Energy blogger visits inverter manufacturer SMA

After the bloggers’ meeting at Intersolar 2012 and the Barcamp Renewables, the social media team of the inverter manufacturer SMA again took the initiative and invited energy bloggers to a bloggers’ day at the company’s headquarters in Kassel-Niestetal. We were able to see the well-known bloggers again and also get to know some new energy bloggers. Nice to see the community growing and growing together. That was also one of the goals of the day.

But first there was plenty of information about the world market leader in photovoltaic inverters. The Chairman of the Board, Pierre-Pascal Urbon, welcomed us personally and presented the company’s product strategy. The difficulty here is the market in Europe, which is declining for the first time. For 2013, a minus of almost 20% is expected here. This decline is offset by strong growth in Asia, especially in China and Japan, and in North America. In order to be able to withstand the difficult market conditions in the long term, SMA will further increase the budget for research and development this year to EUR 120 million – ten percent of the sales of 2012. In connection with the high quality standards and a look at the price pressure of the market it seems to me this to be the right strategy, even better than blaming all problems on politics.

What was new for me was the presentation of the PV-diesel hybrid system for use in off-grid areas, especially in Africa or Australia. This system, which is also available in the megawatt range, is already economical due to the increased prices for diesel and a climate-friendly alternative to electricity in regions without a grid connection.

The presentation of a compact photovoltaic storage system with a capacity of 2 kWh was also very interesting for me, in line with numerous articles on battery storage last year. I will definitely write a separate post about this. The presentation of the energy management system for private households, the Sunny Home Manager, was again very interesting, especially the future integration of electromobility. I had already talked to Christian Höhle about this topic in the podcast, but I would be happy to take it up again if you are interested.

Networking of energy bloggers

For the bloggers, the most important topic was at the end, after the tour of the SMA test center. The question of how we can speak more with one voice was important for everyone. The opponents of the energy transition also speak with one voice and are therefore more noticed. Should one lean towards existing organizations? It’s difficult because we all have to agree with these organizations or alliances. Bloggers are all different, everyone has a different focus or

At least when it came to the goal, we quickly agreed that we want the energy turnaround for the citizens or a citizen energy turnaround. Our goal is not the energy turnaround of the big energy suppliers, which is sure to fail. We want to involve the local people at the base.

The result will be a kind of central blogroll on a new website and a common hashtag, what a surprise: #Energiewende. For coordination and as a central point of contact, we are setting up a closed Google+ community, which is open to all energy bloggers who agree with the above-mentioned goal. We will see what happens then, in any case there are more bloggers who can help and support each other, a very important point.

The next date is Intersolar 2013 in Munich, where SMA will once again invite you to a meeting. I can’t say at the moment whether I’ll go there myself.

Finally, the issue of funding was addressed. This is an important topic for all bloggers, because each of us works almost purely out of commitment, hardly any of us earn money from blogging. But there is a lot of work that we all put into this and we need advertising partners, sponsors, donations or even completely new advertising concepts.

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