• One thousand units of ConextTM XW+ hybrid inverters at 5.5 kW and 6.8 kW power levels are being made available to distributors in Puerto Rico
  • These Conext XW+ units will immediately generate reliable power in Puerto Rico

Livermore, California, December 21, 2017 – Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation is providing critical disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico markets leveraging their massive global infrastructure and local support.

Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico over 90 days ago and many residents are still without power making this the longest major blackout in U.S. history. Officials have estimated it could take four to six months to restore the power grid to full functionality. Schneider Electric is supporting the rebuild of several major solar and energy storage plants and aiding the locals by rapidly deploying off-grid products to regain power to their homes.

One thousand ConextTM XW+ hybrid inverters at 5.5 kW and 6.8 kW power levels are being made available to distributors in Puerto Rico. “Schneider Electric is continuing to support relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The Conext XW+ hybrid inverter is a unique off-grid solution. Our intent in supplying these units is to retrofit the existing non-functional photovoltaic systems that can provide much-needed power immediately. When the grid comes back online, the Conext XW+ units will work in conjunction with the grid and support its capabilities over the long term,” said Evan Vogel, Vice President of Marketing, Schneider Electric Solar.

As a business with a large local presence in Puerto Rico, local Schneider Electric teams are working with customers to offer relief to the affected areas. The primary focus is to ensure people regain access to reliable, safe energy as soon as possible.

As you enjoy the Christmas festivities, perhaps toast the people on the South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC). In mid-November, my friend Robert Swan and his son Barney Swan started a walk across Antarctica to get to the South Pole sometime in January. With them is videographer Kyle and guide Martin. Traversing Antarctica is an extraordinary journey to embark upon and a feat of physical endurance that few people could attempt. But Rob has set the team an even more remarkable challenge; they will make this journey powered entirely by renewable energy. Their goal is to highlight the role that renewable energy can play in a 21st Century energy system that leads to no net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

That energy will come from two sources; a solar energy system adapted for the conditions by NASA and a supply of advanced biofuels. The latter was developed solely for this trip by Shell, using a technology that turns solid waste into biofuels, produced at the Shell Technology Centre in Bangalore, India. On a standard polar expedition, each person uses around 200-250 millilitres of jet aviation fuel per day. This fuel is used sparingly for heat, to melt ice to provide water and for cooking. SPEC is pioneering a different approach to managing the energy needs for polar expeditions. Using passive solar thermal systems, a NASA designed ice melter, and advanced biofuels the team will attempt to use a renewable energy mix to sustain their water, heating and cooking needs. Additionally, they will be using solar technology to charge lithium batteries that will power their camera and communication devices.

Day 15 Rob using bio fuel 05 Dec 2018

The story behind this and the relationship with Shell goes back over a century to the Scott Antarctic Expedition of 1912. Rob initially approached Shell for expedition funding in the 1980s, when he set out to walk to South Pole for the first time. This was the beginning of his own relationship with Antarctica, which he intends to see preserved as a pristine continent sized ecosystem. For that journey, Rob convinced Shell that as the company had sponsored the original Scott expedition, he was a worthy recipient to continue that practice. In a like for like manner, Shell supplied fuel for the expedition ship, as they had supplied fuel for the Scott expedition.

The 1912 expedition became part of the early Shell legend of supplying fuel for all purposes under all conditions and at the time featured in various Shell advertisements. One such example is shown below.

Shell and Scott

The company was subsequently involved in other expeditions, including the Shackleton Expedition.


The 2017 Swan Expedition continues, although in the run-up to Christmas the team was faced with a difficult decision. Despite grueling conditions, including extreme winds and freezing temperatures, they reached the half way point just after mid-December, but the pace had not been as hoped. With the longest day of the year behind them the team will begin to lose sunlight leading to extreme cold, which now leads to something of a race against time to ensure the trek is successfully completed before the short expedition season closes. Under these circumstances, Robert decided to return to Base Camp at Union Glacier to allow the team to move along at a faster pace. He will however meet back up with the SPEC team at the 89th parallel to complete the last 60 miles of the expedition to arrive at the Geographic South Pole.

Robert will continue to play a lead role in the expedition and is determined to ensure that the rest of the team, together with his son Barney, complete this historic challenge. They’re doing it to raise awareness of the need for more and cleaner energy, and continue the Antarctic legacy set by Robert in the 1980s and continued through his 2041 Foundation.

These are two great ambitions that Shell is proud to be part of. So am I. Back in 2009 Robert invited me to speak about climate change to participants on his annual 2041 Expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. Since then, people from Shell have been involved in every expedition, either as participants or as climate and energy speakers. Following the SPEC Expedition, Robert and Barney will be back on the Antarctic Peninsula in late February with a large group of young people, all eager to learn about SPEC and to better understand the climate issue. ClimateForce 2018 will kick off a series of new climate change initiatives for the father and son team and I am proud to say I will be there at the start of yet another adventure.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018.

As this eventful year in the solar energy industry draws to a close, we wish you and your family a peaceful and relaxing holiday season.

May you have joy and success in whatever the New Year holds for you.

We look forward to working together in 2018 as we continue to advance the global energy transition.

Our SMA headquarter offices will be closed for the holidays starting December 22 and will reopen on January 2, 2017. As usual, you can use Online Service Center during the holidays. Please note that replies to your inquiries might be delayed.

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The effects of climate change are quite clear and continuously growing as a threat to Earth’s life sustaining environment. Although we are still heavily depended on fossil fuels, the world is now trying to phase out conventional energy and shifting towards renewable energy. However, recent studies show that ‘what’s next after all fossil fuel reserves are depleted?’ is not the most urgent question right now, that position is being quickly taken over by the threat of disastrous effects of climate change. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has highlighted on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that how we protect our climate in next 3 years will reflect on our future.

It has been estimated that taking actions to permanently lowering carbon emissions by 2020 will put a stop to irreversible climate change (that is about to happen). Understanding the plight, world Governments have decided to take on ‘beyond mandatory’ initiatives to stop global warming within time.

The Primary Cause of Climate Change

Our fossil fuel extraction and consumption causes the biggest amount of CO2 generation within the atmosphere.

Global energy supply through fossil fuels have reached from 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1977 to 13,700 Mtoe by 2014. And unfortunately, Coal still holds its position as the second-largest energy source in the world. Such utilization choices have resulted into making countries like- China, India, and United States the top coal-related CO2 emitters, which are suspected to account for 70% of global CO2 emissions in future. Research shows that if our fossil fuel usage dependency persists, energy-related CO2 emissions in the world will increase from 32.3 billion metric tons in 2012 to 35.6 billion metric tons in 2020, ultimately reaching 43.2 billion metric tons in 2040.

Global energy related CO2 emissions are estimated to increase at an average of 1.0% from 2012 to 2040. Emissions in Mexico and Chile grew by 1.1%/year, while South Korea saw an increase of 1.0%/year (in average). In Europe, CO2 emissions increased by 0.2%/year and in the Americas, 0.3%/year (in average) increase is noted. Asia stands with approximately 59% growth in global CO2 emissions from 2012 to an estimated 2040. China contributed to more than 41% of the total CO2 increase in Asia’s greenhouse gas emission, although the country has shown only 1.0%/year growth in CO2 emission. In comparison to other countries, it is noticeable that India stands with a 2.7%/year increase in CO2 emissions. From coal combustion alone, Asia’s CO2 emission is estimated to rise more than 2.2 billion metric tons in the future.

So it is easy to figure out that our dependency on fossil fuels is short-sighted. And limited fossil fuels would not be able to satisfy the energy demand that will rise with the population boom. This simple understanding indicates a fatal flaw in our conventional energy powered plans for the future.

The Change

Understanding the need to evolve, the world came together and started looking for alternate energy choices, initiating the energy revolution. Fossil fuel usage was indeed a progressive move for us, but when it still failed to provide energy to 1.6 billion people around the world, it was time for the world to evolve and initiate a transition to renewable sources of energy.

Championing Solar

On the other hand, focusing on sustainable energy promises to help us construct a safer and more energy rich future without inflicting any damage to our climate and planet. Among various forms of renewable energy, solar received global acceptance as it is easy to manufacture, use, maintain, and feasible (followed by 90% drop in solar module prices) than other renewable energy choices. The whole world accepting solar and collaborating to speed up its growth as a main stream energy source makes it a revolution, which the world desperately needed.

What Solar Revolution Offers

While conventional energy pollutes the world, solar energy does nothing of the sort. Only 1 KW of green energy can reduce more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 annually. Utilizing renewable energy has helped Japan to phase out fossil fuel usage, displaying a decline in CO2 emission by 0.4%/year.

Advantages of solar energy-

  • Solar PV modules are easily installable than other energy choices.
  • Solar PV modules are low maintenance, but offer high performance.
  • Solar PV modules can be used to harness energy from your roof as well (making you energy reliant).
  • There comes an option with solar energy to sell your power to the grid and earn.
  • Solar installations can offer consistent performance whether it is rain, snow, or a hot and humid.

Renewable energy sources impact the economy very positively, both on a global and local level. That is why developing countries like- Brazil, Philippines, Africa, Morroco, India etc. are seriously investing in renewable energy – especially solar ($286 billion was invested in renewable energy in 2016, and out of that amount $131.56 billion was invested by developing countries). The opportunity to re-structure economy and create jobs is so tangible with renewable energy ventures, that developing countries are betting huge on it, shifting from conventional energy. A closer look at developing countries highlight, that rising cost of conventional energy (due to their limited reserves) and threat upon climate have made it problematic for developing countries to initiate any kind of progress (since energy is the life force of development).

Judging from the changes that will surface with increased renewable energy usage in sectors like health, education, environment, and economy, global welfare is expected to rise by almost 2.7 per cent. So, besides optimum climate improvement, solar energy shift is promising socio-economic growth, which developing countries drastically need.

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