Intersolar Europe 2018 was a success — Photovoltaics is the crucial driving force behind renewable energy solutions

With 1,177 exhibitors, 86,000 square meters of exhibition space and around 47,000 visitors from 155 countries, Intersolar Europe is celebrating another successful year along with its parallel events.

2018 marked the first year in which the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry was held as one of the core elements of The smarter E Europe — together with ees Europe, the continent’s largest and most-visited exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, and the new energy exhibitions Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power. In this new format, Intersolar Europe and the topics it addresses were yet more clearly positioned as an essential pillar of the future energy world. The exhibition was fully booked months in advance, reflecting the favorable development of the solar industry worldwide. Photovoltaics (PV) in particular is the driving force behind the development of renewable sources of energy. The most important topics this year were increasing efficiency, the sharp drop in production costs and the numerous business opportunities that develop from synergies created between PV, energy storage, charging infrastructure and many other areas of the revamped energy industry.

The latest figures, presented by the association SolarPower Europe at the exhibition, show that 2017 was another outstanding year for the solar industry and that its growth is set to continue for the next five years. In 2017, 99.1 GW of new photovoltaic capacity was installed worldwide, and this figure is expected to pass the 100 GW mark in 2018. SolarPower Europe estimates that a total of 621.7 GW of PV capacity will be installed by 2022. This year, more new capacity has been installed for PV than for any other type of energy generation technology. Solar power is well on its way to becoming the dominant energy source of the 21st century.

Against the backdrop of this huge global upswing, Intersolar Europe has once again established itself as the industry’s most important event. “When it comes to solar power, Intersolar Europe is absolutely unmissable. It’s the ideal platform — and these days, not just for the solar industry. There’s a clear trend for cross-sector solutions which take in developments in e-mobility, for example. In light of this, our booth at this year’s exhibition included relevant solutions such as Drive Ready which make solar installations capable of charging electric cars,” says Franco Gola, Vice-President PV & Battery at E.ON SE. “Another topic that’s still occupying the spotlight is self-consumption and the significant interest in virtual storage systems such as E.ON SolarCloud — with the goal of a 100-percent solar energy supply all year round.”

Intersolar Europe sets new standards for PV worldwide
Solar energy is becoming more and more competitive, and it is also becoming increasingly possible to store this energy and use it to stabilize the grid. At the same time, the solar industry is helping to shape a paradigm shift towards a self-supporting energy transition over the next few years. For many years, Intersolar Europe has been a platform for and a driver of the remarkable transformation of the energy market into a decentralized and sustainable energy world. The 2018 Intersolar Forum accordingly concentrated not on photovoltaics alone, as in the past, but on its integration into comprehensive solutions. While Intersolar Europe is once again focusing more heavily on photovoltaics, it is also examining topics surrounding the generation and distribution of energy in much more depth. Visitors to this year’s exhibition learned all there is to know about the challenges of efficient, safe and cost-effective integration of renewable energies and the new business models which will emerge in the energy industry of the future.

“We’re seeing two trends in particular on the road to a new energy world. The first mostly affects private households — we’re seeing solar modules, storage systems and energy consumers become increasingly interconnected here. The key word is ‘smart homes’,” says Michael Harre, Vice-President of the EU Solar Business Group at LG Electronics. “The second trend is towards ‘smart grids’, i.e. decentralized energy systems. These are set to become more important in the future, because energy is going to become more decentralized as we move away from nuclear power and possibly also coal. This will create the need for a more intelligent grid. To ensure we keep pace with these trends in the future, we presented a range of fitting solutions at this year’s Intersolar Europe.”

The topics covered by the event were very well received by visitors. The Intersolar Forum explored matters such as how microgrids can be used to inexpensively electrify regions with poor infrastructure, what new solar cells and modules have been developed, how solar power can be used efficiently in a multi-family dwelling, how the solar industry is benefiting from the transport transition and how energy management can be used to reduce costs. The speakers explained how — given the right conditions — digitalization, solar energy and innovative technologies can be used on both a small and large scale to seamlessly and intelligently connect and decarbonize the generation, storage, distribution and consumption of energy as well as the mobility, electricity and heating sectors. The standards for the decisive stage of the global energy transition are now taking shape.

Intersolar Europe Conference and Intersolar AWARD
The growing importance of PV power plants was just one of a range of issues in the spotlight at the accompanying Intersolar Europe Conference, held on June 19–20 — for example, the markets which will be relevant in the future, new business models and financing opportunities, off-grid technologies, floating installations, agricultural PV and photovoltaics as a partner for e-mobility. Experts also discussed the latest trends and developments in the international markets. Around 1,800 participants attended this year’s conferences and side events.

One of the highlights for visitors to Intersolar Europe each year is the award ceremony for the prestigious Intersolar AWARD. On the first day of the exhibition, the coveted award was presented for the eleventh time at a ceremony held at The smarter E Forum, honoring the creators of innovative solutions and projects. This year’s winners were ABB, Hanwha Q CELLS GmbH and Krinner Solar GmbH — providing excellent examples of the best the industry has to offer, as well as motivating the development of new groundbreaking innovations to drive the success of the energy industry of the future.

New exhibition format The smarter E Europe heralded a success
With 1,177 exhibitors and around 47,000 visitors across an exhibition space of 86,000 square meters, this year’s new exhibition format The smarter E Europe met with an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors and exhibitors alike. This success rests on the powerful dynamic of change, progress and vision created by recent developments in renewable energies, in energy storage and in the digital interconnection of previously independent sectors. The organizers are delighted. “The response we’ve encountered is excellent, the concept is clearly extremely popular, and everything we’ve seen and heard confirms that we’re on the right path,” says Markus Elsässer, CEO of Solar Promotion GmbH. Daniel Strowitzki, managing director of Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co. KG, adds: “As the organizers, we are extremely pleased and we’re looking forward to The smarter E Europe 2019.”