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At a time of rolling black-outs on the South African electricity grid, AdSolar was tasked with designing a power solution for 11 new homes in a luxury estate development in the Upper Highway area of Durban’s western suburbs. The goal was to provide power generation, delivery and security without compromising the homeowners’ lifestyle. Given the complexity of the project, AdSolar selected a solution from Schneider Electrics broad range of solar technologies to meet their client’s needs.

The costs of grid power in South Africa is ever increasing to allow utilities to maintain and expand their distribution networks and generation capacity. This increase in power costs in South Africa combined with deteriorating grid stability is pushing more consumers to want to take control and go off-grid.

AdSolar and Schneider Electric decided the best solution for this project would be to implement a centralized storage solutions using a nine unit Conext XW+ multi-cluster with 10 sources of decentralized power (AC coupled grid tied inverters).

Read our full case study to learn more about this project, and why the Conext XW+ hybrid inverter was chosen for this project.


  • Company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 1,018 tonnes per year
  • Plant to produce over 1.05 million units of electricity per year; help cut power costs by 20-25% annually


Gujarat, India, 28 July, 2017: Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, today announced the commissioning of a 720 kWp capacity solar power project at its manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat. The solar project, built on a rooftop area of 6,000 square meters, covers almost 45% of the total factory load and will produce over 1.05 million units of electricity per year which would help cut power costs by as much as 20-25% annually. Further, Schneider Electric will be able to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,018 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to planting 50,000 trees.

The project demonstrates Schneider Electric’s commitment towards green manufacturing in India. This is the second solar project commissioned by Schneider Electric at its manufacturing facility in India. In 2015, the company had installed a 120 kWp solar power plant at its Bangalore unit.

Speaking about Schneider Electric’s commitment to green manufacturing, Mr.  Anurag Garg, Vice President Solar & Energy Storage, Solar Business, Schneider Electric India, said, “India has set a target to increase the share of manufacturing to its GDP to 25% by 2025 from the current level of 16%. While this is a welcomed move, there is also a need to mitigate the environmental concerns that the country faces. It is imperative that the manufacturing sector uses energy and resources efficiently and minimizes its carbon footprint. This solar power project is our endeavour to provide a cleaner and greener environment to the community in Vadodara.”

Schneider Electric’s modernized solar harvesting technology will help the company to maximize the energy output from the available rooftop space at the Vadodara plant and ensure minimum load on the roof by using light-weight material for construction.

Speaking about the successful implementation, Mr. Vivek Sarwate, Vice-President, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric India  said, “With renewable energy taking centre stage in all discussions pertaining to reduction of carbon footprint, Schneider Electric is totally committed towards supporting the government mission with its expertise in the solar segment. The successful commissioning of this project is a testament to our efforts in making our own buildings efficient and is a step towards creating a New World of Energy that is more sustainable.”

The Design, Engineering, Procurement and Construction for the plant was done by Fourth Partner Energy, a leading rooftop solar solutions provider with over 500+ installations on Commercial & Industrial rooftops across 21 states in India.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€25 billion in FY2016, our 144,000 employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.

Climate change is one of those very difficult things to see first-hand, in that we need some form of historical reference and a clear link to warming. Further, the reference point needs to be visual and significant to have an impact. Sea level is one such reference, although in the clear majority of cases it moves so slowly that any reference to the past is almost impossible to discern. I lived in seaside areas on and off for several years in the 1970s and 1980s, but returning 30-40 years later offers little to no visual hint of change, even though change is underway.

I recently visited Chamonix in France where a very significant change is both underway and clearly visible. You can take the rack and pinion railway nearly a kilometre vertically from the town up to Montenvers, where the Mer de Glace glacier can be viewed and visited. This is the longest and largest glacier in France, and the second longest in the Alps. The scene from Montenvers, like much of the Alps, is beautiful, although the glacier itself is not easy to visualize in that its surface is largely covered with a dusting of debris from sides of the valley. Nevertheless, it is an imposing scene and more than worth the visit.

Glacier view

But this is just the beginning of the story. The glacier is shrinking rapidly, the first indication of which comes from the viewing sign that includes a dotted line showing the height of the glacier in 1820. The drop in height is very significant, but if that isn’t sufficient visualization of change, then a walk down a rocky path from Montenvers and then finally some 400+ steps to the glacier surface not only brings home the scale of change but also the rate – which appears to be accelerating.

Glacier sign

The first impression comes when the hiker arrives at the 1820 line, well above the current glacier. This is quite a sobering moment in that there is no sign of ice, just summer wildflowers and trees.

Chamonix 1820

This is just the first of many year signs, but the impression of acceleration comes lower down. Once the stairs are reached the first of several closely spaced signs appears, this one for 1990.

Chamonix 1990

Soon after that comes 2003 (bottom right corner of the picture) and then finally the surface of the glacier itself, which brings the hiker to 2017. The drop from 1990-2003 was sizable for 13 years, but seemed small compared to the 2003-2017 change (14 years). The first drops from 1820 to 1920 and then 1985 seemed smaller by comparison.

Chamonix 20032003 sign

The changes to the Mer de Glace have been widely recorded and written about, including an excellent report on the rate of decline based on Landsat satellite images. In its 5th Assessment report the IPCC noted the general demise of mountain glaciers as follows;

Despite their variability due to different response times and local conditions, the annually measured glacier terminus fluctuations from about 500 glaciers worldwide reveal a largely homogeneous trend of retreat. In Figure 4.9 (see below for the Central Europe extract), a selection of the available long-term records of field measurements is shown for 14 out of the 19 RGI regions. Cumulative values of retreat for large, land-terminating valley glaciers typically reach a few kilometres over the 120-year period of observation. For mid-latitude mountain and valley glaciers, typical retreat rates are of the order of 5 to 20 m/year. Rates of up to 100 m/year (or even more) are seen to occur under special conditions, such as the complete loss of a tongue on a steep slope, or the disintegration of a very flat tongue.

IPCC Central Europe

Cumulative length change in metres vs. year

Recognizing that the reasons for change for any given glacier can be many and varied, the global trend is very clear and Mer de Glace is one example of this. If you are in the region over the summer vacation period then a visit is highly recommended, with the bonus of being able to walk inside the glacier when you finally reach the surface, thanks to some ingenious tunneling by the local tourist authorities.

Inside Mer de Glace

As part of the international EEBUS Initiative, reputable manufacturers have joined forces to develop a uniform communication standard for all household electrical devices so that, in the future, energy consumption can be coordinated in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner. We have spoken to Frank Blessing, who sits on the board of this initiative, about the successes and challenges as well as what drives him personally to get engaged with this issue.


EEBUS as an international, uniform communication standard.

EEBUS as an international, uniform communication standard.

The goal of the EEBUS initiative is to develop a uniform communication standard for energy. How important it is to get all the players around the same table? 

When it comes to introducing new communication standards, partners are essential because overarching content and working applications can only be defined if all the parties involved work together. A standard cannot work without this cooperation. The EEBUS initiative offers companies the possibility of networking and exchanging ideas. Particularly in the context of the networking of intelligent appliances – both producers and consumers – this is becoming increasingly important. Leading companies in the energy industry have recognized this and are using networking to develop new application scenarios. They understand how important it is to work together so that they can offer their customers interesting, cross-industry solutions.

What can you say about the current status?

Especially in the past two years, we have seen great progress and achieved a number of milestones as pioneers in solutions that connect electricity, heat and transport. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has joined the EEBUS initiative and the first Plugfest for the integration of electric vehicles was a success. The leading manufacturers of heating systems, including Vaillant, Viessmann and Wolf Heiztechnik are also working intensively on implementing heating applications with the EEBUS standard and are already nearing production launches. Furthermore, together with SMA, BSH has created the first application for connecting household appliances (washing machines) and put it into production.

These examples show that EEBUS is no longer just a theory – it is now ready for the market. The short implementation periods for new applications are fantastic and the great cooperation between the companies involved in the EEBUS initiative is to thank for this.

What comes next? 

For 2017, the focus is on the integration of heating systems, such as heat pumps, in intelligent energy management. By the end of the year, it is expected that the first series production systems from various manufacturers will be able to communicate via EEBUS and be considered, for example, for the optimization of self-consumption. This will be followed by applications for the integration of electric vehicles in the utility grid. With regard to securing grid stability, the promotion of electric vehicles will involve great challenges, but it will also bring about opportunities and added value.

The SMA Sunny Home Manager 2.0 controls the energy flows of household generators and consumers.

The SMA Sunny Home Manager 2.0 controls the energy flows of household generators and consumers.

How is SMA contributing? 

As a founding member, SMA is a major driver of applications in the field of intelligent energy management in EEBUS and is involved in all the applications mentioned above with regard to energy management. With Sunny Home Manager 2.0 and the SMA Data Manager M, SMA has demonstrated that solutions for connecting the electricity, heat and transport sectors are already entering the market. The standardized integration of electric vehicles in energy management is a major success in the promotion and acceptance of e-mobility and a decisive step toward an all-electric society.

Which application are you personally most excited about?

Personally, I find the thought very exciting of, in the future, being able to use the energy from my electric car bidirectionally, to open up a whole host of new applications. Surplus energy from the utility grid can then, for example, be buffered in mobile storage systems and short-term energy demand can be covered by precisely these storage systems. Strictly speaking, we will not just be talking about individual applications in the future. With the trend toward an all-electric society, there is an increasing focus on interconnecting all generators and consumers, giving rise to an entire ecosystem.

Many thanks for this interview, Frank.


Frank Blessing is Senior Business Development Manager Energy Services at SMA. Since May 2017, he has been a member of the managemnt board of the EEBUS initiative.

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