Intersolar Europe 2017:
Smart Renewable Energy Paves
the Way for the Global Energy Transition
The digitalization of the energy sector is the next major milestone on the road to a global energy transition. The primary aim is to effectively integrate renewable energies into the grid in order to match supply and demand in an intelligent way. Intersolar Europe, the world's leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners, and ees Europe 2016, the continent's largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, were dedicated to this new energy world.
More than 44,000 visitors from 160 countries came to Munich to immerse themselves in this world from June 22-24, 2016. This represents an increase in visitor numbers of around 18% in comparison with the previous year. With 2016 marking the 25th anniversary of the exhibition, a particular spirit of optimism and a strong commitment to change could be perceived in the halls. Visitors and exhibitors alike voiced their great satisfaction with the event.
The solar market is booming worldwide. This was demonstrated not least by the Global Market Outlook 2016-2020 report presented by SolarPower Europe at Intersolar Europe last week. By the end of 2015, a total of 229 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity had been installed worldwide, which equates to a 45-fold growth in just ten years. What's more, the association predicts that this amount could rise to 700 GW by 2020. With the global market enjoying exponential growth, international networking is becoming progressively more important for the industry. Intersolar Europe has been increasingly meeting this need for global collaboration in recent years - in 2016, visitors from 160 nations traveled to the event, while around 60% of the exhibiting companies came from outside Germany. The exhibitors themselves also appreciated this trend: "We believe that Intersolar Europe is becoming more and more international. This is crucial for us because with declining European markets, growing new markets outside of Europe will play an ever greater role. We see Intersolar Europe as the most important event of the year, as it gives us the opportunity to meet a large number of our partners. It is not only extremely useful as a venue for acquiring new customers, but for maintaining relationships with existing customers," explained Robert Pfatischer, Managing Director of meteocontrol GmbH.
Smart renewable energy at Intersolar and ees Europe 2016
All around the world, photovoltaics is growing into a cornerstone of sustainable power generation for the future. The production of solar energy is perfectly complemented by energy storage systems, which can absorb the electricity generated and make it available again when needed. Renewable energy now plays an integral role in our power grids. In fact, on May 8, the share of energy in the German power grid generated by renewable sources reached a record high of 87%. This lends growing importance to the question of how this energy can be stored and intelligently managed. In response to this, Intersolar and ees Europe 2016 decided to focus on the key topic of smart renewable energy. This strategy proved a resounding success, as exhibitors and visitors alike were left impressed that the exhibition had paid so much attention to this issue: "With energy systems becoming increasingly complex, the demand for decentralized solutions is growing. Intersolar Europe is the ideal platform for us to show our customers how we are able to put these complex pieces together and manage them intelligently. The variety of customers visiting the exhibition and our booth as well as the quality of the discussions we were involved in were simply fantastic," said John Kovach, Global Head of Distributed Energy Systems, Siemens AG.
Solutions to the latest challenges discussed at the Smart Renewable Energy Forum
A highlight of the two exhibitions was undoubtedly the Smart Renewable Energy Forum, which presented solutions to the challenges faced by the energy supply of the future on all three days of the event. The "digitalization of the energy sector" became the key buzz phrase. Without this, it would be impossible to achieve the overriding objective of a "100% renewable energy supply". This argument was also put forward by Robert Busch, Managing Director of the German Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne), at the opening of the Smart Renewable Energy Forum. Since volatile energy sources, such as solar or wind power, are not available in the same amounts at all times, intelligent communication between generators and consumers is essential. Energy storage systems are equally to this scenario, as they balance out peaks and bottle necks in the energy supply by absorbing excess energy and subsequently releasing it when required.
Paving the way for the global energy transition
The spirit of optimism was palpable in all the corridors and at all the exhibition stands, and was fueled by the way in which the renewable energy sector has become a driver of innovation. In the grid of the future, electricity, heat and transport will all come together as one, with solar energy being used to heat the home and electric cars being integrated as mobile storage systems. The exhibitors presented a wide array of innovations that will help to make this vision a reality and lay the groundwork for the global energy transition. The Intersolar AWARD and ees AWARD received a record number of submissions this year. Digitalization is propelling the energy industry to devise innovative products and projects, such as for managing and monitoring energy generation systems and virtual power plants, or for supporting the transition from the traditional producer-consumer market to the connected prosumer market. "I'm fascinated by how much the companies exhibiting here have evolved, particularly those working in the fields of batteries and control systems. The initial striking impression created by the event is that the industry is undergoing radical changes. The Smart Renewable Energy Forum attracted huge interest. Much to my excitement, it even caught the attention of international visitors from Greece, the UK and the USA," explained Marcel Morf, Head of the Large-Scale and Special Projects division at Alpiq InTec AG.
The commitment to change sweeping the market is not only encouraging established solar companies to expand into other areas and move towards connected energy systems. It is also promoting companies from the automotive and heating industries, such as Mercedes and Viessmann, as well as new start-ups like BOS AG or Enpla GmbH to gain a foothold in the renewable energy sector.
Images: R. Eberhard, messekompakt.com, EBERHARD print & medien agentur gmbh
Source: Solar Promotion