Intersolar 2009: My Photovoltaic Top 10 List

image [Munich, Germany]

Photovoltaic power electronics are hot!

Clocking in with 1417 exhibitors covering 104000 square meters across nine halls and an outdoor area, I was competing with about 60000 visitors to capture my unfair share of Intersolar 2009 over three days at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre. Given the massive size and my ongoing hiatus recovery, I could have used another day to investigate more stands. With that caveat, here are my subjective views of the best Intersolar 2009 had to offer mimicking the Late Show with David Letterman format.

A Picasa slideshow of the Photovoltaic Top 10 List is displayed at the end of the post.

10. Best Solar Internet Start-up
SOLARFIX (http://www.solarfix.com)

SOLARFIX Pro is a German online photovoltaic portal for solar installers to order products for delivery in two days. SOLARFIX will buy direct from manufacturers in bulk and reduce end prices by bypassing mid tier distribution. SOLARFIX test accounts will begin June 8, 2009, although accounts are free anyway after registration.

9. Best Material
MIRO-SUN® PV from Alanod-Solar GmbH & Co. KG

A comprehensive MIRO-SUN test report is available with the solar lacquer coating, now called Sol Gel, for outdoor applications. MIRO-SUN PV has a suspicious similarity to the material used in Skyline Solar’s Prototype High Gain Solar (HGS) Project at the VTA.

8. Best Module Certification
5.7m2 photovoltaic (PV) modules produced on Applied Materials, Inc. (
NASDAQ:AMAT) SunFab Thin Film Line.

Per “Applied Materials Announces IEC Certification of World’s Largest Solar Panels,” the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification covers both single and tandem junction modules. I confirmed Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited has received IEC certification for their 5.7m2 a-Si (amorphous Silicon) modules, and Signet Solar issued the press release, “World’s largest thin film solar modules from Signet Solar now TÜV-certified”, regarding certification of their Product Datasheet SI S1 Series Full Panel a-Si modules.

7. Best Award
Oerlikon Solar: KAI 1200 PECVD system won the Cell Award for Best technical product for thin-film module manufacturing

KAI 1200 performs Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) of amorphous or microcrystalline photovoltaic layers for thin film solar modules. Oerlikon Solar is a business unit of OC Oerlikon Corporation AG (VTX:OERL).

Please see the Cell Award website for all seven Winners by Category.
(Full Disclosure: I voted for the KAI 1200.)

6. Best Press Conference
SolarMagic Launch / National Semiconductor Corporation (
NYSE:NSM)

Please see SolarMagic, Solar Magic (aka How does this device work?) for my coverage. OK, so I only attended two Intersolar press conferences. I got more questions answered at the other one, but I liked the historical element with National’s 50th anniversary and the Russell Ohl factor. After all, I was almost a history major.

5. Best central inverter approach
Fronius IG Central Inverter from Fronius International GmbH

The Fronius IG Central Inverter is composed of modular units that switch on as needed, load balance to increase energy yield, and, I suspect, maximize inverter life. The modules are easy to swap in case maintenance or repair is required. I wonder if this concept can be extended to 1 MW (MegaWatt) plus sized inverters?

4. Best Demo and Best Spokesperson
The SolarMagic outside demo and Ms. SolarMagic

The SolarMagic demo outside on the Intersolar 2009 Freigelände merits a separate post. In case you were wondering, SolarMagic is not the Best Spokesperson’s real last name.

3. Best Module
X-Series MICROMORPH thin film modules from Inventux Technologies AG

Inventux claims X-Series MICROMORPH module production is centered at a stabilized 115W (Watts) moving to 120W (with 8.9% efficiency?) by July 2009. Here is the datasheet. Inventux said they had several 100-150 kW (kiloWatt) installations in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy. When I asked, they offered to arrange a tour of a private installation site near Munich. I wish I had the time.

Honorable mention – Transparent a-Si modules exhibited by Green Energy Technology. The a-Si modules produced using a SunFab line are offered with 5% (80W), 10% (72W), and 20% (69W) transparency. Extra laser scribing is required increasing module cycle time however.

1. (tie) Best Start-up
SolarEdge Technologies Inc. and Tigo Energy

In a rare moment of waffling, I decided to declare a tie between these two companies entering the PV power electronics space. Both companies have DC (Direct Current) MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) electronics at each module while also monitoring module level performance via powerline communications. SolarEdge plans to offer SolarEdge Fixed String Voltage inverters with their solution beginning with 3.3 kW and 5 kW models. By contrast, Tigo Energy has partnered with KACO new energy GmbH to integrate the Tigo Energy Management Unit into KACO inverters creating the complete KACO/Tigo Energy Maximizer solution.

GUNTHER Portfolio (Kindle Edition) is now available at Amazon.com for a whopping $0.99 monthly subscription price including a free 14 day trial. Does that even cover the cost of wireless delivery?

5 comments

  1. Slingshot says:

    I like the fact that your tie for best start up – Tigo and SolarEdge – are both Israeli!

  2. Khaled nasraoui says:

    Dear sir,

    We are starting up a cristalline PV modules factory in Africa. we are counting on your recommandation about the best pannel certification type that will leads us to the market.

    all the best and happy new year.

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