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Markus Elsässer, Managing Director of Solar Promotion GmbH, a co-organiser of Intersolar Europe

Interview with Markus Elsässer, Managing Director of Solar Promotion GmbH

Intersolar Europe - door opener for new markets

“Grid integration” and “electricity storage” are the focal topics of the Intersolar Europe 2012 which takes place in Munich from 13th to 15th of June. New developments in the field of short-, medium- and long-term storage of electricity will be highlighted, including power-to-gas and hydrogen-based processes which function as long-term storage applications. Besides the technological side of the Intersolar Europe, the fair is steadily gaining importance as a “door opener” for new markets in and outside Europe. In an interview with Dr. Tanja Anette Glootz, International Trade News, Markus Elsässer, Managing Director of Solar Promotion GmbH, Pforzheim and co-organiser of Intersolar Europe, explains why the international orientation of Intersolar Europe offers an additional value to companies of the solar business.

ITN: “Mr. Elsässer, the Intersolar Europe Trade Fair is already casting its shadow. What are your expectations as far as the number of exhibitors and visitors are concerned? Could you compare these figures to those of the previous years?”

Markus Elsässer: “About 2,000 exhibitors from all over the world are expected which is a slight decrease in comparison to last year. The number of trade visitors will amount to nearly 80,000 people from 150 different countries. Additionally, we are counting on 2,500 participants and 400 speakers who will attend the accompanying Intersolar Conference and its side events. We are looking forward to an exciting, internationally focused and well-rounded Intersolar Europe.”

ITN: “Have you perceived any effects of the crisis of the solar industry in Germany during the fair preparations?”

Markus Elsässer: “The solar industry has built up significant overcapacities in some fields, especially in photovoltaics. A period of consolidation has, therefore, been foreseeable. Of course, the additional cuts to feed-in tariffs are accelerating this development in Germany. Our trade fair mirrors the global market situation, and we are affected by the recent developments. Insolvencies have occurred and some companies are facing difficulties with financing. But the crisis of the solar industry is not restricted to the German market. In China, market adjustment is looming ahead to mention just one example. But as a leading international trade fair, we certainly have a clear advantage compared to other events, and we look at the statistics with contentment.”

ITN: “This year’s trade fair is focused on grid integration and electricity storage. Could you name some of the product highlights as well as their functions?”

Markus Elsässer: “Exciting developments will be presented in the field of energy management, for instance in combining battery storage with photovoltaic and fuel cells. In general, short- to long-term storage of electricity or solutions for individual energy consumption are worth being discovered. Furthermore, the special show PV ENERGY WORLD presents the latest technological advances in photovoltaics and corresponding solutions. Another special exhibition concentrates on photovoltaics and mobility in the field of which grid integration and electricity storage play important roles, too. Together with our partners we will show various mobility concepts and present PV carports, charging stations and electric vehicles, which will, of course, be available for a test ride.”

ITN: “Further internationalisation and striving for new markets will become increasingly important for the solar industry in the future. One of those high-potential target markets is derived from the goal ´Sustainable energy for all´, which is being promoted by the United Nations and the European Union. Are such trends being taken into consideration at Intersolar Europe 2012?”

Markus Elsässer: “Current topics and trends referring to the development of markets worldwide will be discussed at the accompanying Intersolar Europe Conference from 11 to 14 June 2012. The European markets will be highlighted in the afternoon of the first day. Other sessions focus on the American or Asian markets. Political and legal backgrounds as well as regulatory and technological circumstances and possibilities for financing will be dealt with. Several presentations will cover the latest technologies and solutions as well as more general topics like grid integration and energy storage. Our objective is to adopt and to deepen the fair’s subjects.”

ITN: “Do you believe that the trade fair will continue to strengthen its focus on international markets beyond the European level?”

Markus Elsässer: “With a share of more than 50% of international exhibitors and visitors from 150 countries, the Intersolar Europe is the most international fair in the sector. We support further international exchange within the industry through other fairs and congresses such as the Intersolar North America in San Francisco, the Intersolar India in Mumbai and, starting in August 2012, the Intersolar South American Summit. There, we will start with a one-day conference, but the South American market has huge potential, and we are looking forward with eager anticipation to forthcoming developments. Companies surely benefit from our global presence because we are better positioned to integrate the challenges, strengths and trends of the local markets in the trade fair concept than we could be with one central event. The feedback of the exhibitors encourages us in driving innovative developments forward.”

ITN: “Mr. Elsässer, thank you for speaking with us.”

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