Last week we had the pleasure of being able to attend the All Energy conference for 2019.
While much of the same content as other years. this years event was noticeably much larger. As some of you might be aware, DMS Energy makes an annual pilgrimage to Melbourne to check out the latest and greatest products and innovations.
A huge turn out and it’s a virtual ‘who’s who’ of people involved in the industry.
Different brands trying to coax you to try their product but most of the major players have established their products and are hard to sway.
An interesting observation was how much the power outputs on the lesser known, typically cheaper brands, have all significantly gotten much higher. With many offering 330 watts which was quite an upgrade from the 270 to 280 watt offering they had last year.
They have achieved this using split cell technology where they cut a solar cell in half (one of the little squares you can see on a solar panel)
Which sort of divides the the whole panel in two halves. And then they are joined together again to make a whole panel.
The advantages are if half the panel is shaded it only loses half a panel in output. But it also makes the once run-of-the-mill solar cells, more efficient.
Underneath the solar panel have double the internal connections now that they have to cut a cell in half. They typically use a laser for this process.
In a nutshell, using split cell technology turns cheap mediocre panels into panels that actually perform quite well for a very low price.
Now imagine if we got one of LG 350 NeON2 panels and did the same to that. We would have the best part of 380 watts. Interestingly LG started to go down this path a year or so ago and then they put it on the back burner as they said they could do it easily enough but they would have to drop the 25 year warranty as they couldn’t work out how to do it and still have a panel that would last 25 years. So they have stayed to course using single, full cells. LG who have more design patents than anyone else in the industry and one of the largest research and development departments, said they shouldn’t do it.
I will be interested to see how these new split cells hold up over time but it seems that longevity will sacrifice the lamb to achieve a higher performance.
LG panels are still the best of all the on display. 60 full cell panels are still higher in output than anybody else’s in the same category. If you want a rock solid investment look no further than these exemplary quality modules.
Another thing to mention that every manufacturer seems to have a battery option now. Batteries every where. All with their different ways of trying to differentiate themselves from other products. Unfortunately for Tassie they are all still a bit too expensive to buy just for savings in energy alone but over the next few years I imagine we will see lower battery prices and higher energy prices will somehow meet in the middle and they will be just something that comes with every solar system.
Until then, load up with solar panels and the world’s cheapest energy storage device is still your hot water cylinder.
One noticeable difference this year was an increase in utility sized equipment. That is products designed around deploying thousands of solar panels in one area as in solar farms you would have seen on the news. All trying to show how their particular innovation would give their customers some form of pricing or time advantage.
As you may know, DMS Energy has been installing SolarEdge systems for the last 10 years and their exhibition was fantastic! With new battery technology on the cusp of being deployed for commercial-sized customers, as well as a new SolarEdge battery for domestic installations. Since SolarEdge purchased Kokem the 4th largest battery manufacturer in the world they anticipate being a major player in the advancement of energy storage technology. Every year they have something new to show and constantly showing that they are not only ahead of the curve, they virtually set the agenda for everyone else to try and compete and catch up with.
To round up my experience of the All Energy Conference this year in a few words is that it was fluid and dynamic.
In this industry, we love being part of its constant evolution. There is innovation races between major renewable energy companies within the industry, but over all, the industry as a whole is dominating the energy market. Fossil fuels are done and dusted it’s just the timeline that is yet to be decided before we can officially call their demise.