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Intersolar: inspiration for the solar economy

All eyes in the international solar sector will once again be on Bavaria in early June. Held from 4th to 6th June, with its preceding conference from 2nd to 4th June, Intersolar is the world's largest specialist trade fair for the solar economy and its partners. Having seen over 1,200 exhibitors from all over the world and around 47,000 trade visitors last year, the trade fair is expecting pioneering inspiration for the entire sector in 2014, too.

Intersolar: inspiration for the solar economy
Intersolar Munich – Experience the latest technologies | © Solar Promotion GmbH

The photovoltaic capacity installed around the world was around 140 gigawatt-peak (GWP) by the end of 2013. Germany holds the largest share at the moment, but reductions in feed-in compensation saw the construction of additional solar electricity plants fall below the level of the previous year for the first time in 2013. The world market continues to enjoy double-digit growth, with rates of increase of between 20 and 80 per cent depending on the insolation and subsidies policy.

Strong message from partner trade fair and awards
electrical energy storage (ees), the international specialist trade fair for batteries, energy storage and innovative production, is being held in parallel to Intersolar. It is the sector get-together for suppliers, manufacturers, dealers and users of stationary and mobile electrical energy storage solutions. In order to promote innovative strength in the sector, each year the organisers of Intersolar present the renowned Intersolar AWARD with the support of the international sector associations. In 2014, the electrical energy storage (ees) AWARD will also be presented for the first time. This honours outstanding products and solutions in the field of materials, production, system technology, applications, second usage and recycling.

Solar energy storage on the increase
Falling feed-in compensation for plant operators is causing in-house consumption of solar energy to become ever more important, so solar energy storage is becoming an ever greater focus. This uses battery storage to allow solar energy to be consumed whenever it is needed. Since May 2013, the federal government has funded a share of the acquisition costs. Around 4,000 solar energy storage devices have been installed so far, and demand is rising. "More and more people are becoming less dependent on fossil fuels through intelligent investment in photovoltaic storage systems, and their investments are also helping to move the transition to alternative energies forward," says Jörg Mayer, Managing Director at BSW-Solar (German Solar Industry Association). The subsidies programme can distribute amortisation subsidies for more than twice as many battery storage devices every year, he continues. Significantly higher use of the funds is expected for 2014.

Prospects for Bavaria's solar sector
Innovative strength is now the key factor in international competitiveness more than ever before – and solar radiation in Bavaria is naturally higher than the German average. The leading photovoltaic companies in the state include Centrosolar Group AG in Munich, Diehls Controls in Wangen, Frankensolar in Nuremberg, meteocontrol GmbH in Augsburg, REC Solar in Munich (with headquarters in Oslo and a production facility in Singapore), Phoenix Solar AG in Sulzemoos near Munich, Scatec Solar in Regensburg and Steca Elektronik GmbH in Memmingen.

As well as setting up companies and branches, many foreign investors have now invested in Bavarian photovoltaic manufacturers and system providers in order to share in the growth opportunities of the future. In 2012, solar energy was already contributing 9.1 per cent to gross power supply in Bavaria. The Bavarian state government's energy concept, "Energie innovativ", states that photovoltaic production should be able to cover over 16 per cent of electricity consumption in Bavaria by 2021, as well as planning total capacity of around 14 GWP.