The RenEnergy team has just returned from their fifth annual visit to InterSolar Europe, the world’s leading exhibition for members of the solar industry and all of its associated partners.
Storage, storage, storage was the order of the day in Munich this year, as was only to be expected in an industry with rapidly fading subsidies, ever increasing energy prices, and not to mention the PR gurus at Tesla making global headlines with their offering, the Powerwall.
The main halls were amass with energy storage solutions ranging from domestic systems in tidy boxes to utility scale shipping containers, with virtually every manufacturer offering a solution. Lithium ion is a clear front runner in the technology stakes, with many suppliers boasting fantastically high depth of discharge levels and life cycles in to the tens of thousands.
The emphasis was still very much on the European market, Germany in particular, where considerably higher energy prices than the UK and dwindling feed-in tariff schemes play into the hands of what is still a fairly expensive technology.
Maximising grid-independence will be the name of the game in the UK, pairing the reliability of our national grid infrastructure with the cost effectiveness of micro generation. This is unlikely to see widespread uptake for another couple of years here in the UK, but we are confident that it will be the next major growth area for renewable technology.
Some countries however do not have the luxury of cheap, reliable electricity supplies. A scenario our colleagues at RenEnergy South Africa are only too aware of. They were very interested to see the development of off-grid capable ‘island systems’ on display at the show. With energy uncertainty playing into their hands, they have seen a huge increase in demand for reliable, cost-effective back-up systems. Currently in the process of launching a proprietary energy storage and off-grid PV solution, InterSolar was once again an invaluable research exercise.