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Current developments in the German energy law: Integration of energy storage in the digitized energy market.

The German energy industry is undergoing a transformation process. The closure of the last nuclear power plant is planned for the year 2022. Since 2000 the share of electricity produced from renewable energy rose from 6.2% to 32%. By 2050, this proportion should be at least 80%. Due to the increasing electrification of transportation and… read more

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Price signals for storage capacities by 2030

Finding business models in different segments or technologies is not that easy. Using storage capacities in the electricity market seems to be a very attractive business, because the electricity production will be much more volatile in the future due to unplannable renewable production such as wind and solar energy. This fluctuating electricity feed will make… read more

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System integrator KUKA Industries paves the way for electromobility

Worldwide innovation performance: Completely automated battery module production An important condition for the international ambition ‘enhancement of electromobility’ is the availability of the required battery modules on the market in adequate quantity and quality. This requires the automated mass production of ready-to-install battery modules. System integrator KUKA Industries proves with a realized turnkey system that… read more

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Storage devices as source of energy

Maximising on-site consumption is the trend of the times. Partly because the prices of photovoltaic modules and lithium-ion batteries are falling more quickly than market experts predicted and micro-CHP systems with Stirling motors, for example, are becoming ever more efficient. Since more and more components are interacting with one another, energy storage devices are becoming… read more

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Stable Renewable Power Supply in Microgrids

The new “CrossPower” power management system allows robust and scalable microgrids to be created for the very first time from renewable energies anywhere in the world. Compared to conventional diesel generators, fuel savings of up to 50 percent can be achieved. An intelligent control system effectively balances power generation and consumption while high-performance battery storage… read more

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Photovoltaics for electricity and heat

23 households, 145 kW installed solar power, one central electrical storage system and multiple thermal storage systems: in the Weinsberg pilot project, KACO new energy GmbH shows that it is possible to completely meet energy requirements with solar power. The official grand opening ceremony of the model housing estate took place on 6 June 2014… read more

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Saving, generating and storing energy in a network

The rapid developments in the energy market are opening up dramatic new opportunities for market players. Ever more business and private customers are generating electricity and gas with photovoltaic systems, heat pumps, combined heat and power units and other systems. They either consume the resulting energy or feed it into the grid. What’s more, in… read more

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Vanadium Redox Flow Battery in a nutshell

Conventional technologies for the chemical storage of electricity (e.g. electrolyzer, methanation, fuel cells) show a relatively low efficiency. Redox Flow Batteries (RFB), however, show a DC-efficiency of up to 80% – depending on the system and consideration – which is within the range of efficiencies of conventional secondary batteries (lithium-ion, lead or nickel-metal-hydride batteries). In… read more


Energy storage systems with lithium-ion batteries have the potential to play a decisive role in the establishment of an efficient and sustainable future electricity supply. Widespread deployment of this technology depends to a large extent on whether the energy costs in each specific application are financially competitive. The basic prerequisites for the successful commercial operation… read more

Solar forecasting: a tool to better pilot storage capacity

Solar and wind energies still have a common weakness: their dependency on climatic hazards. Because of the constrained variability of their production, these energy sources are qualified as intermittent. Inserting an ever bigger part of solar and wind energies in the energy mix thus brings new challenges compared to traditional sources. It is now becoming… read more

Small and medium-sized companies put up a strong fight

With the entry of Tesla and Daimler onto the market for domestic battery storage systems, small and medium-sized suppliers are under pressure to act fast. If they are to compete with the big players in the long term, they must do all they can to lower costs and develop innovations. However, despite such conditions, these… read more

How to Charge Supercapacitor Banks for Energy Storage

This article addresses the challenges related to charging large capacitors, and shows power system designers how to evaluate andselect the best system configuration for backup energy storage. An SC charger solution is demonstrated, with waveforms and detailed interpretations presented. System Elaboration There are many system configurations using SC banks as backup energy storage. To get… read more

Optimized charging process for lead-acid traction batteries

The austrian company Fronius developed the Ri charging process which is a concept for the charging of lead-acid traction batteries. The process varies depending on the battery’s inner resistance and therefore takes into account its age, temperature and the current charging level. Every single charging cycle is unique and has its own characteristic, reducing overcharging… read more

Tesla spurs on the storage market

Tesla’s luxury Model S electric vehicle may have only just hit the road, but the US-based company is already sowing the seeds for its next coup. It’s planning to revolutionize the solar storage market by launching a brand new battery system. Although experts feel there are still a number of question marks hanging over the… read more

Energy storage technologies put into practice: integration of “Second Life Batteries“ into Hamburg’s electricity grid

Batteries used in electric vehicles have a life of eight to ten years: After this they can be used as “second-life batteries” for other purposes. The “Second Life Batteries“ project has been up and running in Hamburg for almost half a year now. The main goal is to connect used EV batteries turning them into… read more

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Laser welding in overlap (wobbling) promises more affordable Li-ion batteries E-Mobility will only become established when the energy storage units required in the car become more affordable – on this point the experts agree. The key here is lowering production costs. To accomplish this, the high-tech engineering company Manz is relying on a new type… read more

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Case Study: Equipment and System Technology for PV-Hybrid power plant

In the face of the global climate change, around 560 GW of renewable energy plants have been built in the last few years*1. These renewable energy plants are mainly Energy harvesting machines. The size of the plants ranges from a few kWp up to several hundred MWp. Design criteria were maximum yield at minimum cost…. read more

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Leading supplier for electric mobility – without cell production…

The number of electric cars produced in Germany is steadily increasing. However, producers buy all of the key components of the vehicles – the cells of the high-voltage batteries – from Asia, with only one exception. The mainly cost-driven trend towards plug-in hybrid cars with a low charging capacity is playing into the hands of… read more

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German demand for electricity storage systems shows promising development

Electricity storage systems are seen as the way forward in reducing end user dependency on government PV subsidies and promoting further growth in the photovoltaics industry. The market’s continuous gain in momentum has now also been confirmed by the SolarContact-Index, which evaluated online interest in PV electricity storage systems in 2014. While 2014 got off… read more

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Asia marks the first wave of e-mobility rollout

At present, the very high price of electric vehicles (EV) and a lack in a nationwide infrastructure of charging stations are responsible for a subdued demand of the end consumer. The national and international regulatory frameworks, which increasingly offer incentives and impose obligations and by this determine the development of the domestic markets for electric… read more

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German electric vehicle market tries to catch up

In the study “Energy Storage for Electric Mobility – is Germany on its way to becoming a lead market and lead supplier?”, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI examined whether and to what extent Germany is on its  way to becoming a lead market and lead supplier in the field of energy… read more

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Chinas growing hunger for energy needs energy storage solutions

The Middle Kingdom holds a central position for the global energy storage market. A potential of 1.4 billion electricity consumers, aggressive renewable energy targets and vast remote areas are excellent preconditions for the deployment of storage solutions in China. So, what is current status of storage solutions in China and which actions does the government… read more

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Key properties of future energy storage systems – Several practical examples

Flexible use, easy modular expandability as well as cost efficiency and nonuse of toxic materials. These are crucial features, which have to be addressed by the manufacturers to further boost the deployment of electrical energy storage solutions. In order to illustrate the efforts of the industry to meet these needs, we will shed light on… read more

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Lithium iron phosphate: What battery service life can customers expect?

Especially lithium iron phosphate batteries feature high cycle stability resulting from very short charging times and the ability to emit high discharge voltages – Properties that are required particularly in electric mobility and have been field-tested for years. Many electric vehicles use this technology as traction batteries. In 2010 the Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer… read more

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Commodity Lithium: Increasing prices and the possibilities at sea

One shouldn’t believe it, but the world’s oceans contain the biggest lithium reserves on earth. This is due to a low but widespread concentration of the element in the seawater. South Korean researchers and companies are already working accessing this source. Whereas the concentration of lithium contained in brine from South American lakes is ten… read more

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Lithium iron phosphate: What factors influence the durability of storage systems?

Stationary storage systems based on Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) are very durable thanks to the chemical properties of their cells and in constant environments. Similar to the genes and individual living conditions which influence a person’s life span, the service life of a battery system is affected by the chemical compound in the cell as… read more

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Commodity Lithium: A salt lake for the growing demand

In the light of the increasing demand for lithium more and more mining companies are targeting to excavate above ground salt deposits, which have not been mined on an industrial scale so far. The exploitation of these salts is linked with a relatively low technical effort. Moreover these deposits show a high potential amount of… read more

Lithium iron phosphate: Low cost but high safety

The service life of energy storage solutions depends not only on cell chemistry but also on external influences. Properties which are a must for rechargeable batteries in consumer electronics and mobile applications are less relevant in stationary batteries such as solar energy storage systems. Factors like ambient temperature, depth of discharge and cycle stability have… read more

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Commodity Lithium: The mining industry intensifies the scouting worldwide

What truth lies behind the debate on the scarcity of the raw material lithium, which is increasingly important for the battery industry? Time after time the future availability of the commodity is questioned – mainly under the premise that the market for electric vehicle will gain increasing importance in the mid-term. Moreover experts disagree about… read more

Batteries must become safer

Solar storage systems are becoming increasingly popular. In the last 12 months, the German government has funded around 4,000 systems with 76 million euros. Experts predict that, as the systems become cheaper, sales figures will continue to rise considerably. But are domestic storage systems safe? Manufacturers promise to provide highly safe systems with a long… read more

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Conference highlights: Grid-Scale Energy Storage, Brussels, July 1–2, 2014

From July 1–2, 2014, experts from around the world flocked to the fourth conference on Grid-Scale Energy Storage in Brussels’ Steigenberger Grandhotel to discuss developments in large-scale storage systems used to stabilize the power grid. The conference showcased battery systems with up to 14 megawatt hours (MWh) as well as flywheel energy storage systems, which… read more

EEG amendment could double burden on electricity storage systems

In late June, amendments were passed to reform the German Renewable Energy Sources Act. This ‘solar tax’ will initially burden the on-site consumption of photovoltaic solar electricity with 30% of the EEG levy, rising to a staggering 40% in 2017. In the short term, this will sharply reduce the number of investments in PV installations… read more

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June – the industry’s top ten news stories

June was a busy month for the solar industry – numerous up-to-date figures on market development were published and the spotlight was shone on new technological trends and the latest study results surrounding solar energy and energy storage systems. Read about the ten most interesting developments of the past month here: 1)     The American Council… read more

Solar batteries are becoming viable

The view that photovoltaic installations combined with battery storage systems won’t make financial sense for a few more years, which has been voiced by consumer protection organizations, can now be considered to be outdated. The first suppliers to offer what they believe to be cost-effective battery systems are flocking to Intersolar in Munich, Europe’s largest… read more

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A look back at the top news stories on the energy storage industry to hit the headlines in April

The energy and solar storage industry is continually growing and changing, and April was no different in seeing its fair share of interesting developments. Read on for a roundup of the top new products, projects and research findings. 1) On-site consumption is the largest incentive for purchasing a photovoltaic system (April 22, 2014) Consumers currently… read more

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Metal-air batteries: A high-tech solution for the new solar age or merely a bold vision?

Researchers and engineers are still not satisfied with the performance and costs of the batteries currently on the market. Batteries with oxygen cathodes represent a considerably more efficient and economical solution. However, these still need to undergo considerable development before they’ll be ready for use in electric vehicles and energy storage systems. The low number… read more

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Change is afoot in the industry – top ten news stories from March

A lot happened in the energy industry in March. Here are the ten most important new stories on the topic of energy and solar storage, from government subsidies and interesting study results through to new energy storage projects. 1. Use of energy storage to be enshrined in the German Energy Industry Act (EnWG) (March 26,… read more

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Storage systems incentives only have a short-term effect on demand

Solar storage systems have been subsidized since May last year. These incentives can be used for photovoltaic installations that are yet to be built as well as for retrofitting installations that were commissioned after December 31, 2012, up to a maximum of 30 kWp of PV capacity. The German Solar Industry Association reported that the… read more

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Energy storage systems and the discussion surrounding the EEG amendment 2014

Does the new German government stand for new objectives in the energy transition? Germany has had a new government since fall 2013. An amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) is set to reform the existing energy concept. Sigmar Gabriel, the new Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, has presented a 10-Key Issues… read more

Electricity storage: Sodium batteries soon to become a cost-effective alternative?

Lithium ion batteries have a high output and are durable, yet they simply remain too expensive to be widely used for storing excess solar and wind energy. Novel sodium-ion batteries could help solve this problem. Aquion Energy, a US-based company, has resolved the safety issues formerly associated with the technology and is now seeking to… read more

Solar Energy Storage: Opening up New Customer Potential in Existing Buildings

The future of our energy supply is in the hands of renewable energy. Since there is not only a disparity between energy generation and consumption in terms of location but also in terms of time, as the proportion of renewable energy in the overall amount of power generated grows so does the need to store… read more

Energy management with PV storage solutions

PV systems with integrated battery solutions either feed the power generated from the PV panel into the electrical system in the home and into the battery system for self-consumption improvement or into the grid. How does the inverter know which energy flow to choose for streaming the electricity? What are the criteria this is depending… read more

Green cities need storage management

The fight against climate change will be decided in the large cities, say the experts. The idea is therefore to connect wind energy and solar installations intelligently with other power sources and consumers in conurbations. But this requires smart control and energy storage systems that remove some of the burden from the power grid. Will… read more

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Solar storage system incentive program shows initial success

The move towards independence and self-sufficiency is encouraging more and more people to generate their own power. By using their own solar installation, more than 1.3 million people are already making a stand against the energy oligarchs. It is therefore no surprise that the solar storage system incentive program has been very well received: solar… read more

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Case study: “A storage system that fuels vehicles” – how businesses are making use of innovative storage technologies

Businesses are equally as capable of directly using solar power generated on site as private householders. All that’s needed is a photovoltaic installation and a smart large-scale battery which conducts electricity to various systems and devices that consume power as and when it is needed. Drawing on the example of a systems manufacturer from Germany’s… read more

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Greater Economic Viability With Smaller Storage Capacities?

At this year’s Intersolar exhibition, SMA introduced the first mass-produced, wall-mounted PV inverter with an integrated battery and was promptly presented with an Intersolar AWARD, and for good reason: Together with the Sunny Home Manager, the Sunny Boy Smart Energy is designed to increase self-consumption of solar electricity in private homes by more than 50… read more

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Managing solar power more efficiently – energy storage systems at Intersolar Europe 2013

For photovoltaics to play a leading role in the energy transition, energy storage systems need to reduce the burden on the grid and provide operating reserves, as well as being equipped with an intelligent energy management system that coordinates their usage. Will the industry succeed in developing the necessary technical solutions? In a renewable power… read more

How do storage systems in photovoltaic installations work?

Those who equip photovoltaic installations with a storage system are mostly interested in increasing the on-site consumption of generated solar power. However, people often forget to consider that these kinds of battery systems only reveal their full potential through their multiple uses. In addition to allowing operators of photovoltaic installations to significantly increase on-site consumption,… read more

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Solar energy storage devices and heat pumps, in combination with small object-bound PV systems, can make an important contribution to the significant increase in internal consumption, the integration of renewable energy into the electricity grid, and to the establishment of smart grids.  Another key requirement is for electrical and thermal storage to operate intelligently.  This… read more


Since May 1, the German government has been supporting the purchase of solar storage systems by awarding grants of up to €660 per kilowatt (kW) of a solar system’s installed capacity. It is important to note that the subsidy must be applied for via your principal bank before the storage system has been bought. Government… read more

Lead-acid batteries – merely a launch pad for something better?

With their tried-and-tested technology and relatively low purchase price, lead-acid batteries should, for all intents and purposes, be playing a key role in the up-and-coming market for photovoltaic storage systems. However, the majority of suppliers are putting their trust in the less thoroughly tested yet higher-performance lithium-ion batteries instead. Will lead-acid storage systems become obsolete… read more

When will solar batteries become economical?

Interest in solar installations with storage systems is rising because these systems reduce consumer dependency on utility companies. So far, there has been little investment into the new technology due to high battery costs – but this may soon change: Thanks to higher production rates and technical advances, costs are sinking fast. It’s always the… read more

Unavoidable and useful: Solar storage systems drive change to decentralized energy supply

People are fascinated by the possibility of an independent energy supply. Alongside wind turbines and biomass power plants, more than two million solar installations have been installed since the 1990s. These installations have been and continue to be an important driving force for the change to a new, decentralized energy policy, which is being implemented… read more

Energy storage systems for the future of solar energy supply

Energy storage and grid integration are two of the areas on which efforts towards the further expansion of solar power supply are centered. The increasing share of solar power is changing the power grid. That is why efficient energy storage systems will play a vital role in overcoming the current challenges – initially by integrating… read more

Solar storage systems: A solution for the energy revolution?

Does the grid really need batteries? This is currently a very controversial question. Some experts even consider the technology to be detrimental and that’s why they are strictly rejecting Germany’s planned incentives. Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) counters this argument in its new Speicherstudie 2013 (study on storage systems): Batteries can actually take… read more