Greenbuddies tips – May 2020

 I want to build a PV park: Quote me the price for  1 MW till tomorrow

In short,  this is the most common demand we receive on an everyday basis. In this short 4 part article series I would like to explore how an offer for the client is prepared and what tasks it contains. Today we start with ground mounting – general conditions, UK and modules, and in the next articles we will focus on roofs and then on DC and AC parts.

Speaking about ground projects, first of all we need to know the following info: where is the location? Secondly, we ask how far the preparations for development are. Has the client already asked for the construction permission, has the client already prepared the budget? Do we have some preliminary plans? Have the soil tests already been done? Is there good access to the ground? We can start to prepare the first steps based on the answers to these questions: to propose preliminary layout to find out if the space is sufficient; which modules are best to use – bigger or smaller?

Since the modules are the biggest part of the budget every penny counts. What is the best quality x price ratio? How are the modules delivered on the site? To the Harbor? Are the duties and taxes paid by the seller or the buyer? Which construction will be the best option with respect to the soil report and shall the modules be placed horizontally or vertically? This affects how the stringing will be done and how much cable will be needed. Also the orientation of the modules affects the production, because of the shading. The construction is usually rammed, but sometimes this is not possible. Then the predrill is needed and the post must be concreted. The particular dimensions and different solutions from different producers also affect how time consuming the mounting itself will be. I may have saved a little bit on material, but if the workers need twice as much time to build it, then I haven’t saved a dime.
Therefore it is always necessary to clear all the questions at the beginning so that we can propose and deliver the best solution that best meets the customers’ expectations. If the customer is happy, then we can all be satisfied with our work, and it gives you the energy to do your job with joy.

New direction in electric motors manufacturing in Germany

In this issue of our newsletter we shall take a look at one of the R&D trends that should make the future electric vehicles more affordable to broader audiences.

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are working on making the production of electric motors in Germany more economical. The aim of the “Agilo Drive” research project is an adaptable production system that is based on modular product and production-specific technologies. In this way researchers strive to enable to produce electric motors so flexibly in the future that a wide variety of variants, technologies and quantities can be produced at any time – while keeping the operation very economical. This also means that cost-saving effects could also be used across different product series and manufacturing technologies.

The rationale of the project is the increasing sales of electric cars. So far, however, electric motors have either been manufactured in small numbers and with low productivity or the production processes have been inflexible. In addition, various teams of experts are often responsible for the production of individual areas without transfer to the other areas. Therefore, the efforts have not been weel coordinated.
In the Agilo Drive, the researchers are developing new product kits and production technologies together with business partners.

With its modular structure, uniform interfaces and scaling concepts the production system should react flexibly to changing market and technology requirements. This also reduces the entrepreneurial risk. Medium-sized machine and plant manufacturers and suppliers in particular would benefit from the adaptable production system on the electric car market.
Cooperation with business partners allows a direct transfer of knowledge into industry. The individual production processes would be checked technically and economically. The aim is also to quickly apply the solutions in other self-financed projects. The key to the economic success of this flexible production approach is clearly an agile production system based on an integrated product development. The Ministry of Economics, Labor and Housing Baden-Württemberg is funding the pilot phase of the project with around 1 million euros and the pilot phase is foreseen for one year. Let’s wait and see if this interesting initiative shall produce the desired fruit which eventually will be put in practice for the benefit of future electromotorists.

Presenting a subcontractor – Coonect, s.r.o.

We have already started introducing subcontractors  Company Greenbuddis has been cooperating with for a long time.
Effective cooperation is a prerequisite for our success. It allows us to set  expectations on both sides. Coonect has completed several of our great projects including several plans in Malta. The Coonect team has remained isolated in Malta since February.
I asked Mr. Stanislav Páviš a couple of questions:

Greenbuddies: Mr. Páviš, when did you start to work with PV?

Mr. Páviš: We started with construction already in  2007 with several installations in the Czech Republic. The very first project was 4.7 MWp in Louny in Northern Bohemia. I have fond memories of this time. We thought the work with renewable energy sources would be easier in the Czech Republic. We worked together with Greenbuddies since two years ago in the Netherlands near the city of Andjik. Then we started the next project and our cooperation graduated to tens of MW.

Greenbuddies: What difficulties do you usually encounter when you  build in Malta?

Mr. Páviš: We started to build a PV construction in Malta  last year. We built one installation with 2.4 MWp for Greenbudddies and this successful installation resulted in the next project which was 5.2 MWp and took place this year. The construction in Malta employs the so-called “Treesystem” (www.treesystem.it), which enables us to operate in difficult conditions and with a thiner layer of soil – for example: landfill covered with plastic foil which amounts to 40 cm of topsoil.
We managed to become proficient using this type of construction and we are able to work effectively in a difficult terrain. Due to the fact that the Treesystem is not anchored deep in the ground, when there is stronger wind we have to stop not only the laying of the PV panels, but also work on the constructions. And we could start to work again only once the wind calms down.

Greenbuddies: What country do you prefer to work in and why?

Mr. Páviš: Nowadays we prefer to operate in the Netherlands because the customer construction supervision approach is really a practical one. However our most favourite construction of 1 MWp took place 10years ago in Macedonia. It was built at the time of generous subsidies and in a beautiful environment.

Greenbuddies: What do you do when you have  free time?

Mr. Páviš: I have a military motorcycle (war veteran) with a sidecar just waiting for me to start renovating it in my garage. Every time I’m home, I jump on the renovation but quickly have to abandon it again. This kind of hobby requires more time which I don’t have as I often travel for work.