SIC USA looks to retrofit PV plants using Satcon inverters with power optimizers

SIC USA LLC and Alencon Systems LLC announced a partnership for promoting improved performance at existing PV plants with Satcon solar inverters. SIC USA is the exclusive US importer of the Satcon line of PV inverters. Alencon Systems is the manufacturer of the SPOT – String Power Optimizer and Transmitter – family of utility-scale PV DC-DC optimizers.

What the partnership does

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As part of this partnership, SIC and Alencon’s engineering teams will work closely to ensure the interoperability of Alencon’s SPOTs with existing Satcon’s inverters already installed in the field. In addition to working in close partnership, Alencon has installed a grid-tied Satcon inverter in its power electronics lab in Hatboro, Pa., to provide real world test conditions for the performance of its SPOT PV DC-DC optimizers with the Satcon inverter platform.

Pairing Alencon’s SPOTs with Satcon inverters already installed in the field provides PV plant owners with a number of benefits. Alencon’s SPOTs increase energy in existing PV plants by providing string level maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to plants equipped with central inverters. Each Alencon SPOT has four MPPT inputs and thus can reverse the effects PV panel yield mismatch caused by uneven module degradation or other factors. For PV plants between five to ten years of age, Alencon’s SPOT will typically increase DC energy yield between 5 – 10% by mitigating the negative effects of mismatch while performing a host of other energy yield optimization functions.

Additionally, by injecting galvanic isolation between the PV strings and the Satcon inverter, Alencon’s SPOT can extend the life of the inverter by protecting it from any harmful faults that occur in the PV array. By isolating every string, the Alencon SPOT will also reduce the on-going operations and maintenance costs of plants with Satcon inverters by isolating each string in the event of trouble.

— Solar Builder magazine

Power optimizer for PV plants from Alencon Systems achieves ETL certification

Alencon Systems successfully gained ETL certification for its newest SPOT – String Power Optimizer and Transmitter – family of products. The ETL Mark from Intertek is proof that the product has been tested by an independent laboratory and meets the requirements of the applicable product safety standard. The new SPOT family of products meets the requirements of ANSI/UL1741, the safety standard for inverters, converters, controllers and interconnection system equipment for use with distributed energy resources. The SPOT is the largest ETL listed DC-DC optimizer for PV applications available on the market today.

SPOT Specs

spot_etl alencon systems

The latest version of the SPOT features a more rugged, low profile design along with a number of unique power electronics features to allow both new and existing PV plants to generate more energy while also streamlining their operations and maintenance (O&M) activities. Alencon’s SPOT can improve the yield of PV plants from anywhere 5 – 10% on average.

Galvanic Isolation: Alencon’s Unique Solution for Better PV Plant Performance

Alencon’s SPOT provides complete galvanic isolation between PV strings and the inverter. This unique feature makes the SPOT an incredible tool for O&M because any arc or ground faults that occur with a PV string can be isolated from the rest of the solar system. Additionally, arc and ground faults can be quickly traced to the exact PV string where they are occurring which means maintenance can be more efficiently deployed and repairs can be safely done on one string while the rest of the PV plant continues to produce power.

RELATED: 1,500-volt systems to trend in 2017: Here’s what you need to know 

Voltage Step-Up: Lower Conduction Losses, Better Inverter Performance

Alencon’s SPOT allows for a broad range of both input and output voltages, so it can be deployed to improve the performance of any PV plant, irrespective of its age. By stepping up voltage on the output, the SPOT is able to markedly reduce conduction losses. Additionally, by feeding a central inverter fixed voltage, the SPOT will allow a central inverter to run much more efficiently by providing it the level of voltage that allows it to perform at its highest rated efficiency.

The PV-IoT for Performance Monitoring and Control

In addition to providing a number of energy production enhancing features such as granular MPPT, galvanic isolation and voltage step up, the SPOT is also a very unique PV plant performance monitoring tool. The SPOT offers continuous, wireless communication to a central aggregator, so the performance of a PV plant can be studied down to the string level. The SPOT is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) ready device. By applying the PV-IoT, the Photovoltaic Internet of Things, the SPOT allows PV plant owners to assure their assets are operating at peak performance.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Alencon Systems joins Emerge Alliance for developing DC power distribution standards

Alencon Systems LLC has been invited to join the Emerge Alliance, an open industry association developing standards leading to the rapid adoption of DC power distribution. Alencon Systems was selected for membership in this organization because of its unique String Power Optimizer and Transmitter product, the SPOT.

Brian T. Patterson, President of industry NGO and standards developer EMerge Alliance, explains, “The increasing use of microgrids invokes many new equipment requirements for the power industry. New types of DC-DC power optimizers, inverters and converters that help tie new distributed power sources, storage and loads into microgrids are particularly key. In addition to helping EMerge develop standards, Alencon Systems is a great example of an innovative company who has started to fill some of those market requirements with their recent product releases.”

RELATED: Module-Level Electronics O&M Equation: Looking at the solutions to address MLPE issues 

What is SPOT?

O&M Alencon

Alencon’s String Power Optimizer, the SPOT, is the PV industry’s most powerful and versatile DC-DC optimizer for large commercial and utility scale applications. It allows users of PV plants to harvest more power from their solar modules by providing highly granular maximum power point tracking (MPPT). The device also facilitates medium voltage DC transmission by stepping up the voltage harvested from PV panels.

The company has recently announced the release of the latest version of the SPOT, which features a more rugged, low profile design along with a number of unique power electronics features to allow both new and existing PV plants to generate more energy while also streamlining their operations and maintenance (O&M) activities. Alencon’s SPOT can improve the yield of PV plants from anywhere 5 – 10% on average.

The latest version of the SPOT, the fourth generation of Alencon’s DC-DC optimizer offerings, includes a variety of enhanced features to previous versions of the product. Its NEMA4 enclosure has been recast to make it more rugged yet lighter weight and thus easier to install. The SPOT’s power electronics are the most sophisticated of their kind found in the PV industry today. The 25 KW unit allows maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to be performed on four PV strings at once, twice as many as any similar device on the market today.

— Solar Builder magazine

Alencon Systems debuting new version of its DC-DC optimizer

alencon DC optimizer

Alencon Systems LLC will showcase its newest generation of its DC-DC optimizer at the PV Operations & Maintenance USA conference Dec. 6 and 7 in San Francisco. Alencon’s String Power Optimizer, the SPOT, is a powerful and versatile DC-DC optimizer for large commercial and utility scale applications.

The latest version of the SPOT features a more rugged, low profile design along with a number of unique power electronics features to allow both new and existing PV plants to generate more energy while also streamlining their operations and maintenance (O&M) activities. Alencon’s SPOT can improve the yield of PV plants from anywhere 5 – 10% on average.

Its NEMA4 enclosure has been recast to make it more rugged yet lighter weight and thus easier to install. The SPOT’s power electronics are the most sophisticated of their kind found in the PV industry today. The 25 KW unit allows maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to be performed on four PV strings at once, twice as many as any similar device on the market today.

“Our newest SPOT model comes to the market at just the right time for the PV industry,” says Alencon President Hanan Fishman. “As our PV assets age and degrade, a cost effective, performance enhancing solution like the SPOT is absolutely paramount to assuring the continued viability of our nation’s PV assets. Clearly, there could be no more appropriate forum to launch this new product than at a conference solely focused on O&M and PV plant performance.”

RELATED: How optimizers bridge the gap to 1,500-volt PV systems 

Alencon optimizer

Galvanic Isolation

Alencon’s SPOT provides complete galvanic isolation between PV strings and the inverter. This unique feature makes the SPOT an incredible tool for O&M because any arc or ground faults that occur with a PV string can be isolated from the rest of the solar system. Additionally, arc and ground faults can be quickly traced to the exact PV string where they are occurring which means maintenance can be more efficiently deployed and repairs can be safely done on one string while the rest of the PV plant continues to produce power.

Voltage Step-Up

Alencon’s SPOT allows for a broad range of both input and output voltages, so it can be deployed to improve the performance of any PV plant, irrespective of its age. By stepping up voltage on the output, the SPOT is able to markedly reduce conduction losses. Additionally, by feeding a central inverter fixed voltage, the SPOT will allow a central inverter to run much more efficiently by providing it the level of voltage that allows it to perform at its highest rated efficiency.

The PV-IoT

In addition to providing a number of energy production enhancing features such as granular MPPT, galvanic isolation and voltage step up, the SPOT is also a very unique PV plant performance monitoring tool. The SPOT offers continuous, wireless communication to a central aggregator, so the performance of a PV plant can be studied down to the string level. The SPOT is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) ready device. By applying the PV-IoT, the Photovoltaic Internet of Things, the SPOT allows PV plant owners to assure their assets are operating at peak performance.

— Solar Builder magazine

SEIA’s selects Alencon Systems for its O&M Working Group

alencon_aes_spotAlencon Systems LLC been selected to join the recently formed Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Working Group. Alencon’s DC-DC optimizers and monitoring software are aimed at improving existing PV plant performance ratios — the ratio of the electricity generated to the electricity that would have been generated if the plant consistently converted sunlight to electricity at the level expected from the DC nameplate rating. Alencon’s solutions have been specifically engineered to help O&M companies meet the challenges of generating energy from aging PV assets.

RELATED: Module-Level Electronics O&M Equation: Looking at the solutions to address MLPE issues 

SEIA recognizes that solar system and plant owners and operators want to achieve highest possible plant performance to optimize profit and long-term performance sustainability. As a critical segment in the solar value chain, the newly formed Operations & Maintenance Working Group will work on issues unique and critical to service providers and organizations involved in this activity.

“As existing PV plants grow older, their energy production and performance ratios can wane for a variety of factors, including soiling and module degradations among others” says Alencon Systems’ President Hanan Fishman. “At Alencon, our solutions have been specifically engineered to combat these challenges and help O&M companies, asset managers and plant owners alike assure the PV assets under there management continue to perform effectively.”

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to join the newly formed SEIA O&M workgroup so we can work on the frontlines in addressing the issues that matter most to the O&M community.”

— Solar Builder magazine