Piracy problems are not new in the solar industry. The worst hit firms are those that are already known, well established and trusted on the market.
Dishonest entrepreneurs take undue advantage of the goodwill gained by others’ hard work and creativity by producing fake, low-quality PV (photo-voltaic) modules with a short lifetime and high degradation and market them under trustworthy brand names.
To tackle this worldwide challenge, German firm AE Solar has created a unique mobile app to check the authenticity of a PV module (colloquially referred to as solar panels). It does this by integrating NFC chips in all of its panels, allowing users to easily check their authenticity. This initiative sets an important worldwide precedent.
AE Solar has created a unique mobile app to check the authenticity of a PV module.
Just as important is the fact that the integration of this chip into every PV module does not affect its price, and is a valuable added benefit that customers get for free.
What it does
The innovation introduced by AE Solar, which makes high-quality PV modules, ensures that each of its partners and customers are guaranteed original product quality and warranty. Anyone with a smartphone can check in seconds the authenticity and origins of AE Solar’s products. The embedded NFC chip conveys all important information about the PV module almost immediately. It also allows the end consumer to interact with AE Solar, share his or her experience and get feedback from professionals. Directly communicating with the brand and tracking the panels using a cloud database is one of the great possibilities of this chip, which has an interactional system via its associated app.
NFC chip allows the end consumer to interact with AE Solar, share his or her experience and get feedback from professionals.
How it works
The AE Solar app is available for every smartphone and is free to download. It allows customers to scan a PV module’s barcode and checks its authenticity. It also provides detailed information about the module. Users can also communicate directly with AE Solar professionals. The application requires NFC support and an internet connection. The app needs access to the camera. Free registration is available via email or Facebook.
NFC chip innovation by German PV module manufacturer AE Solar prevents solar panel piracy.
In the future, AE Solar plans to integrate even smarter tools into its app, such as a program based on the panel function that provides monitoring and other solutions for solar systems that use AE Solar PV modules.
Products with integrated NFC chips are in the process of production and will be supplied to the UK market on June 1.
About Near-field Communication (NFC)
It is a set of wireless protocols for communication between two electronic devices over a distance of 4 cm (5.5 inches) or less. NFC devices can act as electronic identity documents and keycards. NFC tags are passive data stores that can be read and are used in different cases like a serial number or technical specification of a product by a suitable smartphone that supports NFC protocols.
Evolved from radio-frequency identification (RFID), NFC is now an established communication technology in wide use. For example, Android, Apple, and Samsung Pay are notable uses of NFC technology that facilitate the easy and secure transfer of payment between consumers and POS systems with just one tap.
About AE Solar GmbH
AE Solar GmbH was established by Dr. Alexander Maier and his brothers in Konigsbrunn, Germany, in 2003. AE Solar has a presence in more than 70 countries with manufacturing facilities in Europe and China.
AE Solar is well known for another innovation named "Smart Shading Resistant Hot-Spot Free PV module." This module uses bypass diodes between each cell to avoid shading consequences (tested by Fraunhofer CSP). Available from 260 W to 385 W range, the AE Smart Hot-Spot Free Modules offer up to 30 percent more power output compared to standard PV Modules in real conditions. More information here.