Archives from Months October, 2012

Half Position, Full Schedule

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Martin Klann is a patent manager and family father. I wanted to find out how he manages to do it all, so I met up with him in the cafeteria.

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New U.S. Solar Zones Encourage Future Solar Growth

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The U.S. government recently implemented a program that designates 17 solar zones in six states, paving the way for future commercial and utility-scale solar PV plant development.

Simplifying the PV Permitting Process

This is good news for PV growth in the United States because the permitting process, interconnection and other soft costs can often slow down the process of installing solar. The new federal program will help streamline this process in the future, which should allow for simpler, increased development of solar PV plants.

Read more about this topic in this Renewablesbiz article by Bill Opalksa. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

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20 Girls, One Goal – SMA Girls Camp

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The Girls Camp was initiated by the Hessen Ministry of Economics and the Federal Employment Agency in order to give girls between the ages of 14 and 16 a chance to learn more about careers in technical fields.

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My SMA Internship: 57-Day Adventure

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The trip to Germany was something completely new for me. A foreign country, a different language, many new challenges which all accompanied me on my adventure/internship.

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Grid Integration of Distributed PV-Generation

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The increasing grid penetration of renewable energy and decentralized power sources, and photovoltaics (PV) in particular, are resulting in an increase in the demands placed on the public utility grid. Most PV in Germany – the world’s largest PV market — is installed at the low- and medium-voltage grid level. This results in potential issues in low-voltage grids like temporarily high voltages at the end of long feeder lines. Although significant, this kind of issue can be solved with inverters featuring intelligent reactive power control, which help support grid stability by minimizing frequency deviations commonly associated with decentralized, renewable energy production.

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Internship at SMA Italia

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Hello to Cold Germany!

I can't complain, at least about the weather. At the moment it is 30*C under clear blue skies, although it feels even warmer.
Unfortunately I don't get to enjoy it much here at work, though I would like to take a moment and personally thank the inventor of the air conditioner. The first few weeks here took a lot of getting used to, at least the heat, but I have finally stopped arriving to work drenched in sweat.

SMA Italy
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Katrins house in Italia.

Since we're talking about work: my colleagues here are all amazingly nice and I was greeted very warmly. My workday doesn't start until 9:00am and it's still a little new to have so much time in the mornings, but the office doesn't even open until then. My commute to work is really simple and takes just 10 minutes with the street car.
The first three weeks for me at SMA Italy were spent in Marketing, where I was responsible for a customer data base. Then it was off to the order center in MPS and then on to the service department. Due to the language barrier, there were unfortunately a few boring tasks for me to perform.

Free Time in Italy
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Katrin at the Public Viewing.

I was fortunate that two trainees from my school were in internships in Milan as well, so we were able to watch the European Championship games together or do other things together on the weekends. We went to Lago Como together, for example. It's a lake with a beautiful surrounding and a type of street car which travels along the mountains. From there you can (almost) see the entire lake.
In order to escape the hot temperatures, we planned to visit a swimming pool. After visiting the tourist information center we found one, too, though it turned out to be a little disappointing. There was almost no grass to lay out on and there was a rule that you had to wear a swim cap (something we promptly ignored ;-)).

Thankfully I get along very well with my colleagues and really enjoy the tradition that every Friday, 2 colleagues cook for everyone who wants to join. It's just like a family, I have to say. It's just my luck that they have served pasta with seafood twice (which is just not my thing ;-)), but as I learned in intercultural training, you don't decline an invitation, so I made it through. 🙂

Solari Saluti,
Katrin

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Vision 2050 – Everyone Has an Energy Cube

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What will the energy supply be like in German households and in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the year 2050? The article or vision is intended to stimulate reflection and debate. Sometimes I go into more and sometimes less detail, and while I have given this question quite some thought,  I cannot say whether these thoughts are complete or feasible.

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Eerily Beautiful– Museum for Sepulchral Culture

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If you are in the middle of Kassel and suddenly find yourself surrounded my grave stones, you aren’t necessarily in a cemetery. You might just as well be at the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. It is, after all, located not far from City Hall right in the inner city of Kassel, and opened its doors in 1992.

Its exhibits are one of a kind in Germany: the museum deals with embalming, cemeteries and mourning in society. And it quickly becomes clear that dealing with the end of life doesn’t have to be a grotesque affair. From the Middle Ages to today, you can learn a lot about how the German-speaking world dealt with graves, coffins and how they approached death as a society.

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Henschelgarden at the Weinberg

That said, you do need to prepare yourself to view the various rites and customs exhibit, but a visit is really worth it.
The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00am to 5:00pm (open until 8:00pm on Wednesdays).

By the way, those who have already made their way to the museum should look directly next door in the “Henschelgarten”. From this garden, you have a great view over the Weinberg and out over the southern part of the city.

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Solar Power International 2012

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SMA America successfully presented its newest innovations at Solar Power International 2012. The SMA America team was present at its main trade show in Orlando, Florida during the week of September 10, visiting with solar’s best and brightest.

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Small Talk in the Train or Seeing Kassel Through Different Eyes

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Saturday morning. A warm, sunny day – perfect for going in to town, checking out the shops, enjoying the post-dOCUMENTA feel of the city and savoring a bagel with cinnamon and sugar at the “Coffee & Bagel Store”. That was my plan when I woke up on Saturday and I got started right away in making it a reality. Dressed lightly, with a flowing dress, shirt and sunglasses, I made my way to the nearest tram stop hearing towards downtown Kassel.

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Look at the Wilhelmshöher Allee.

Dreamily and satisfied, I sat in the tram and was enjoying my day when suddenly, “wow, would ya look at that mansion. How amazing is that?” said a young woman, maybe early twenties, who was sitting across from me with her boyfriend or brother or male friend. By mansion, she meant the Red Cross building which we were just passing. I had to smile, but was just able to catch a glimpse of the “mansion” she was talking about. And yes, she was right that the building is exquisite, with its red facade, the two towers and impressive entry. With its grand park, it really could be mansion. The old mansion of an influential noble and his family. The girl's room in the left tower, the boy's room in the right tower. Finely dressed women in long Baroque dresses and intricately done hair strolling through the grounds, drinking tea…

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Engineer schoolof the kassel university.

“What, and that's supposed to be the university?”… Which jolted me out of my dream about the noble family at the Red Cross. The girl across from me was glued to the window watching the school of engineering building go past.

Onward Towards Downtown

Then, „what is that for a cute little thing?“ Me: a cute little thing? What does she mean by that? The girl, with her nose glued to the window pane again (she was starting to leave a mark), was marveling at the Torwache (those of you wondering where this „cute little thing“ is located, it's across from the Hessisches Landesmuseum at Brüder-Grimm-Platz). „She's right, in a way, that it's a cute little thing.“ So small, in fact, that I usually just pass by without even noticing it.

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The town hall of kassel.

The tram traveled on towards the next stop, which was City Hall, where things really got going. Her eyes weren't sure where to look first. But this time her boyfriend, or brother or male friend who had remained quiet until now, started getting excited, too. „Look how big! And the golden lion. Look how beautiful the flowers are!“ As if out of a clicheé, there were three Asians (no joke!!!) standing in front of City Hally having their picture taken at the exact moment we arrived. „Oh, let's take a picture, too“ was the last thing I heard from them before they stumbled out of the tram and were gone.

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“What do you mean you like living there?” – Kassel Nordstadt

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The Kasseler Nordstadt. This is a point over which new residents in Kassel, Kassel natives and Kassel natives with long family histories in the city easily start to disagree about. Some think it's a useless neighborhood while others think it's an area where you can live very well. We'll explore why I belong to the ladder school of thought in this article.

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So much green in the park.

But first to the facts: in comparison to other areas Nord-Holland, as Nordstadt is officially named, is a socially underprivileged area. About one in four to one in five is unemployed. At the same time, a number of large factories have moved into the area, which have left traces especially in the northernmost sections of Nordstedt. A little further south is the largest school in Kassel, the Elisabeth-Knipping Vocational Training Center. In the southern part is also the Kassel University whose large expansion project will swallow even more space than the current campus already does.

Colorful Neighborhood
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Graffiti-art at theHall of Fame Liebigstraße

The mix is what makes this neighborhood attractive to me. You notice in the bars, of which there are many, that there is a variety of people here. You can really experience the multicultural flair during big events such as the spring festival at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof or during the late-summer Mind the Gap Festival in Nordstadtpark. There are many good Turkish bakeries, too. Students from all over the world come together to bring the university campus to life. There's a real sense of community in the streets and parks here in summer, the Nordstadtpark is used very often for grilling, especially by students. An active neighborhood in the truest sense of the word. 🙂

My Tips for Going Out

“Café Hurricane” has great food: cakes for a decent price and a nice outdoor area with good breakfasts. The Nordstadtpark and the Kulturzentrum Schlachthof are also directly across the way. It's nice to sit and talk late into the night here.

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Art centre Schlachthof

“Café Nordpol”, located just around the corner from the university, has great breakfast. The baguettes are really worth a try.

Concerts and other cultural events routinely take place at the “Kulturzentrum Schlachthof”, as you might guess from the name. Many international and still-undiscovered artists perform here as well.

For those who like to watch soccer, check out the “Bei Ali” bar and döner shop. The owner is a St. Pauli fan and the Nordstadt locals come here to watch league games as well as to eat and drink.

Punk Rock and things in that direction can be heard later at night at “Mutter”. This cult bar/club opens pretty late and stands apart with its inexpensive drink prices and unusual decoration inside.

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“Enormous Potential”

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An interview with Pierre-Pascal Urbon, speaker of the Managing Board, discussing the state of the energy market, the potential of renewable energy sources and an independent household energy supply.

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