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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

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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

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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sense for a few more years, which has been voiced by consumer protection organizations, can now be considered to be outdated.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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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HOW TO STORE ENERGY IN A SMART WAY

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

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STATE INCENTIVE PROGRAM IS LAUNCHED FOR SOLAR STORAGE SYSTEMS

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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