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Intersolar 2023: Meet the Experts

Intersolar 2023
Updated on 21. June 2023
14 min. Reading time
Franziska Kopp
Franziska Kopp

June brings the season of trade fairs, or to be more precise, the season of The smarter E Europe and Intersolar 2023. Together with our manufacturer partners, we offered all visitors a colourful festival of PV with a whole lot of Memodo spirit, intense discussions and numerous product innovations. Here is a summary for you:

This year again, The smarter E Europe with its 4 sub-fairs, congresses and accompanying events took place in Munich from 14 to 16 June. Europe's largest energy event was spanned across 17 halls and attracted over 100,000 visitors. This year we took over 100 square metres in Hall B1 and built a sustainable booth together with our partner – PEAKPLAN.

"Meet the Experts" was the motto for our customers, partners and everyone hungry for PV at the Memodo counter, in the discussion area or in the PEAKPLAN Lounge. The main topics there were holistic energy concepts and large-scale commercial projects. Our Meeting Point was the starting point for 8 guided tours to our manufacturers and their products. This year we also offered a yellow drop-in point for job seekers. They could experience the Memodo spirit live and in colour and find out about our vacancies.

We also launched the Memodo-DACH Instagram account at the fair. You can find posts covered by our experts on the microphone about product features, manufacturer impressions and good vibes from the Memodo booth.

ABC-Modules from Aiko

At Intersolar, we signed a framework agreement with the Chinese company Aiko, the world's largest wafer manufacturer. This means that 1.3 GW worth of solar modules from Aiko will come to Europe. The N-type All Black Contact (ABC) solar modules promise 24 % efficiency and come in the black version with no contacts on the front. The Aiko Solar AIKO-A450-MAH54Mb comes with a 30-year performance warranty and a 15-year product warranty.

"We are always looking for new ways to create value for our customers and take their business to the next level. The AIKO modules are one such innovation," says Tobias Wenleder, CEO and founder of Memodo.

Aiko Solar is a well-known name, especially among module manufacturers. Since 2009, the Chinese photovoltaic company has been producing solar cells – more than 90 GW, according to its own figures. Since this year, the company's cells have also been used in its own modules.

BYD and commercial storage systems

At The Smarter E Europe, manufacturer BYD presented a range of commercial storage systems in response to the rapidly growing C&I business. The different solutions offer great variability. "BYD is responding to the needs of its users," says Yassin Mahioui, Manager Central Europe at BYD.

The MC-C modular storage system based on blade cells offers capacities from 87 kWh to around 145 kWh, depending on the number of battery modules installed. Combining two MC-Cs doubles the maximum capacity to more than 290 kWh without losing flexibility. The new MC-Cube is also based on blade cells, but BYD uses a cell-to-system design, which reduces the weight of the storage system and automatically increases the energy density. Up to 10 MC-Cubes of approximately 500 kWh each can be combined.

The BYD-20ft-ESS offers power in a container format. Up to 8 battery modules (4 on each side) can be used individually or in series, providing approximately 2.6 MWh of power.

Fronius: Green GEN24 News

Fronius GEN24 is the Intersolar highlight from Fronius, a string inverter that becomes a hybrid inverter via a software update, thus enabling storage functionality. The housing is similar to that of the Fronius GEN24 Plus hybrid inverter. The power classes range from 3 to 10 kVA. The GEN24 has an emergency power socket. The new generation of inverters can be commissioned in just 3 steps using the Fronius Solar.start app.

Fronius has also focused on sector coupling: the GEN24 is accompanied by the compatible LG RESU Flex or BYD Battery-Box Premium HVS/HVM battery storage systems, the Ohmpilot as a consumption controller for water heating and the Fronius Wattpilot Home or Go as a wallbox.

The Fronius booth was also very green: The life cycle assessment of the Fronius GEN24 Plus was certified by Fraunhofer IZM. It takes between 0.7 and 3.3 years to amortise the CO2 generated during production. Fronius ensures that the products can be repaired and recycled as far as possible at the end of their life. The value chain is designed keeping Europe in mind. 2 new production lines will be commissioned in Hungary in the next few months.

Next generation at GoodWe

GoodWe has always been about one-stop solutions. The 3-phase ET hybrid inverters are now in their second generation and available in capacities from 6 to 15 kW. They are smarter: from intelligent operating modes to an integrated smart meter and intelligent load control. In addition, an uninterruptible power supply is possible with the back-up power function. We also saw version 2 of the GoodWe Lynx F HV battery system. The capacity range is between 9.6 kWh and 28.8 kWh and the system is modular and expandable. The energy density is 28.8 kWh/tower.

At the GoodWe booth, we also discovered an all-in-one commercial storage system (EAC series) for outdoor use, with an integrated ET hybrid inverter from 15 to 30 KW. All in black is the Lynx C series, a high-voltage battery with 101 to 156 kWh, designed for self-consumption optimisation and peak shaving. Together with the ETC hybrid inverter and the BTC retrofit battery inverter, this provides an energy storage system for small and medium-sized commercial and industrial systems.

Jinko Solar in the second level

At Jinko Solar, the second generation of its 3-phase HV split storage system with 11.52 to 26.88 kWh immediately caught our eye. The energy density is now higher. Now 7 battery modules can be stacked wirelessly, providing AC power from 6 kW to 20 kW. Up to 5 towers can be connected in parallel. Jinko Solar offers a 10-year warranty on the storage system.

Since the beginning of the year, the second generation of Tiger Neo modules has also been available in a black version, a glass-glass module with a black frame. The N-type TOPCon modules feature a lower LID and SMBB technology for increased light absorption and improved energy transport. The module is robust and can withstand wind loads of up to 4,000 Pascal and snow loads of up to 6,000 Pascal. At 1762 mm, the modules are 4 cm longer. The linear performance guarantee is 30 years and the product guarantee is 15 years.

Kostal: fewer devices and a wide range of applications

Kostal came to Intersolar in its usual luminous green and with a condensed portfolio: There are now 6 inverters between 4 and 100 kW. What's new is the latest generation of the PIKO CI 100 solar inverter for large commercial roofs and business projects. It is more compact, has 16 DC inputs on 8 MPP trackers and a power class of 100 kW.

Kostal also presented the third generation of the PLENTICORE at Intersolar. The basic unit is available in sizes S (4-7 kW), M (8.5-12 kW) and L (15-20 kW). The code turns the solar inverter into a hybrid inverter and extends the power as well as the current and voltage range. This results in a lower initial investment for the end customer and a device for multiple projects. Backup power operation is possible with an external switching device.

The Enector wallbox can also be upgraded from a standard wallbox to an intelligent wallbox by using a code. The charging power is up to 3.7 kW (1 ph) / 11 kW (3 ph). DC fault current monitoring (> 6 mA) and a 7.5 metre charging cable are integrated.

K2 Systems: Buddy, Carport & Co.

K2 Systems' Intersolar highlight is the K2 Buddy. A digital monitoring system for real-time snow load monitoring. The device measures the load approximately every 10 minutes. If the load is too high, the installer and the end customer are notified directly by push notification. If desired, the installer can call up the status of all the K2 Buddys he has installed. For systems with the K2 Buddy, K2 is extending the product warranty from 12 to 20 years.

Also new are the K2 CarrierRail mounting systems for facades. In the future, the manufacturer will offer solutions for the 3 most common types of facade (masonry/concrete, sandwich panels and sheet metal) that can be mounted in front of the facade. We also discovered the new K2 carport, available as a single or double carport with a 10° pitch.

On top of that, K2 presented various innovations in its own K2 Base software. New features such as the connection to PV*SOL, AI-based obstacle detection and the upload function for high-resolution aerial photos, technical drawings and floor plans will make planning even easier in the future.

LG Energy Solution introduces new storage systems

Under the name enblock, LG Energy Solution will be offering 2 storage solutions that deliver powerful performance with flexible scalability and practical handling. They are also space-saving and easy to install.

The enblock S consists of 3, 4 or 5 stacked battery modules plus BCU and offers capacities from 10.6 kWh to 17.7 kWh. The enblock E, on the other hand, resembles a cabinet, housing the BMPU and 4 or 5 battery modules of 12.5 or 15.6 kWh. This design not only makes the unit easy to transport, but also easy to expand.

In addition to their performance qualities, the enblock models also caught our eye from an aesthetic point of view. The enblock E in particular, with its metallic matt finish, could almost pass for a design object. With an IP55 rating, the storage unit is also suitable for outdoor use.

SMA's storage solutions

SMA revealed – literally – the new SMA Solar and Storage Combo, consisting of the single-phase Sunny Boy Smart Energy and the SMA Home Storage battery. The Home Storage battery with 3.2 to 16.2 kW is slim, stackable and expandable. A special feature is that each battery module has its own battery management system and can therefore be expanded at any time, e.g. 5 years after initial commissioning. The storage system is compatible with all SMA hybrid inverters.

The single-phase hybrid inverter Sunny Boy Smart Energy is available in 4 power classes from 3.6 to 6 kW and has 3 MPP trackers. A low starting voltage, the possibility of oversizing and the Shade-Fix function optimise the solar yield. An emergency power socket is available on the unit and a separate circuit can be defined for consumers that require additional power. The hybrid inverter is compatible with high voltage batteries from several manufacturers. SMA offers a 10-year warranty on the inverter.

A successor to the SMA Sunny Tripower Core2 commercial inverter will also be available from August 2024 – the name is still unknown, but what we do know is that the power class will be 125 kW, it will also have 12 MPPT and a connection box for the AC range.

SolarEdge: Managing Energy

In addition to its new products, SolarEdge has introduced a true energy management philosophy: SolarEdge ONE. This comprehensive concept addresses many end-customer requirements, such as effective management of electricity tariffs (most importantly: negative tariffs) or cross-manufacturer compatibility of the various components. This customer-centric approach also makes life easier for installers. The cloud-based solution uses artificial intelligence to monitor factors such as weather, usage and fluctuating demand.

"SolarEdge ONE makes hundreds of decisions every day so you don't have to," said Marco Ledic, Country Manager Germany at SolarEdge. Remarkably, SolarEdge ONE adapts individually to residential or commercial environments.

The new SolarEdge CSS commercial storage system comes in a metallic look. The modular DC system can be composed of up to 8 batteries (36-57 kWh each), providing up to 460 kWh of power. "Safety also plays an important role here, because when it comes to the UL9540A directive, for example, the wheat is separated from the chaff!" explains Marco Ledic. Installation and maintenance are also simple.

Solis is Pro

Among the highlights at Solis are the new 5G models for C&I PV projects. The (80-110) K-5G-Pro inverters with 80 to 110 kW provide a maximum PV string input current of up to 18 A. The inverter supports DC oversizing of more than 150% and is compatible with RS485/PLC/Wi-Fi/GPRS communication modes.

The topic of balcony power plants also caught our eye at Solis: The Solis Mini range of ultra-mini inverters is designed for residential PV systems. They are equipped with MPPT and a maximum input current of 14 A per string. An integrated ACFI function reduces the risk of fire. The inverter generates little noise. For The Smarter E Europe 2023, Solis also brought its S6 3-phase hybrid inverter. The 8 kW and 10 kW units each provide 4 MPPT and one string output. The input current is 16 A.

Sungrow optimises

At Sungrow, the new generation of 1-phase and 3-phase hybrid inverters was eagerly awaited. The number of MPPs has been increased (max. PV input current now 13.5 A) and the ISC is now 18 A, 2 A higher than in the previous model. "These innovations make the use of hybrid inverters with modern high-current modules even less complicated," explains Ralph Nolte, Product Manager Distribution at Sungrow.

There is also news about the Sungrow Energy Meter. It may look like its predecessor, but there is something new in it. "Thanks to the newly added second CT set, energy consumption can now be monitored more accurately and in a more time-efficient manner," says Ralph Nolte. In addition, the energy meter can now also be installed outside the meter cabinet via a cable connection.

Optimisers were also on show for the first time at Sungrow in 2023. In addition to the obligatory yield optimisation, the safety factor in the event of faults also plays an important role. Pragmatic: PLC communication in the D-LAN simplifies the work of all installers, as no communication cable or radio connection is required. Enthusiasts, however, will have to be patient: The optimisers for the single-phase hybrids will not be available until the end of the year.

Wallbox: bidirectional storage

At Wallbox, The smarter E was all about bi-directional charging. More specifically, the Quasar 2. The new solution charges and discharges in 1 or 3 phases with a target efficiency of up to 97 % and an output of up to 12.8 kW. Konrad Eickhoff, Account Executive DACH at Wallbox, says: "Now it's up to the authorities. Because in the context of the energy transition, the car will turn from a perceived problem into a solution thanks to bidirectionality".

In addition to the Pulsar Pro and Pulsar Max models, the Wallbox stand also showcased the Commander 2 range of intelligent chargers, which can be conveniently controlled via the display. As a thought leader in the field of e-mobility, Wallbox is also expanding its portfolio in other areas. These include Wallbox's Sirius energy management solution, which won The Smarter E Award on the eve of the show.

The bottom line

After 3 days of The smarter E Europe and Intersolar 2023, we can draw many conclusions: the show was bigger than ever, the industry is thriving and growth continues this year – we are lucky. The energy transition should happen today rather than tomorrow. We brought a lot of colour to the show and drew attention to ourselves with our sustainable booth, the 'Meet the Experts' theme and colourful Instagram content.

The many product innovations and market dynamics were particularly exciting. The efficiency of solar modules continues to improve: Aiko, in particular, is attracting attention with its ABC modules. In the field of battery storage, our manufacturers are upgrading, especially in the commercial sector. Energy management systems ensure an optimal supply of PV electricity to all components and smooth sector coupling.

Balcony power plants are becoming increasingly popular, and many microinverters were among the new products. We also saw many exciting start-ups with top engineering skills, which we believe should now be encouraged.  Until next time: The smarter E Europe 2024!

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