The smarter E AWARD 2024: Finalists Present Pioneering Solutions for a Renewable 24/7 Energy Supply

Press Release – Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Munich/Pforzheim, May 8, 2024 –The energy industry is undergoing a radical transformation. Renewable sources of energy have become increasingly profitable in recent years and are now the most economically viable solution for generating electricity. Deployment is accelerating and the technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated. This has put renewables in the fast lane. Visionary companies are contributing to this development with modern technologies, ideas and concepts. The best and most innovative developments have been nominated for The smarter E AWARD 2024. The prize is awarded in five categories: Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, E-Mobility, Smart Integrated Energy and Outstanding Projects. The winners will be honored on the eve of The smarter E Europe on June 18 at 6:15pm at the International Congress Center München (ICM). Europe’s largest alliance of exhibitions for the energy industry unites four exhibitions (Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe) and will take place at Messe München from June 19–21.

The finalists for The smarter E AWARD 2024 have been announced in the five categories.

Intelligent, innovative, interdisciplinary – as Europe’s largest alliance of exhibitions for the energy industry, The smarter E Europe highlights key topics for a renewable 24/7 energy supply. The focus will be on solar energy, storage technologies, electromobility and grid and energy management. The smarter E AWARD is presented every year as part of this exhibition. The innovation prize recognizes companies and their products that are actively shaping tomorrow’s energy world. 2024 will mark the first time for the award to be presented in five categories, Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, E-Mobility, Smart Integrated Energy and Outstanding Projects. The The smarter E AWARD ceremony will be held in room 1 of the International Congress Center Messe München (ICM) at 6:15pm on June 18.

Solar industry dedicated to higher output and more innovation

The finalists in the Photovoltaics category underscore continuing solar industry trends, including higher output per surface area and larger module sizes. Most manufacturers rely on TOPCon technology for this and are continuing to develop this as back contact solar cells. The number of PV modules with a homogeneous and dark design is increasing. There are also innovative approaches to output losses due to partial shading. In addition to traditional modules, solutions for new fields of application are being developed, such as rollable awnings with integrated solar cells. What’s more, fast, cost-effective metering systems and intelligent evaluation software are being developed for the maintenance of PV power plants, while quality control in the production lines is being expanded to the expected PV tandem technology.

Inverters are also seeing a continuing trend towards higher outputs, with a focus on high efficiency levels, advanced grid services and easy configurability. Hybrid inverters that can be connected to a battery storage system as well as a PV system are widely available on the market for use in the residential segment. The ability to supply emergency power in the event of power grid failure has become a desirable feature. Mounting strategies are moving toward building integration and mounting solutions are being optimized for different types of roof covering. Standardized PV plug-in connectors and innovative solutions make operating data collection more secure by rebooting the router in the event of the systems freezing or crashing, while drone monitoring facilitates the installation and maintenance of PV systems.

The finalists of the Photovoltaics category

  • Aiko Energy (China) with its AIKO ABC modules
  • ArcelorMittal Construction (France) with its product Helioroof
  • Euronergy (Netherlands) with its flexible PV modules and U-IBC solar cells
  • Institute for Solar Energy Research ISFH + Aerial PV Inspection (Germany) with their LIEL inspection method
  • NexWafe (Germany) with its EpiNex wafers
  • PVcase (Lithuania) with its PVcase software suite
  • Shenzhen Hopewind Electric (China) with its HSHV385L-G02 string inverter
  • SMA Solar Technology (Germany) with its Sunny Central FLEX platform
  • Solar Materials (Germany) with its patented recycling technology
  • WAVELABS Solar Metrology Systems (Germany) with its SINUS-3000 Pro metering system

Trends and technologies in energy storage: from installation to bidirectional AC coupling

In the Energy Storage category, finalists are taking on the challenges of installation. When it comes to residential storage systems, the trend is towards systems with less depth – resulting in a smaller footprint. Many systems are also suitable for outdoor installation. The typical operating range of several systems has been increased from 2,000 meters to 4,000 meters above sea level. Large-scale storage systems can now hold five megawatt hours and more in a 20-foot container. In the case of one manufacturer, it is even possible to stack two containers on top of one another, resulting in over 700 kilowatt hours of storage capacity per square meter of floor space.

In the past, short storage periods, or high C rates, were often relevant when it came to applications such as peak shaving. Now, however, more systems have charging/discharging times of four hours and above, including iron flow batteries and a potential energy storage system. Thanks to bidirectional AC coupling, storage systems for balcony solar systems can now be installed without any need for cable bushing indoors. Instead, the energy from the balcony solar system stored in the external power sockets is absorbed via the AC grid and fed in when required. The integration of flexible electricity tariffs for charging storage systems, as well as options for bidirectional vehicle charging, are featuring ever more in the system designs. Storage technology is experiencing a strong push towards lithium-iron-phosphate cells. Even smaller systems are now fitted with additional safety equipment.

The finalists of the Energy Storage category

  • Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) (China) with its battery system EnerX DC Containerized BESS 5.64 MWh
  • Cubenergy (China) with its comprehensive PowerCombo-20C2H1600K utility-scale storage system
  • Enphase Energy (USA) with its IQ Battery 5P, which uses six micro-inverters to provide AC output
  • ESS Tech (USA) with its utility-scale storage system Energy Center
  • HagerEnergy (Germany) with its Edison V2H charging station
  • Jackery Technology (USA) with its small-scale storage system Jackery Navi 2000
  • Pfannenberg Europe (Germany) with its vibration-resistant cooling unit Compact Chiller VLV12
  • Sigenergy Technology Co., Ltd. (China) with the battery storage SigenStor
  • sonnen (Germany) with its commercial storage system sonnenPro FlexStack
  • Trina Storage (China) with its highly integrated Trina Storage Elementa 2 energy storage system

Electromobility: latest developments in energy conversion

The finalists of The smarter E AWARD in the E-Mobility category reflect the latest developments in energy conversion. SiC technology is emerging as the dominant trend in converters for DC charging stations, promising increased efficiency and performance. Dynamic matrix interconnections of DC power units for connecting dispensers are also in the spotlight. This technology is set to improve flexibility and reliability. The integration of DC bus systems with the option of incorporating energy storage and photovoltaic systems is a step towards creating a comprehensive energy center in response to the rather high costs of grid expansion.

The finalists of the E-Mobility category

  • Autel Europe (Germany) with its DC fast charging solution MaxiCharger DC HiPower
  • Designwerk Technologies (Switzerland) with its mobile DC fast charging device Mobile Charger 88-920
  • Designwerk Technologies (Switzerland) with its battery-buffered megawatt charging station
  • EcoG (Germany) with its switching matrix Connect
  • Huawei Digital Power (China) with its FusionCharge, an HPC solution with internal liquid cooling
  • Road (Netherlands) with its Software-as-a-Service solution Road Private Label
  • SolarPaint by Apollo Power (Israel) with its flexible solar modules for heavy commercial vehicles
  • Vector Informatik (Germany) with its software and hardware solution vCharM
  • XCharge Europe (Germany) with its all-in-one DC charging station Net Zero Series (NZS)

More flexibilization, stabilization and efficiency

The finalists of the Smart Integrated Energy category demonstrate the energy industry’s trend towards increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) to market storage systems for grid integration of renewables. AI-based systems use historical data to predict future power generation and consumption and to charge or discharge battery storage systems depending on the demand and market price. Dynamic electricity tariffs for residential customers, which allow consumers to respond flexibly to market price fluctuations, are also gaining in importance. In addition, battery aging is increasingly being monitored to optimize the life span of battery storage systems. These trends are helping to stabilize power grids, increase efficiency, and promote renewable energy sources.

Finalists of the Smart Integrated Energy category

  • CyberGrid (Germany) with its Software-as-a-Service solution CyberNoc for more flexibility
  • Delfos – Intelligence Asset Management (Spain) with its software platform Delfos
  • (Germany) with its online tool for planning tasks
  • Entrix (Germany) with its AI-powered platform for analyzing market data and price forecasts
  • Off-Grid Europe (Germany) with its all-in-one solution MuchCooler for cooling food in off-grid regions
  • PIONIERKRAFT (Germany) with its energy sharing solution
  • SolarEdge (Israel) with its AI-based energy optimization system SolarEdge ONE
  • suena (Germany) with its suena autopilot, a digital twin of large-scale battery storage systems
  • The Mobility House (Germany) with its software for battery commercialization

Finalists in the Outstanding Projects category

In the Outstanding Projects category, the finalists have demonstrated exceptional solutions and products that have been integrated into a global renewable energies project. From sector coupling to decentralized energy systems, from photovoltaics, storage systems and hydrogen to power grids and mobility – these finalists stand out for their groundbreaking achievements and visionary solutions:

  • 3SUN (Italy) with its gigafactory in Catania, Italy
  • Beijing HyperStrong Technology (China) with its wind, PV and energy storage project in Fuyang, Anhui
  • Boreal Light (Germany) with Europe’s largest solar desalination system in Ukraine
  • CALB Group (China) with China’s largest grid-connected energy storage power plant
  • Huawei Digital Power (China) with the world’s largest hydro solar power plant in the Yalong River basin
  • IO-Dynamics (Germany) with its Last-Mile-Electrification smart charging solution project
  • LONGi Solar Technology (China) with its pilot project for generating green hydrogen
  • MaxSolar (Germany) with its innovation project Bundorf
  • Red Sea Global (Saudi Arabia) with its tourist resort supplied by renewable electricity
  • Siemens (Germany) with its intelligent power distribution project for the Infinity Tower in Lisbon
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