Electronics for clean energy
Photovoltaics and solar thermal energy, grid feeding and off-grid systems: These are not mutually exclusive at Steca. The company has been developing electronics for all areas of solar technology for two decades.
The solar electronics division at Steca – an electronics company from Memmingen at the border of Bavaria and Swabia was founded in 1976, during the pioneering age of renewable energies. At the time, Steca was the manufacturing partner of photovoltaics researchers at the university in nearby Ulm. “The market was very small, and the technology primarily consisted of makeshift solutions,” recalls Michael Voigtsberger, now Managing Director of solar electronics. He and his brother Peter are the second generation in the family company and run it together with their father Dietmar, who joined Steca in 1980, and took over the company soon afterwards.
Accompanying solar electricity to practical implementation
At Steca, the solar electronics age began in the early 1990s with charge controllers for 12 Volt modules, followed by MPP trackers from 1991 on. In theory, photovoltaics was already quite advanced, but many "practical” ideas from that period now seem strange or even absurd. . At the time, the market was restricted to off-grid applications, and very few people had considered feeding solar electricity into the public grid or even remuneration. Thus, by contrast to today, countries in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia were the focus. By the way, for Steca’s employees, these markets are still of great importance, as, unlike many solar companies, they never stopped developing off-grid technology and did not focus on the large new markets in Europe and North America alone.
The 1000 Roofs Programme, also launched in 1990, instigated the technological change in paradigms in photovoltaics. It was the first of its kind to promote grid-connected PV systems, and Steca entered this market with the Helix inverter in 1995 – by modern standards, a very heavy and expensive device, but one which is still working reliably for customers, as Voigtsberger proudly reports.
Source: Ralf Ossenbrink, SWW
Further information: Steca Elektronik GmbH, Michael Voigtsberger, Mammostraße 1, 87700 Memmingen, Fon +49 (0) 8331 8558-0, Fax +49 (0) 8331 8558-132,