For the fifth anniversary of the innovation prize, Intersolar Europe 2012 honors the solar industry's most pioneering companies, products and services with the Intersolar AWARD 2012
Munich, June 13, 2012 – For the fifth time running, the Intersolar AWARD was today presented to companies at the world's largest exhibition for the solar industry, Intersolar Europe, in Munich. The solar industry's international award pays tribute to companies, products and services in the categories of Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Technologies and PV Production Technologies. The technology prize was presented to nine companies – three from each category – in an official ceremony at Intersolar Europe's Innovation Exchange at 4:30pm today. The prize is awarded annually by Intersolar Europe organizers Solar Promotion GmbH, Pforzheim, and Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co. KG (FWTM), in collaboration with the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), Berlin. For the first time, exhibitors from Intersolar China were invited to enter the competition alongside those from Intersolar Europe, Intersolar North America and Intersolar India, meaning a total of 3,500 solar companies were entitled to take part.
Companies interested in participating were able to submit their applications between February 1 and March 30, 2012. A total of 93 companies from 15 countries seized this year's chance to compete for the Intersolar AWARD. By the start of May 2012, a total of 26 companies from the categories Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Technologies and PV Production Technologies had been nominated for the Intersolar AWARD. From the groups of nominated companies, an independent jury composed of experts from research, science, industry and the trade press selected three winners in each category.
Intersolar AWARD submissions were welcomed for products and solutions to be exhibited for the first time in 2012 at Intersolar Europe or Intersolar North America, or which were exhibited at Intersolar India or Intersolar China in 2011. This included products and services representing significant refinements of existing technology. Entries must have undergone industrial trials or already be in industrial use. The assessment criteria were tuned to the challenges posed by the market: the degree of technological innovation; the benefit for industry, the environment and society; the profitability of the solution; and proof of its innovative quality.
Intersolar AWARD 2012 becomes ever more international
To mirror the solar industry's globally expanding network, Intersolar Europe has once again broadened the pool of companies entitled to participate this year. For the first time, exhibitors from Intersolar China in Beijing were invited to put forward their applications alongside those from Intersolar Europe in Munich, Intersolar North America in San Francisco and Intersolar India in Mumbai. Thanks to this development, the number of contestants has now increased to over 3,500 companies, making the Intersolar AWARD the most international prize in the solar industry. What's more, it not only covers the entire technological spectrum, but also represents the diversity and individuality of each market.
Winners in the Photovoltaics category
MBJ Services GmbH, Hamburg, Germany has developed a Mobile PV Testcenter to test the performance of PV modules. The solution combines for the first time different ways of measuring the performance of solar modules, such as recording the current-voltage curve, inspecting electroluminescence and using infrared imagery. The jury was impressed by the device's high testing speed and its flexible on-site application: The Testcenter, which has been especially designed for use in the field in harsh surroundings, requires only a limited amount of energy and is capable of testing up to 18 solar modules per hour.
The company SolarEdge Technologies GmbH, Grasbrunn, Germany has significantly improved its power optimizer for solar modules. The 3rd Generation Power Optimizer maximizes the energy yield of each individual module by regulating the relationship between voltage and output in accordance with the constantly updated optimums determined for each module (MPPT/Maximum Power Point Tracking), and is now for the first time compatible with all inverters on the market. The innovative IndOP technology means that the power optimizer does not require any additional interface to work with inverters produced by other manufacturers. The jury was won over by the optimizer's increased efficiency and the minimal output loss when used in older PV plants.
Solon Corporation, Tucson, USA is an internationally operating manufacturer of solar modules, specializing in turnkey solutions. Solon uses frameless modules in its installation system for flat roofs, SOLON SOLquick. Thanks to this material-efficient technology the modules are well-protected during transportation and easy to install. The brackets are fitted to the solar modules ex works. The modules are suitable for installation onto a variety of roof types, either through self-stabilization, the use of ballasts or by penetrating them through the roof. Since metal is not used, they do not require grounding.
Winners in the Solar Thermal Technologies category
By developing its parabolic trough collector, PTMx, the company Soltigua – Laterizi Gambettola SRL, Gambettola, Italy has for the first time successfully created an inexpensive and highly effective thin-glass reflector. The parabolically curved glass is highly reflective and is extremely abrasion and weather resistant. The jury was impressed by the solution's outstanding level of efficiency and profitability.
Tigi Ltd., Petah Tikva, Israel has developed a passive overheating protection system for collectors called the Honeycomb Collector. With the new system maximum absorber temperature and long-term collector stability can be achieved at the same time. A transparent cover made from polycarbonates on the side of the collector facing the sun makes sure that convective and radiative heat loss is kept to a minimum. The jury believes this solution to be pioneering, as the new design developed to provide protection from overheating is also made from cost-effective plastic material.
The MT-Power flat plate collector by TVP Solar SA, Geneva, Switzerland stands out thanks to its particularly high thermal output. The technology used in the collector, which is certified by Solar KEYMARK, is based on a combination of high-vacuum isolation with an even geometry, allowing the heat transfer fluid to continuously flow through a vacuum. As maintenance work is not required, the efficiency, longevity and profitability of the system are increased. The jury was impressed by the flat plate collector's favorable price-performance ratio and the potential it offers for developing new areas of application for solar thermal technologies in the future.
Winners in the PV Production Technologies category
Solar cells must be capable of meeting the most stringent demands, while functioning fault-free. The multispectral photoluminescence inspection system Multispectral Dual by Isra Surface Vision GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany is able to test this while solar cells are actually being produced. The innovative error detection technology developed by the company, which specializes in optical measuring techniques, uses various filters to analyze two spectra. The levels of resistance are measured quickly and contact-free. The system is capable of being used inline and includes a classification system for different types of defect. The analysis speed and high precision with which the errors are detected stood out to the jury as being particularly innovative.
Pasan SA, Neuchâtel, Switzerland has developed a solar cell tester, SpotLIGHT 1sec, which is distinguished by its ability to take measurements at very high speeds as precisely as possible. Its extremely low costs should play a part in achieving grid parity in the future. The jury praised the patented contact system for its short standstill time, ease of maintenance and cycle time of one second. Further advantages include its maintenance-friendly design, extremely long service life and the way in which it attaches to the solar cells without causing them any damage.
In collaboration with Schott Solar AG, Mainz, Germany, Gebr. Schmid GmbH, Freudenstadt, Germany, has developed a new metallization process, TinPad, which entirely foregoes the need for busbars made from expensive silver when constructing rear side contacts on the solar cells. Until now these were needed to attach the soldering strips directly onto the aluminum rear sides. The technology removes the inconvenient oxide film from the aluminum rear sides, and instead coats it with tin. The winning factor was primarily the cost savings in terms of raw materials and the reduction of steps needed for cell production.
Intersolar Europe 2012 takes place from June 13–15 at Messe München.
For further information on the Intersolar Europe Conference, please visit our website at www.intersolar.de