing permits and connection agreements.

Hydrogen momentum continues to build

“We see some disappointment when it comes down to final investment decisions. It takes a few years. We are just in year No. 4,” said Hydrogen Europe CEO Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, adding that support for off-takers is esssential. “Clear signals are needed.”  Chatzimarkakis also called for legislative changes, such as scraping the hourly correlation condition.

The smarter E: fully booked

For the first time, The smarter E is fully booked with no free booths, says Markus Elsässer from organizer Solar Promotion. There are 3,048 companies presenting their products, and for the first time, China has the biggest share among them, reflecting the global market.

Verdian Power projects in Italy hit by solar ban on agricultural land

Jordi Francesc, director of Verdian Power (part of Glennmont Partners), told pv magazine that its projects in Italy have been affected by a new decree banning solar from agricultural land. “We have around 30 MW to 40 MW affected,” said Francesc. Italian Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida said in May that the rules apply to future actions, and not to projects with existing investments, but Francesc says it is unclear if the regulation will affect projects in development or installations with grid connections. “Depending on the lawyer, they either recommend continuing with the project or finding a new location,” he said.

Tesla bidirectional charging

Tesla is showcasing its bidirectional charging solutions

The day begins...

Visitors are starting to arrive at the conference venue…

Intersolar Europe 2024

Intersolar Europe 2024 opens its doors to the solar industry from June 19 to June 21 in Munich, Germany, as part of The smarter E Europe show. “This year, we will have about 3,000 exhibitors spread across 19 exhibition halls at the show,” a spokesperson from Solar Promotion GmbH, the event organizer, told pv magazine. “We are expecting about 115,000 visitors.”

Our editorial team will report on the latest solar and energy storage product developments, technological trends, and insider gossip via our live blog. This year is bigger than ever, with about 15 editors from our Global, German, Spanish, French, and Italian platforms in Munich. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.