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Spelsberg Enclosure Solutions Offer Experience to the UK Photovoltaics Market
- Published: Wednesday, 31 August 2011 11:40
As energy costs continue to increase, and environmental concerns grow throughout the general population, research and investment in renewable energy technologies is at an all time high.
Probably one of the most efficient and popular of the new energies is solar power; while this technology has been used for many years in a number of European countries, in the UK it is a young industry. Despite recent changes to the government feed-in tariff, small and large scale investment is expected to continue to increase in the UK. UK installers, therefore, are clamouring to find suppliers with industry experience who can reliably supply the UK market.
Over the last three years interest in photovoltaic (PV) technology has grown significantly in the UK; solar panels can be seen on the roofs of both large and small businesses, as well as many private homes. However, in Germany, solar power has been making significant contributions to the national grid for over 20 years. There, it is a large industry with many specialist suppliers that have developed products which are ideal for the changeable, exterior locations in which PV installations are, by definition, located.
Spelsberg ELS, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of electrical enclosures, has been working with the photovoltaics industry in Germany since the early 1990s. Originally supplying enclosures that provided superior levels of protection from the harsh environments, as the company became more experienced in the industry it began to develop products designed specifically for PV technology. As a result Spelsberg is now the leading European manufacturer of PV-designed enclosures, offering a full range of products supported by a large, dedicated development team.
Alfred Vrieling, Spelsberg’s head of Business Development for Europe, comments: “Spelsberg has been involved in the PV market since the technology was in its infancy. This puts us in a fantastic position to be able to act as partners to our customers in technological development. Our expertise has allowed us to understand the different requirements for PV and as such develop a range of products that is specialised to this technology. We are now responsible for the supply of enclosures for many large projects spanning the whole of Europe.”
Throughout Germany, and other European countries such as Spain and France, Spelsberg has been involved in many large photovoltaic installations, including the large PV fields that can provide up to 70 MW of electricity (enough for over 16,000 homes). This has given it the expertise to act as a partner, as well as a supplier, to PV installers; working closely with them to develop customised products that fit exact application requirements.
Every product is subjected to a battery of tests, to evaluate more than 20 quality-related parameters, including weather resistance, UV protection and to ensure that heat dissipation is achieved; products are then awarded the necessary certification, ensuring the client receives fully compliant products.
The popularity of Spelsberg’s PV range of enclosures is self-evident; it has grown to become one of the three pillars that the company is based around and has recently seen investment that included expansion into its own production facility in Germany.
When compared to the rest of Europe’s leading economic powers, the UK’s PV industry is extremely young, however since the government feed-in tariff was introduced in April last year there has been a significant increase in investment by both businesses and individuals. Despite a recent announcement declaring alterations to this tariff, the technology appears to have sunk into the nation’s psyche as environmental consciousness has become more prevalent in society, and industry experts expect investment to continue at all levels.
As the UK catches up to the rest of Europe there is an opportunity for UK based installers to find overseas investments for larger projects. However, to compete with the European PV markets it is essential that they find suppliers that can be relied upon to deliver quality products, suitable to the PV market, which can be delivered in short lead times and are competitively priced.
Spelsberg UK, the leading supplier of enclosure solutions and ex-stock products in the UK, is perfectly positioned to provide support to the PV industry. With its large warehouse based in the Midlands and dedicated sales team, installers benefit from the combined service levels expected of a UK supplier and expertise of company with over two decades experience of developing technologies for the industry.
Chris Lloyd, UK Sales and Marketing Manager, adds: “We have a very close relationship with Spelsberg in Germany. This means that as investment increases in the UK we are able to borrow from the vast experience that the company has developed to provide a level of product knowledge that is unrivalled in the UK. Our R&D department is actively developing the technology to fit with the UK market and we are already advising on a number of large projects that are being planned.”
It is currently working with a number of customers on projects ranging in size across the UK, this has allowed it to identify ways in which the UK market differs from other countries and customise its service to installers here; it is working to develop a UK specific PV range to account for the different regulations including a string-fused PV enclosure.
As with all of its products, Spelsberg offers in-house CNC modification and a full customisation service for all of its enclosures, enabling its products to be tailored cost-effectively to meet specific application requirements. Modifications can include anything from milling, drilling and engraving to custom cable entries, brand logos or simple instructions.
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