SecondSol on serviceportal – interview for Milk the Sun

Milk the Sun and SecondSol will cooperate in future and support each other making the PV market more efficient and transparent. We’ve had a chance to ask Frank Fiedler, CEO at SecondSol what he is hoping to gain from the cooperation and what his future plans are.


SecondSol is an online secondary market for PV modules, ac-converter and co. in connection with photovoltaics. Please describe what you are doing in specific. „We are producing solarmodules with atomic energy in Asia, we transport them to Germany with heavy crude oil and dispose of them because they don’t meet our standards!” Out of this reason the project SecondSol was developed in 2010 and brought to life especially for the PV industry in 2011. The platform’s aim is to guarantee the maintenance of second-hand-parts for a lifetime of a PV plantan that lasts at least 20 years. The idea started off with insurances demanding parts to replace losses after a claim of PV damage or theft conserning private as well as industrial PV operators. On the seller side there are different types of distributers and manufacturers that needed a distribution channel for remaining stock and seconds. SecondSol brings together supply and demand and brings transparency into the mass of second hand products (that are for instance needed by organisations for aid projects). The marketplace also includes an additional logistics and storage system, intelligent software that always places products according to it’s search-engine position. Partners are insurances, distributers, manufacturers, organisations, LDCs and private persons.


How does your online secondary market exactly work? SecondSol is an all direct tradingplatform that buyers and sellers can use to trade. A sales comission is due after the deal is sealed. Bigger clients have the opportunity to get help from our sales agency. An assistant helps uploading your products. SecondSol additionally has a logistics tool and the service area which guarantees you a direct customer support via phone hotline. A PV newsservice and serviceindex completes SecondSol.


Who is the average user of your service? Our user come from all over the world. A few weeks ago we had the first visitor from South Africa. Our clients are insurances, distributers, manufacturers, organisations and private persons from all over the world.


What are your expectations from cooperating with Milk the Sun? I believe we have the same goals. We both want to help sustainibility back to its roots. We want to bring together people and solve problems that so far have been underestimated in the PV industry. With this focus we can profit from each other a lot. Both companies have a matching innovative and motivated team to help establish the ideas on an international scale in the markets. One specific similarity are shared by both business models: Their target group is part of a market that is only about to start growing and will really get going in a couple of years. This makes Milk the Sun and SecondSol – The Panel Scout – both charming.


Do you dare to take a glance into the future of the PV industry? How do you judge on the momentary situation and which possinbilities do German companies have to stay successful in this segment? I hope for it! It would be madness if a few politicians manage to destroy the technological advantages of PV in this country. A reduction of local  FiTs does make sense, but in an maintainable manner. Of course German manufacturers must adjust their in-company structures. The boom made everyone a little lazy in facilitating the industry’s consolidation. In general it is important to say that PV will be the future. The sun shines every day, and a day’s sunshine generates enough energy to feed the world with it for a year.


SecondSol Secondary Market


SecondSol has ten times as much users as in the beginning. You are expanding and have recently added a PV-search-tool. Are you pleased with yourself? Where will you be standing in a year from now? Satisfaction means cessation…just a joke. To be honest the first run surprised us a little and we had to adjust our system to the high demands. The software is always the achillis tendon – first-class but also very complex. By now I have stopped to try predicting the exact launch of a new application. Our new PV-search-tool exactly meets the needs of the industry. We are contacted every day from insurance companies or plant manager that are desperately looking for a special single replacement. These offers or inquiries can be submitted to our site for free. As soon as the search is active it goes out to all SecondSol user, who have applied for it. This is how they have the instant possibility to place offers, if they have the modules in their cellar or in stock. Where we se ourselves in July 2013? It is our aim to become the worldwide leader of all PV secondary markets . The goal surely is ambitious but we already have so much international encouragement that we have a great starting point and all necessary requirements.


Milk the Sun thanks SecondSol for this very enlightning conversation and is looking forward to a productive cooperation.


Talesun, Desertec and RWE – photovoltaic goes South

Since last week RWE is spreading the news that it has reversed it’s opinion on the efficiency of photovolatic power plants and now wants to take action in South Europe and North Africa. In an interview with the German Financial Times head of RWE Innogy Fritz Vahrenholt says: „Solar energy can be produced at costs of 10 to 12 Euro ct. per kWh in South Europe, in North Arfica even cheaper”. But the idea to use North Africa’s sun as energy source is not new. Desertec industry initiative GmbH (Dii), that consists of European and mainly German companies, seeks to combine generating energy from photovoltaic and solar thermal plants with wind energy facilities in North African countries.The coastal areas in Morocco and Tunisia have ideal conditions for generating wind energy. And the desert’s sun has a lot more power than in areas further north. „The deserts of the earth get as much energy in six hours as the world population needs in a whole year”, sais Dr. Gerhard Knies, chairman of the board of trustees at Desertec Foundation. This information raises hopes that the austerity of energy ressources could be dealt with on the long run if we use the sun’s power intelligently. But who guarantees the newly won energy’s fair distribution? Essentially the plan is to compenciate European austerity with Arfrican goods. Bitter is the taste of neocolonialism so how is it prevented?


Desertec and with them their partner RWE vow to build a balanced partnership with Morocco and Tunisia and want to distribute the energy to those countries from which it is taken first. According to Dr. Frank-Detlef Drake, head of Research and Developement at RWE AG it is important, „that the desert’s energy is primarily used where it is produced, to avoid loss through transportation and to keep costs low. A ‘drainage’ directly from the Sahara to Germany would be the wrong move and a wrong signal”. This sounds well thought through, but tangible facts, that back this plan up are rather hard to get a hold onto. Desertec has twentyone members, only one of them is Moroccan and more than half of them are German. Facts like these weaken previously envisioned pictures of coequal partnership. It remains to be seen how this cooperation developes economically and sociopolitically. Numerous international partners, that this project already has, might lead the way to a fair and efficient relationship. To invest in North Africa’s sun definitely is a step towards future. Photovoltaic ventures in Europe pay off too. This chart shows that South Europe is very rich in sun. Rome, with a total of 1687 hours of sunshine per year, has the second highest score of sunconcentration in the whole of Europe – hence the longlasting and active photovoltaic market. Now RWE takes a second look to countries in the southern regions of Europe and wonders wether pv might bring some asset here. But this turnaround is almost is a little late. There are two that for sure already know what the South has on offer – Talesun and Calabria Solar. On May 22 they announced the successful launch of their 38 hectare pv-major in San Floro, Calabria with 23,8 megawatt. Calabria offers brilliant figures for solar energy production. Global irradiance settles at around 1.800 kilowatthours per squaremeter each year. The Talesun/Calabria Solar plant works at with an efficiency of close to 80 percent. Strongly convinced of Italy’s solar economy is Joachim Simonis, head of Talesun Solar-Germany GmbH „Italy is strategically important for the photovoltaik industry, from an investor’s perspective as well as from the production side.” Now his showcase project in Calabria will be the basis for new profitable plans – the increase of his team in Italy. To incorporate interntional and paneuropean cooperations in a business idea and expand these continuously is reality today, that pays off well. It is a reassurance that giant companies as RWE will be active partners of photovoltaic in future.



Sources: RWE, FTD

Milk the Sun to showcase itself at this year’s Intersolar exhibition in Munich!

Milk the Sun will be exhibiting at Intersolar Europe 2012 – the world’s largest exhibition for the solar industry! We’re eagerly looking forward to showcasing ourselves to over 80,000 visitors at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre between 13th and 15th June. Milk the Sun is an international online marketplace that allows buyers and sellers from across the PV industry to come together and trade directly, easily and efficiently. Our innovative platform is perfect if you’re looking for a simple and effective way to find:




 If you’re interested in finding new business partners in the PV industry make sure you pay us a visit at booth B2.170D!


The EEG – politics makes the solar economy weak

The environment ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia and the leading candidate Norbert Röttgen on Wednesday adopted legislative package, the EEG, which was met with opposition by the state. The updated Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which proposes further solar subsidy cuts, is expected to be rejected by the governments of the eastern states of Germany.

The cuts, from between 20 – 40% with retrospective effect from 1 April, will severely affect states that are home to large solar companies – these days jobs are dependent on political decisions. Therefore, Saxony-Anhalt (where Q-Cells recently dismissed 1300 people), Saxony (SolarWorld announced losses of €300 million for 2011) and Thuringia are expected to vote against the changes to the Renewable Energy Act. The position of the governments of Berlin and Brandenburg (where First Solar closed, eliminating 1,200 jobs) could tip the scales and will play a crucial role in the planned vote on Friday. It could only amount to a conciliation procedure however.

Whether or not this can be considered a win for the solar industry must be examined from several angles; further delays and less political decisions will not bring back security and dynamism to photovoltaics. In the medium term, however, a rejection of further cuts offers a glimmer of hope for solar companies who have needed to dismiss the majority of employees and are struggling with a severe decrease in orders. The 10,000 jobs already lost, BSW Managing Director Carsten König says, is not only painful for the solar industry, but is also a bitter blow with regard to the labour market situation in Germany. Photovoltaic and solar industries are growing markets that are needed in Germany.

It remains to be seen how the states will act on 11 May. In North Rhine Westphalia elections will be held on Sunday. (Source: AP, Reuters)

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.



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