Phaesun switches on off grid – A remarkable workshop for the off-grid enthusiasts

Phaesun switches on off grid – A remarkable workshop for the off-grid enthusiasts

Phaesun Switches on Off Grid – A Remarkable Workshop for the Off-Grid Enthusiasts

by Tasnim Harun Shamma, Bangladesh (PPRE 2015-2017)

Phaesun GmbH started conducting their Off-Grid-Expert’s Workshop in 2011. The theme of this year’s workshop was stand-alone electricity, water pumping and treatment. This workshop takes place in Memmingen, a picturesque town in southwest of Bavaria. They have successfully conducted five events so far. This notable workshop is usually a two-day long workshop and includes one optional day called the ‘Tec-Day’. This year the event took place from 27th to 29th of September. Over forty companies participated and put up an impressive exhibition. Over four hundred active participants graced the 2017 workshop.

Many PPRE alumni along with currently enrolled students participated in this workshop. Our beloved  Hans Holtorf accompanied a few students from Oldenburg and the others came from various parts of Germany to attend this unique workshop. In total PPRE & EUREC made up for an impressive 5% of the participants.

As soon as we arrived in Memmingen, the sunny day and beautiful Bavarian town embraced us and we immediately felt welcome. The locals were helpful, friendly and always greeted us with a smile.  

The first day started with the ‘Tech Day’ where different companies arranged factory tours, workshops and group discussions. The activities during the entire day gave us great insights on the off-grid products, manufacturing procedures and markets. Although optional, the Tech Day has been enlightening and most of the attendees felt very engaged.

PPRE alumnis and students with the wonderful organizer Ms. Evans share a moment. (Photo Credit: Davide Lob)

The second day started with much anticipation. The workshop was formally introduced and inaugurated. The event was lively with moderators interacting with the exhibitors and welcoming to their stalls. While there were lecture sessions where different companies and institutions presented their products and work in progress, there were many interesting side events as well. Everybody could choose between interesting presentations, hands on assembly, speaker’s corner or actively participate in a running discussion. Most of the PPRE students found the hands-on assembly interesting and spent quite some time there learning practically how to assemble a small PV power system.

Shamma and Jorge assembled a pico-PV system in one of the hands-on sessions. (Photo credit: Lucía Villarreal)

It was overwhelming to see how the off-grid sector has advanced according to the demand of time, customers and complexity of the locations. From advancement of power electronics, reliability and self-sufficiency, the off-grid products are more integrated and ‘smart’. Cloud-based systems, data storage, management and Internet of Things (IoT), advances in meteorological data collection for energy forecast, advancement in storage systems, fuel cells for remote locations using methanol, desalination of water and water treatment, business models for mini grids were few of the impressive highlights.

The event was not only limited to deadpan exchange of information and training. The workshop provided an ample amount of time to network and make contacts with the off-grid community. Phaesun went the extra mile by arranging a pizza party an exciting ‘Rodeo challenge’ for the participating companies. The joyous atmosphere gave the participants of the workshop a relaxed time and more time to network.

Falling is not defeat. Hans accepting the challenge from the students and showing sportsmanship. (Photo Credit: Juan Camilo Gómez Trillos)

The third day of the workshop was full of interesting presentations. Two PPRE students presented their master thesis on the speaker’s corner where anybody could come up with their story and research and present to the audience. It was not just about presentations and lectures. We also got to know about the knowledge based platforms for the off-grid community where anybody could contribute their knowledge. PlayMoBeat, a funky and extremely talented band from Berlin made all the way to Memmingen to introduce some groove and rhythm into a rather ‘all suited up’ event. The drama and the synchronised drumming amazed everybody and put everybody on their feet.

Eventually it was time to close the ceremony. The workshop closing ceremony comprised of ‘The Off-Grid Experts Awards 2017’. This award ceremony honoured and awarded the minds behind the best product developments, projects, video and photography. Then it was time for the most awaited after party called the ‘Independence dance night’. It was time to relax and have fun. The DJs payed music and the party began. Sooner or later everybody had revealed their hidden talents and special dance moves. And with pleasure and laughter it all ended.

The three memorable days were full of insightful presentations, interesting exhibitions, lots of networking, great Bavarian cuisine and fun. We would like to thank Phaesun for this unique opportunity.

PPREs & EURECS hand over an illustrated book on Oldenburg thanking Suzette Evans and Phaesun. (Photo credit: Holger Hering)

I would gladly inform about the website for the Off-Grid workshop, and request everybody to keep an eye on the next upcoming event in 2019. Mark your calendar. It is worth the visit.


For further reading:

IEA PVPS Task9 – Hybrid System data collection project

by Michael Müller, Steca Co.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) aims to evaluate all types of PV-Hybrid Systems for off-grid power supply under 150kW on a worldwide level. The idea is to publish a report which can provide a realistic view on the performance of such systems in the field. This helps decision makers to apply PV-Hybrid Systems correctly and it helps operators to increase the performance of the system and to reduce the costs. The IEA PVPS Task9 team asks operators world-wide to cooperate with Task9 and to supply data of the system. In return Task9 will come up with a detailed performance analyses containing advises how to reduce the costs and to increase the performance of the system. All data will be handled confidentially and the operator can decide which level of data can be used in a public report.

To participate in this project please contact



(Changed: 2020-01-23)