Intersolar Europe 2018: Innovation hub for energy solutions

29. June 2018

The Intersolar Europe 2018 took place last week in Munich, Germany under the umbrella event “The smarter E Europe” which brings together four parallel exhibitions - the Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power. With 1,177 exhibitors and 47,000 visitors from around the world, the event was an innovation hub for new energy solutions.

The exhibition was an excellent opportunity to see first-hand the latest technologies and energy management solutions on the market today. Some of the big names in solar energy manufacturing, project planning, energy storage and other sectors pulled out all the stops to put on a grand exhibition! The buzz among the exhibitors and visitors was positive, a reflection of the overall positive trends in the sector globally. For example that USD 310 billion was invested in renewables in 2017 (compared to USD145 invested in fossil and nuclear energy).

The ISES booth was co-located with our German Section, the DGS this year, which provided an excellent space to highlight local, national and international activities to promote solar energy technologies, learning opportunites, publications and membership!

I also had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Global Associations Workshop co-organized by the German Solar Association (BSW), Solar Power Europe and the Global Solar Council, of which ISES is a member. The workshop brought together representatives of national associations from around the world to provide a short report on the PV markets in their respective countries. ISES was asked to present on the challenges for the global research community. With just 3 minutes to speak, it was imperative to pinpoint the most pressing issues. I decided to focus on two areas: funding and information exchange.

We would not be where we are today without the research driving innovation. But research, and funding for research, must continue if we are to meet the goal of a 100% renewable energy transformation. Huge achievement are being made in many areas such as grid integration, storage and in terms of making solar technologies more cost-effective, but the work is not done yet and the challenges are different from region to region, country to country. More cooperation among the industry and research community is needed to meet these and other challenges so the 100% renewable energy transformation can be achieved rapidly. Also, more investment is needed to bring new technologies to markets.

Secondly, are the opportunities to exchange information, not just amongst the research community, but with industry, finance, decision makers and the public. Events like the Intersolar Europe are great opportunities to highlight the latest innovation in the industry. ISES is a platform to bring together the various stakeholders to share the latest in R&D, network and exchange ideas, for example through our Solar World Congress. Creating access to information and platforms to exchange ideas, and bringing information to wider audience is crucial to not only support the research community but generate support from the public and decision makers.

The presentations from the national associations provided short overviews of the markets in different regions and countries, from Europe to South America to Africa and Asia. The situation in each country is unique. While some countries are experiencing huge growth, others are struggling to see solar technologies make any impact on the energy mix. In many countries supportive policy, or at the minimum eliminating policies that hinder growth in renewables, is imperative. In my view, the diverse policy landscape clearly highlights how important it is to get information out to as large an audience as possible on the viability and bankability of solar and other renewable technologies, as well as the urgency of climate change to achieve the 100% renewable energy transformation.

Thank you to the organisers of the Intersolar Europe, Solar Promotion GmbH, as well as the organisers of the Global Associations Workshop. Also to everyone who visited the ISES booth during the show. I already look forward to the Intersolar Europe 2019 and seeing many of you in again Munich.

Written by Jennifer McIntosh, ISES Executive Secretary

Image source: top header and third image in right column: Solar Promotion GmbH