Finalists for “The smarter E Award 2024” have been announced

Pioneering solutions for a renewable round-the-clock energy supply

The finalists for each category of “The smarter E Awards 2024” have been announced

The energy industry is currently undergoing a radical transformation worldwide. Renewable energies have become increasingly economical in recent years and are now the most cost-effective solution for generating electricity. At the same time, expansion is becoming ever faster and the technologies ever more sophisticated. As a result, renewables are now in the fast lane. Visionary companies are making a major contribution to this development with their advanced technologies, ideas and concepts. The best new developments have been nominated for “The smarter E Award 2024”. The award is presented in five categories: Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, E-Mobility, Smart Integrated Energy and Outstanding Projects.

Europe's largest trade fair alliance for the energy industry unites the four trade fairs Intersolar Europe, “ees Europe”, “Power2Drive Europe” and EM-Power Europe at “The smarter E Europe 2024”.

The solar industry under the sign of more performance and innovation

The finalists in the Photovoltaics category highlight the trends in the solar industry. The trend towards higher output per surface area and larger module surfaces is continuing. Manufacturers are increasingly relying on Top-Con technology and developing it further as back-contact solar cells. The number of PV modules with a uniform and dark appearance is increasing. At the same time, there are new approaches to reducing power losses in the event of partial shading. In addition to classic modules, solutions are being developed for new application areas such as roll-up awnings with integrated solar cells. Furthermore, fast, cost-effective measurement 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 include the expected tandem technology.

The trend towards higher outputs is also continuing for inverters, with a focus on high efficiency, advanced grid services and simple configurability. In the home storage sector, hybrid inverters that can connect a battery storage system in addition to a PV system are widespread on the market. The ability to supply emergency power in the event of a grid failure has become widely accepted. In terms of fastenings, there is a trend towards building integration and optimization of mounting solutions for different roof coverings. Standardized PV connectors and innovative solutions to make operational data acquisition more secure by rebooting the router in the event of a freeze or crash, as well as drone monitoring, facilitate the installation and maintenance of PV systems.

The finalists in the Photovoltaics category

  • Aiko Energy (China) with the Aiko ABC modules
  • ArcelorMittal Construction (France) with the Helioroof 
  • Euronergy (Netherlands) with the flexible PV modules with U-IBC solar cells
  • Institute for Solar Energy Research ISFH + Aerial PV Inspection (Germany) with the LIEL analysis method
  • Nexwafe (Germany) with the Epinex wafers
  • PV Case (Lithuania) with the PV Case software suite
  • Shenzhen Hopewind Electric (China) with the HSHV385L-G02 string inverter
  • SMA Solar Technology (Germany) with the Sunny Central Flex platform
  • Solar Materials (Germany) with a patented recycling technology
  • Wavelabs Solar Metrology Systems (Germany) with the Sinus-3000 Pro measuring system

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

In the Energy Storage category, the finalists tackle the challenges of installation. In the home storage sector, there is a trend towards systems with less depth, resulting in a smaller footprint. Many systems are also suitable for outdoor installation. The typical operating range limit for some systems has been raised from 2,000 meters above sea level to 4,000 meters. In the case of large storage systems, five megawatt hours and more can now be stored in a 20-foot container. One manufacturer even allows two such containers on top of each other, resulting in more than 700 kilowatt hours of storage capacity per square meter of floor space.

In the past, the short storage duration, i.e. high C rates, was often relevant for peak load capping, for example, but now more systems are showing charging/discharging times of four hours and more, including iron redox flow batteries and a positional energy storage system. Thanks to bidirectional AC coupling, storage systems for balcony power plants can now also be installed indoors without a cable feed-through and can absorb the energy fed into the outdoor socket by the balcony power plant via the AC grid and feed it in at different times. The integration of flexible electricity tariffs for storage charging and options for bidirectional vehicle charging are increasingly becoming part of the system concepts. Storage technology is moving strongly in the direction of lithium iron phosphate cells. Smaller systems are also being equipped with additional safety features.

The finalists in Energy Storage

  • Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) (China) with the Enerx DC Containerized Bess 5.64 MWh battery system
  • Cubenergy (China) with the comprehensive utility-scale storage system Power Combo-20C2H1600K
  • Enphase Energy (USA) with the IQ Battery 5P, which uses six microinverters to provide AC power
  • ESS Tech (USA) with the utility-scale storage Energy Center
  • Hager Energy (Germany) with the Edison V2H charging station
  • Jackery Technology (USA) with the Jackery Navi 2000 small-scale storage system
  • Pfannenberg Europe (Germany) with the vibration-proof cooling unit Compact Chiller VLV12
  • Sigenergy Technology Co., Ltd. (China) with the Sigen Stor battery storage system
  • Sonnen (Germany) with the “sonnenPro FlexStack” commercial storage system
  • Trina Storage (China) with the highly integrated Trina Storage Elementa 2 energy storage system

Electromobility: the latest developments in energy conversion

The finalists for 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 the converters of DC charging stations, which promises increased efficiency and performance. The focus is also on dynamic matrix circuits of DC power units for connecting dispensers, which promise improved flexibility and reliability. The integration of DC bus systems with the option of integrating energy storage systems and photovoltaic systems represents a step towards a comprehensive energy center and is a response to the sometimes costly expansion of the grid.

The finalists in the e-mobility category

  • Autel Europe (Germany) with the DC fast charging solution Maxi Charger DC Hi Power
  • Designwerk Technologies (Switzerland) with the mobile DC fast charger Mobile DC Fast Charger 88-920
  • Designwerk Technologies (Switzerland) with the battery-buffered megawatt charging station
  • Eco G (Germany) with the Connect switching matrix
  • Huawei Digital Power (China) with Fusion Charge, the HPC solution with internal liquid cooling
  • Road (Netherlands) with the Road Private Label software-as-a-service solution
  • Solar Paint by Apollo Power (Israel) with the flexible solar modules for heavy commercial vehicles
  • Vector Informatik (Germany) with the software and hardware solution “vCharM”
  • X Charge Europe (Germany) with the all-in-one DC charging station Net Zero Series (NZS)

More flexibility, stabilization and efficiency

The finalists in the Smart Integrated Energy category demonstrate the trends in the energy sector towards the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) for the marketing of storage systems for integrating renewable energy into the grid. AI-based systems use historical data to predict future energy generation and consumption or to charge and discharge battery storage systems accordingly - depending on demand and market price. At the same time, dynamic electricity tariffs are becoming increasingly important for private customers, allowing consumers to react more flexibly to market price fluctuations. In addition, battery ageing is increasingly being monitored in order to optimize the service life of battery storage systems. These trends are helping to stabilize energy grids, increase efficiency and promote renewable energies.

Finalists in the Smart Integrated Energy category

  • Cyber Grid (Germany) with the software-as-a-service solution Cyber Noc for more flexibility
  • Delfos - Intelligence Asset Management (Spain) with the Delfos software platform
  • Dvlp.energy (Germany) with the online tool “dvlp.energy” for planning tasks
  • Entrix (Germany) with the AI-driven platform for analyzing market data and price forecasts
  • Off-Grid Europe (Germany) with the complete Much Cooler solution for cooling food in off-grid regions
  • Pionierkraft (Germany) with an energy sharing solution
  • Solar Edge (Israel) with the AI-based energy optimization system Solar Edge One
  • Suena (Germany) with the “suena.autopiltot”, a digital twin of large-scale battery storage systems
  • The Mobility House (Germany) with the software for battery commercialization

“The smarter E Award 2024” for outstanding solutions in the field of renewable energies

Finalists in the Outstanding Projects category

In the Outstanding Projects category, the finalists stand out with outstanding solutions and products that have been integrated into a global renewable energy project. From sector coupling to decentralized energy systems, from photovoltaics to storage and hydrogen to grid and mobility, these finalists stand out for their pioneering achievements and visionary solutions:

  • “3SUN” (Italy) with the Gigafactory in Catania, Sicily, Italy
  • Beijing Hyper Strong Technology (China) with the wind, PV and energy storage project in Fuyang, Anhui
  • Boreal Light (Germany) with Europe's largest solar desalination plant in Ukraine
  • Calb Group (China) with China's largest grid-side energy storage power plant
  • Huawei Digital Power (China) with the world's largest hydroelectric solar power plant in the Yalong River Basin
  • IO-Dynamics (Germany) with the intelligent charging solution project “Last-Mile-Electrification”
  • Longi Solar Technology (China) with the pilot project for the production of green hydrogen
  • Max Solar (Germany) with the Bundorf innovation project
  • Red Sea Global (Saudi Arabia) with a tourism resort powered by renewable electricity
  • Siemens (Germany) with the intelligent power distribution project for the Infinity Tower in Lisbon

The winners of “The smarter E Award 2024” will be honored on the evening before the trade fair on June 18. The smarter E Europe will take place in Munich from June 19 to 21, 2024.