Intersolar 2010 spans 12 exhibition halls and an open-air section, giving 1,500 companies plenty of space to present their products. Event organizers are expecting 60,000 attendees from the solar industry – the majority of them from outside of Germany – over the convention’s three days. It is clear that the market for renewable energy has maintained its considerable momentum: The halls and parking garages are very full, and the attendees are flocking to the areas of well-known manufacturers and the smaller stands in nearly equal numbers.
In recent years, an array of companies have established themselves in technological fields pertaining to individual types of photovoltaic modules (amorphous thin-film cells, cells of poly-and monocrystalline silicon) and begun setting the tone in the global production of solar components.
The most successful companies include Q-Cells of Germany; First Solar and Sunpower of the United States; Suntech of China; and Kyocera, Sanyo, and Sharp of Japan. All of these firms have based their process chains on different configurations of SAP software components. Specializing in thin-film modules, Sunpower has even taken this a step further with SAP Carbon Impact – for more, see our related article.
The international photovoltaic market continues to look forward to a bright future. If the current forecast from the market researchers at iSuppli is to be believed, the world’s solar production capacity will increase by around 13.5 gigawatts in 2010. Germany is the global leader in the field, contributing a total of just under 10 gigawatts and witnessing growth of 3.8 gigawatts in 2009 alone. According to iSuppli, the country will – despite a possible reduction in its feed-in tariff on solar energy – remain number one in growth in the European market in the years ahead. Italy, the U.S., and Japan are currently on their way to becoming gigawatt markets themselves.
Resol brings solar output reporting to smartphones
Remote monitoring of solar facilities is currently a hot topic, as was evident in the number of apps for iPhone and iPad on display at the Intersolar event. Those in charge of overseeing industrial installations want to have all of the relevant data available at the push of a button, no matter where they are. With Solarworld’s Suntrol, for example, they can use their iPhones to view the output of both their own solar energy facilities and others that are updated daily and sorted by zip code. This enables users to see how the quality of the installations they monitor stacks up.
Similar solutions are available for solar thermal facilities, such as VBus Touch from Resol. This smartphone software provides mobile access to both live data and charts over time on solar thermal installations. VBus Touch requires a special control unit equipped with a data interface, as well as a data logger connected to the Internet. The software’s layout is particularly intriguing on iPhone: Held vertically, the device presents a live-data overview, while turning it to the horizontal position switches the display to a graph of a specific time period.
Real-time output statistics for smartphones
Also presenting at Intersolar 2010 is Sonnensysteme Projektgesellschaft, which has brought its iPhone software track_app to the event. With the app’s integrated presentation of tracker performance, solar facility operators can keep themselves constantly informed of their installations’ energy production in kilowatt-hours. Its output assessment function provides an overview of a facility’s current yield situation, while a real-time output meter displays its production at the moment. A special feature of the software is its ability to connect with integrated (Web) IP cameras to give the user a rough synopsis of a particular installation. In addition, track_app’s freely scalable evaluation function provides further information on a system’s overall performance.