Michael Lippert, of Saft’s Energy Storage System business, outlines how Li-ion energy storage systems are helping domestic PV producers to enjoy the benefits of self-consumption

As solar photovoltaic (PV) installations have grown in popularity in Germany, there has been a corresponding increase in ‘self-consumption’, in which the producer uses as much of their own produced electricity as possible, rather than feeding it in to the grid. Solar PV accounted for almost one tenth of the country’s renewable energy supply in 2013 and Germany is one of the world’s top markets for solar energy today, with the cost of generating PV power being lower than the retail price for electricity.

Germany is just one of many countries that has been encouraging self-consumption

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) in conjunction with National Electrotechnical Training (NET) has launched the Building Controls Professional Assessment (BCPA), an assessment of occupational competence for apprentices and practicing operatives in the controls industry.


With legislation affecting many aspects of the construction industry and projects becoming increasingly larger and more complicated, the need for flexibility, speed of installation and compliance with the most recent regulations are vital considerations when deciding on which products to use for building developments.  Paul Dawson, of ESP, looks at how analogue addressable fire alarm systems are providing a solution for larger premises with more complex system requirements and also examines the recent legislation that is impacting on all construction products.


Installing new or additional rack systems can be a time consuming exercise even under ideal circumstances. Whether it’s a single unit for an office or one hundred for a complete data centre; manhandling 42U cabinets into position can be tricky. This is why a number of manufacturers have launched flat-pack solutions into the market. However, do the savings really add up and what are the additional benefits? Alan Lewis, business development manager for Retex UK, explains the differences between some of the flat pack solutions on the market, and the savings that can be made


Good progress is being made in developing the equipment and techniques needed for testing and faultfinding on the latest undersea power cables, says Peter Herpertz of Megger. Nevertheless, he believes the operators of these cables, if they are to consistently achieve high reliability and minimise the potentially crippling costs that result from downtime, will need to make a much larger investment in test technology


In recent years, cable management has come into the limelight because even though robots have become more complex, machine reliability has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, the methods used to attach and guide cables have not quite followed suit. While managing cables and hoses is often an afterthought in most designs, it is truly a vital part of any well-functioning robot. Justin Leonard, director at igus, explains

Dr Lore Grohmann of Wilson Power Solutions explains how modern super low loss amorphous supply transformers can significantly improve the energy efficiency of small power distribution networks; outline how the technology has already helped organisations across a wide range of sectors reduce operating costs and improve infrastructure in one single step and why this approach is delivering a cost effective, future proof solution

For most professionals tasked with improving energy efficiency of their organisations, improving control, measurement and efficiency of operating plant within their buildings will be the main center of attention. As a result of focusing on what is happening on the inside, a cost effective, future proof and straight forward energy efficiency measure is often overlooked: Improving a site’s supply infrastructure.

As the AM2 approaches its 30th anniversary, Iain Macdonald, Chief Executive of NET, discusses the history of the assessment and its links to the industry

It's hard to believe the AM2 has been a part of our industry for 30 years. During this time, it has been recognised by the sector as the standard assessment of occupational competence for all aspiring electrical installation professionals. It serves as our version of the driving test, delivering a final competence check for anyone looking to enter the sector and call themselves a qualified electrician.

Switchgear is one of the key components of any electrical power system – and its operating condition is vital to system reliability. In general, of course, switchgear has a proven record of reliability and performance. However if things were to go wrong, they could do so in a big way!

The UK Health & Safety Executive has identified mechanical failure, insulation failure and contacts overheating as the most common cause of operational malfunctions – and has described in graphic terms how “… results may be catastrophic: tanks may rupture and in the case of oil-filled switchgear, can result in the ejection of burning oil and gas clouds, causing death or serious injury and major damage to plant and buildings in the vicinity of the failed equipment”. ¹

Like so many technology-based industries, lighting has seen some significant changes in recent years, supporting the need for a more systematic approach to lighting specification. Richard Strode, managing director of Tridonic, explains

Of course, changes in lighting technology are nothing new; they have been happening since before the invention of the candle. The pace of change, however, has increased dramatically, as evidenced by the rapid growth of LED technologies in lighting in just the last few years.

Figures released by the Environment Agency show the UK has achieved a year on year increase in lamp recycling rates since 2008, the first full year of the WEEE regulations. But at the same time, changes to the WEEE regulations mean recorded rates are likely to drop in 2014 and beyond. Nigel Harvey, chief executive of Recolight reviews the statistics and the consequences for stakeholders in the electrical industry

Figures released by the Environment Agency show the UK has achieved a year on year increase in lamp recycling rates since 2008, the first full year of the WEEE regulations. But at the same time, changes to the WEEE regulations mean that recorded rates are likely to drop in 2014 and beyond. Nigel Harvey, chief executive of Recolight reviews the statistics and the consequences for stakeholders in the electrical industry

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