Published on April 12th, 2019 |
by Charles W. Thurston
April 12th, 2019 by Charles W. Thurston
Outstanding Project finalists for the Smarter E Award 2019 are driving the sustainable energy industry forward, by developing grid infrastructure of the future, innovating digitalization technologies, coupling of the electricity-heating-mobility sectors, and deriving new business models for electricity trading and marketing, say organizers of the Smarter E trade show, which will be held in Munich May 15-17.
In one innovative finalist project in the Galapagos Islands, a hybrid solar+storage+biofuel system, was developed by Siemens, airlifted in, and constructed to replace generators that burned 28 tons of diesel per month. The oil-rich nut of Ecuador’s native plant, the jatropha, is the new backup generator fuel, making the UNESCO World Heritage Site fossil-fuel free now.
A hybrid solar+storage+biofuel system developed by Siemens is now generating most of the electricity demand on the Galapagos Islands. Credit Siemens
Once again this year, the finalists in the Outstanding Projects category show that solar technology is on the rise worldwide and is taking on the role of a key technology. Hybrid concepts, as well as photovoltaics combined with storage technologies, guarantee the availability and stability of renewable energies. The trend towards installations operated without feed-in tariffs is also extremely visible.
The companies below are the finalists in two categories, Outstanding Projects, and Smart Renewable Energy.
Finalists in the Outstanding Projects category:
BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH (Germany): The Don Rodrigo solar park in southern Spain is the very first European photovoltaic power plant to be financed without subsidies. 500,000 solar modules are installed over an area of 265 hectares, and the total output of the park amounts to 175 MW. At less than 25 euros/MWh, Don Rodrigo’s electricity production costs (LCoE, levelized cost of electricity) are lower than those of conventional power plants. This shows that it is already possible for renewable energies to achieve grid parity in sunny regions of Europe without the need for subsidies.
Bluestorage (France): A chain of environmentally friendly cinemas which produce their own electricity has been launched under the name of CanalOlympia. 50 entirely self-powered cinemas are in operation across Central and West Africa. The cinemas are supplied by a hybrid system with 140 kWp of solar modules and 400 kWh of storage. This creates the infrastructure needed for culture and entertainment in rural environments.
Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (India): A grid-coupled solar park with an output of 145 MWp in Sedam, in the Indian state of Karnataka, is making it easier for companies to switch to solar power with minimal risk. CleanMax is a local green power provider which supplies companies with renewable energy so that they don’t have to invest in their own PV installations. This has made it possible for Adobe India, for example, to cover the entire energy demand of its Bangalore campus with power from the solar park.
Dhybrid Power Systems GmbH (Germany): Thanks to a hybrid system comprising a photovoltaic installation (200 kWp) and a lithium-ion storage unit (265 kWh), a local utility company in Somaliland (East Africa) can now completely shut down its diesel generators during the day. A smart grid control system is responsible for fully automatic and load- dependent control and regulation of all energy sources. The share of renewable energies can be expanded in similar applications with this system, regardless of the manufacturer or technology.
IBC Solar Energy GmbH (Germany): The Michaelshof project in Sammatz (Wendland) demonstrates that a village in Germany can power itself with locally generated renewable energy. A total of 190 kWp of photovoltaics have been installed on nine buildings and 90% of the solar power is consumed on-site. In combination with a 200 kWh lithium battery system, the prosumers achieve a self-sufficiency rate of around 40%.
Japan Tobacco International (Jordan): This tobacco factory in Amman generates both industrial process heat and cooling using Fresnel collectors. This is the first time that solar process steam generation and solar thermal cooling have been combined anywhere in the world. The Jordanian tobacco factory was fitted with a collector array spanning 1,254 square meters, and a two-stage absorption refrigerator is also used.
Mondas GmbH (Germany): A smart heating network has been set up in Gutleutmatten, a newly developed residential area in Freiburg, featuring 38 decentralized solar thermal installations. A total of 525 dwellings with 1,350 residents are connected to the heating network. AI algorithms and a specially developed IoT (Internet of Things) web platform take care of energy management for the solar collectors, the decentralized hot water storage tanks and the centralized cogeneration systems.
NEXTracker, Inc. (USA): The 1.1 MW solar power plant at the Maharishi University of Management is the first solar installation in the USA to combine active tracking technology and vanadium-flow battery energy storage. The system uses a smart tracker control system which enables each row of modules to move independently to compensate for shading, weather conditions or the topography of the site in real time. The new solar and storage power plant brings the share of renewable energies in the university’s total energy supply to around 43%, and is predicted to cut its power bill by 30%.
Siemens AG (Germany): The hybrid power plant Isabela, situated on the largest Galapagos island, supplies almost 900 households with carbon-neutral power from solar energy and biofuels. In addition to the 952 kWp photovoltaic installation and a battery storage system with a capacity of 330 kWh, it also includes a diesel generator with an output of 1,625 kW. The oil of the native plant jatropha is used as a biofuel. Thanks to the smart control unit, a PV forecasting system and the accumulators, the diesel generator can be turned off when the sun is shining.
Solare Datensysteme GmbH (Germany): The two-stage control system Solar-Log ensures that feed-in limits are complied with, even if the total output of two photovoltaic installations exceeds the limits. This means there is never more power being fed into the grid than is specified by the utility company. In addition, as much power as possible is retained for self-consumption. Grid operators can now accept requests they previously had to refuse.
Finalists in the Smart Renewable Energy category:
Axiotherm GmbH (Germany): kraftBoxx, a thermal energy storage unit for heating and hot water using latent storage sticks, boasts a considerably higher energy storage capacity than conventional heat and cold storage systems without taking up any more space. The sticks can also be retrofitted in existing systems. Depending on the desired operating point of the heat or cold storage system, the sticks are filled with different media to optimize them for specific temperature ranges. Due to its high energy storage capacity, kraftBoxx is ideal for sector coupling in single-family homes.
Goldbeck Solar GmbH (Germany): Goldbeck’s energy optimization software GEOS can be used in the early stages of a project to compare economic and ecological evaluations of different renewable energy supply concepts for office buildings. This enables fact-based comparison of alternatives with each other and with the standard, so that the most cost- efficient and sustainable solution can be found.
PION Technology AG (Germany): The modular AC charging station plays a central role in the infrastructure for electric vehicles. Shaped like a board game piece, the small and stable concrete charging station provides charging power of up to 22 kW. This elegant yet solid piece of street furniture is extremely user-friendly. The housing material sequesters particulate matter and removes nitrogen oxides from the air.
Reuniwatt (France): With SunSat Digital Twin, operators can monitor the condition of their solar power plant without even needing to measure the radiation on-site at any point. The actual yield is continuously compared with the target yield using solar radiation data determined by satellite. This provides useful insights into reduced yields and helps the owner or operator to identify potential errors at an early stage.
Smappee (Belgium): The modular energy management system Smappee Infinity, which can also be retrofitted, analyzes the energy flows in a household and displays them visually in a smartphone app. This helps to identify major electrical loads, which can then be turned on and off as required. Loads can be controlled according to the time of day to ensure that as much as possible of the energy generated is consumed on-site. The system can also time electric vehicle charging to make use of cheaper tariffs whenever possible, for example, or configure charging so as not to exceed specific load limits at the house connection point.
SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (Israel): SolarEdge’s virtual power plant solution groups together decentralized energy generation installations to create a virtual power plant, and coordinates them to offer grid services or contribute to grid stability. The software platform operates independently of the hardware of individual energy generation plants. The intelligent combination of decentralized and cloud-based processing power ensures that latency is kept to a minimum, which is necessary for grid services.
SolarGaps (Ukraine): These solar blinds do not only provide shade, they also bring down the electricity bill. The blinds are supplied with microinverters which convert DC into AC so that electrical appliances can be recharged directly from the junction box. The PV blinds can be controlled by smartphone app or, alternatively, adjust themselves automatically for optimal sun exposure.
Solargis (Slovakia): The software solution Prospect displays a complete yield simulation for small, medium and large-scale photovoltaic power plants. Based on averaged weather and radiation data from a range of sources, the technical simulation of the photovoltaic installation provides a reliable yield forecast. The result is then automatically presented in a clear and comprehensive report.
SolarInvert GmbH (Germany): Selv-PV is a compact, intelligent energy system made up of a 1.68 kWp photovoltaic installation (six solar modules) and a 2.5 kWh storage device. The system is designed for self-consumption of solar power in private households. It is equipped with all the necessary protective features and can easily be connected to an AC power socket.
Stäubli Electrical Connectors AG (Germany): The Power-Blox battery units feature ports for PV modules as well as outlets for 230 V alternating current and 12 V and 9 V direct current. The energy cubes with an integrated battery are the basic components of a self-configuring system. Connecting several storage devices creates a distributed grid without a central storage unit. As it does not require any advance planning, the system is suitable for both temporary and permanent electricity supply in regions without a stable grid.
Tags: Axiotherm, BayWa r.e. renewable energy, Bluestorage, Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions, Dhybrid Power Systems, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Goldbeck Solar, IBC Solar Energy, Japan Tobacco International, Mondas, NEXTracker, PION Technology, Reuniwatt, siemens, Smappee, Smarter E Award, Solare Datensysteme, SolarEdge Technologies, SolarGaps, Solargis, SolarInvert, Stäubli Electrical Connectors, UNESCO World Heritage site
About the Author
Charles W. Thurston Charles specializes in renewable energy, from finance to technological processes. Among key areas of focus are bifacial panels and solar tracking. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years, living and working in locations ranging from Brazil to Papua New Guinea.