Photovoltaics (PV) is booming worldwide, with good reason. In many places, solar energy is even well on its way to becoming the most inexpensive form of energy generation – in some regions, electricity production costs for energy from PV are already only 3–5 euro cents per kilowatt hour.
Current estimates, published by the industry association SolarPower Europe in their Global Market Outlook and announced at Intersolar Europe 2016 in Munich, predict that by 2020 there will be a global installed PV capacity of 700 gigawatts. This would be an increase of more than 200% – in 2015 a total of 229 GW were installed. 2015 was a pivotal year for renewable energies, with more than half of the new power generation systems installed worldwide being within renewable energies, driven by solar and wind power. This development was supported with global investments of $329 billion, according to current figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This October, the International Energy Agency (IEA) adjusted its spring forecast for the expansion of sustainable power generation significantly upward. The latest report expects renewable energies to remain the fastest growing type of power generation over the next five years, thanks to effective funding projects in key countries as well as the global fall in costs. For photovoltaics, costs are expected to drop by as much as a quarter by 2021. Last year, an average of half a million solar modules were installed every day.
The conditions for the international industry platform for the solar industry are thus ideal. For the upcoming Intersolar Europe 2017, the organizers are expecting an increase in exhibitor numbers of around 10% compared to 2016’s event. They also expect the exhibitors and exhibition guests to be even more international than before. One important factor driving this trend is the topic of smart renewable energy, which played a prominent role in the 2016 exhibition. With more and more renewable energy being generated and fed into power grids, a suitable way must be found to use and manage this power effectively – in private homes, in neighborhoods, in industry and in the entire power grid. The aim: to use modern storage technologies to find smart solutions for controlling generation and consumption between various producers and consumers in the power grid. The Smart Renewable Energy Forum and the special exhibit Wind meets Solar and Storage were very well received at the 2016 event. And this success will continue and grow in 2017 with the addition of a special exhibit on the topic of smart renewable energy.