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First milk, then store – the battery is the future of solar

“Battery storage space plays a crucial role in restructuring the electricity supply,” says Matthias Vetter, battery expert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), in an interview with Intersolar. Batteries constitute an important part in solar energy generation as they regulate the supply ensuring grid stability, and store any excessive energy produced, at least in the short to medium term. The current research and investment in battery technology is attractive for the photovoltaic industry. Today’s political setbacks for the industry, most recently the planned cuts in solar subsidies, due to a supposed flooding of the market with clean electricity, could be somewhat cushioned by the development in long-term storage capabilities. Presently the industry is investing heavily in technology and research into the optimum storage and life duration of batteries. Hybrid designs and powerful lithium batteries, such as those used in electric vehicles, are the focus of making solar energy use more efficient. It is not the sole idea of ​​battery systems to store excess solar-produced electricity, but it is realistic, says Matthias Vetter. Germany will be “unable to avoid seasonal storage using hydrogen, and couple the use of electricity and gas network simultaneously”. With a supply of 30%, for example, storage systems for the energy transition are much debated. Also at the Intersolar Europe Conference on 11 June 2012 in Munich, the different battery technologies and their respective application areas will be discussed by a panel of experts in the Electricity Storage lecture series. A subsequent plenary debate will seek to clarify the question about which battery is most suitable for each application.

 

Milk the Sun is at the centre of redesigning the photovoltaic industry – therefore we will be present at the Intersolar Exhibition from 13.-15. June 2012. Visit us at booth B2.170D.

 

Milk the Sun: The trading center for European solar energy industry goes online

www.milkthesun.com brings Project Developers, Investors, Land owners and owners of existing plants directly into business together.

 

With www.milkthesun.com comes the first European online marketplace that combines trading of project rights and inventory systems with a roof and open space exchange.

 

Milk the Sun creates an innovative solution to make the previously confusingly structured primary and secondary market transparent.

 

So far, a number of small suppliers of roofs or project right owners and investors are searching for each other on the photovoltaic market. “From the planning to installation or for the resale of a solar system many middlemen are necessary. The trading of photovoltaic systems and project rights is not only time consuming and tedious, but also associated with high transaction costs”, says Felix Krause, managing director of Milk the Sun.

 

Project Rights, Roofs, Plants are marketed and sold quickly and easily online

 

www.milkthesun.com offers project developers, investors, land owners and owners of existing plants the opportunity to network directly with each other. Long broker chains are superfluous. All users can use the platform to set offers or view requests or projects; compare and find solar panels, which reduce the acquisition cost substantially.

 

Given the funding cuts to solar energy in many European countries, it is imperative to create new marketing channels. “The middlemen have swallowed up too much of the investment returns”, says Mr. Krause. “This solar energy continues to be profitable and for current and future business partners to communicate directly with each other, Milk the Sun offers the best solution.”

 

Individual counseling and arranging Services

 

In addition to the trading platform, Milk the Sun also helps with questions pertaining to insurance or maintenance. If legal in nature, a network of experts and consultants is available for tax or financial affairs of the users.

 

Milk the Sun

 

The team from Milk the Sun combines expertise and competence in the field of solar energy. It has many years experience in the overall implementation of large solar plants and excellent market knowledge. Milk the Sun has made it its mission to make the photovoltaic market dynamic to overcome time-consuming and costly hurdles and thereby contribute to the development of renewable energies.

 

Solar energy investment: a good idea?

Milk the Sun BlogOn June 29th 2011, the European Commission presented its proposal for the Union’s financial agenda till 2020: the aim concerning environmental issues is to reduce gas emissions of at least 20%. Furthermore the 20% of EU energy consumption shall come from renewable resources. Solar energy investment is gaining popularity as people realise the many benefits resulting from it. In the past years many people have opened their minds to the possibility of turning to solar energy, so investments in photovoltaics’ research and innovation have significantly increased. Consequently, this source of energy has now a significant role in the electricity grid of many European countries.

 

In the current economic downturn, consumers wonder if an investment in photovoltaic energy is still profitable. In the first instance such an investment seems to be a good option, because the source of energy (the sun) is direct, constantly available and not conditioned by the state of the economy or financial markets. On the other hand it does not damage the environment.

 

Several European nations have launched programmes to foster investments in renewable energy solutions. Such laws are called “Feed-in Tariffs”. These laws enable residential or commercial customers who produce their own renewable electricity to receive compensation for every kWh they generate. If generated electricity for residential or commercial needs is not used, it will be sold to the traditional grid at fix granted prices. A combination of reasons as for instance better cell efficiency and improvements in solar manufacturing costs of solar electricity are causing the fall of the costs of photovoltaic electricity. In a few years many European countries will reach grid parity, i.e. the equivalence of the price of electricity from traditional sources and solar power.

 

Currently, some European governments pay a certain amount a year, in some cases for the next 20 years (like in Germany and Italy). Although the Feed-in Tariffs change depending on which kind of installation is adopted, the investor has always a positive return. As a result solar investments are more advantageous than other types of investments such as shares, government bonds or saving plans.

 

The last and maybe most important point to invest in solar energy is supporting a green economy, which implies that a business has not just a lucrative interest, but is also a responsible towards society and the environment by providing valuable products in a way that does not infringe upon the atmosphere and the climate. By using a solar panel we help the environment by reducing the amount of pollution generating from fossil fuels, the most common polluting source of energy. The only environmental problem of a solar panel may arise from recycling them at the end of their “lives” – which can last up to 25 years or more. Discarded panels might release chemical nanoparticles into the environment.  However, it is to hope that the solar industry will consider not just how panels are manufactured but also how they will be disposed when their function is over.

 

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