June 22, 2023
Intersolar Europe 2023 was a success! Here are our key takeaways from the exhibition.
Every year, Intersolar Europe continues to be the leading venue to share the latest trends, technologies, and business models to accelerate what we in Glint Solar call the Solar Revolution. We were thrilled to participate in this year's exhibition, and we're eager to share our key takeaways from the week in Munich!
The smarter E Europe, which brings together four individual exhibitions in Munich (Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power) has broken records in terms of scale and international representation.
The event showcased 2,469 exhibitors from 57 countries, presenting their products and solutions in a vast 180,000 square meter area spanning 17 exhibition halls and an outdoor space. With an impressive global turnout, the event attracted over 106,000 visitors from 166 countries, while the conferences and side events gathered a record-breaking 2,000 participants worldwide. The three-day event solidified its position as the largest and most international in the history of The smarter E Europe.
Undeniably, photovoltaics (PV) stands at the forefront of the energy transition. But what does the data actually tell us?
We picked up the latest edition of Solar Power Europe's Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2023 - 2027, which paints an optimistic picture. The first months of 2023 are shaping up to be another "solar boom year" with an expected addition of 341 GW by the end of the year, representing 43% growth. Solar PV remains the cheapest way to produce a kWh with the LCOE coming in from $24/MWh to $96/MWh. While module prices in 2022 saw a spike for the first time in 10 years from COVID-19, inflationary pressures triggered by the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruptions, they have started to fall in recent months.
Despite this progress, solar energy currently meets only 4.5% of the world's electricity demand, while over 70% is still generated by fossil fuels.
Our call to action is clear: we need a faster transition. To achieve this, we need to focus on streamlining processes, implementing more flexible regulations, enhancing grid capabilities, and advancing innovative and efficient technologies. These efforts will pave the way for a successful transition to renewable energy sources, with solar playing a central role in driving this shift.
Intersolar 2023 showcased a wide range of companies at the forefront of solar technology, offering promising solutions that are redefining the solar industry.
The search for more efficiency has driven manufacturers to explore alternatives to traditional PERC technology, which has a relatively low theoretical efficiency limit of around 24%. One technology gaining significant attention is N-Type TOPCon.
TOPCon’s increasing popularity indicates that it is on the cusp of becoming the mainstream next-generation solar cell technology, replacing PERC, which is approaching its efficiency limit. In addition, TOPCon achieves an efficiency of approximately 28.7%, surpassing PERC's 25% and HJT's 27.5%, while closely approaching the projected maximum efficiency of 29.43% for monocrystalline silicon.
Batteries’ increasingly important role was unquestioned at Intersolar. We are witnessing a change where battery storage is becoming an integral part of future solar development. Their integration is crucial for ensuring energy availability around the clock, stabilizing the grid and promoting increased self-consumption.
One specific aspect driving the importance of batteries in conjunction with PV parks is a new trend emerging in Europe and the United States, namely negative pricing in regions rich in intermittent renewables. An example of this is Germany, where negative prices can be observed in certain hours of the day due to high solar or wind generation. As the share of renewable energy continues to increase, such instances will become more common, highlighting the crucial role of batteries in mitigating this problem by smoothing out the generation curve.
Intersolar Europe 2023 showcased the latest developments in agri-PV, highlighting the emerging trends in this field. German farmers in southern Germany are progressively embracing solar systems as a result of soaring electricity costs, mounting environmental apprehensions, and regulatory modifications, such as the elimination of the EEG levy (commonly known as the "green power surcharge") from end consumers' electricity invoices in Germany.
One prominent trend in agri-PV is the use of dual-axis trackers. These freestanding structures enable agricultural machinery to maneuver freely for essential tasks like plowing, sowing, and harvesting.
Another promising application of agri-PV is seen in orchards, berry farms, and vineyards, where “solar roofs” are utilized. By partially covering crops with PV modules mounted at higher positions than traditional solar panels, farmers can create an optimal environment for shade-loving crops. This approach maximizes land use while harnessing solar energy, offering numerous benefits in terms of productivity and sustainability for farms. Leading the way are BayWa r.e. and its Dutch subsidiary GroenLeven, who are jointly implementing Europe's largest renewable energy project with PV modules covering crops.
Developers are increasingly seeing the need to both simplify and speed up their process for which they evaluate projects, conduct park design and do project engineering. Intersolar showcased several software solutions that provide developers with robust tools to enhance the efficiency and acceleration of their evaluation, design, and engineering workflows.
One of the questions we most often heard from developers doing greenfield was “How can we speed up our pipeline growth?” Our solution is to offer the market’s most user-friendly solar software, providing the users relevant GIS data, preliminary design capablities and project portfolio overview all in one tool. As such, we empower the project developer to work more efficiently with both GIS and engineering colleagues in the early stages of development.
We empower you to focus on what truly matters: more high quality projects that make it to the permitting stage.
We’re buzzing with excitement and optimism for the future of solar energy! Intersolar Europe 2023 showcased the incredible potential of photovoltaics and highlighted the innovators driving the energy transition. See you next year in Munich! 🥨