At the beginning of December, leading representatives from the fields of solar, storage technology and the digital economy met at the Digital Solar & Storage conference in Munich, an event organized by SolarPower Europe. This was the first time the event had been held and it provided an impressive insight into the digitalization of the energy supply.
The industry is currently characterized by a spirit of optimism – and nowhere was this more apparent than at the event in Munich. Whether established electric utility companies or brand-new start-ups, the participants all agreed that digitalization calls for whole new concepts and approaches. And it was especially interesting to see just how far into the future some of the start-ups are already looking — in some cases completely unfettered from the realities of today. I can’t wait to see how the situation develops and whether any of their visions will ever come to pass.
Thesis 1: Platforms are indispensable
An impressive aspect for me was the strong consensus that the complexity of the new digital and decentralized energy world and the challenges that they pose for us cannot be tackled by lone wolves – rather, experts active in a whole range of areas and working in a platform-based environment need to join forces. This consensus defined the mood of the two-day event and the intensive sharing of knowledge and information among the visitors.
Thesis 2: Connecting energy generators and consumers is key
Everyone – from electric utility companies and hardware producers to brand-new companies – agreed that services such as energy monitoring and management will play a decisive role. Solutions for the prosumers of tomorrow and the resulting integration and coupling of different energy generators, consumers and storage systems are the key to success in the new energy world. And this is exactly the thinking behind SMA’s new platform ennexOS, which was successfully showcased at Digital Solar & Storage.
Thesis 3: Innovative storage solutions enable additional business models
Storage solutions will also have an important role in tomorrow’s energy supply. They will make solar and other renewable energy controllable and available at all times. In addition, storage systems are able to provide frequency response, voltage control and reactive power services in smart grids thus providing for additional business models for prosumers.
To be continued at E-World
So, in summary, Digital Solar & Storage was an exciting event that acted as a cross-sector hub for numerous participants from a range of industries and that further advanced discussion on the energy supply of tomorrow. I’m now really looking forward to the next big event, E-World, which runs from February 6–8, 2018 in Essen. I hope to see you there.
Jochen Schneider (guest author)
Jochen is a Business Administration graduate and has many years of experience as a corporate consultant. Over the past ten years, he has specialized in the development of business models and sales strategies focusing on renewable energies, decentralized energy management and digital technologies for the energy industry. Since October 2017, Jochen has been responsible for SMA’s newly founded Energy Services unit.