TE Connectivity launches new terminal blocks for large-scale, high-voltage solar plants

TE Connectivity

TE Connectivity’s new TE ENTRELEC PI-Spring range of terminal blocks ZK-PV is dedicated to large commercial and utility-scale photovoltaic installations. The ZK-PV range of terminal blocks makes connecting photovoltaic systems quicker and more reliable. The smart two-in-one connection gives installers more flexibility, real time savings and higher quality results.

The PI-Spring range have voltage of 1500V DC (IEC) / 1000V DC (UL), complementing the existing 1500 V offering including DBL distribution blocks and SNK screw power terminal blocks ZS150 / ZS240.

What’s new?

The ZK-PV range for photovoltaic installations is as compact as the rest of the PI-Spring terminal block range, adding only 2 mm to the unit’s depth. For differentiating positive and negative poles, grey and blue colors are available: The distribution blocks are suitable for conductors with maximum cross-sections of 10 mm² / 6AWG and 16 mm² / 4AWG. The range pro-vides two and three connections so that two circuits can be grouped in parallel in one line. To group more than two circuits, several ZK10 PV terminals (10mm² / 6AWG) can be interconnected by means of convenient plug-in jumpers.

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

The range´s unique design gives installers two different ways to connect wires quickly and securely.

  • A Push-In mode lets installers just push solid wires into the terminal – ENTRELEC’s patented design automatically clamps the wire to create a strong, reliable connection.
  • In Spring Mode, non-prepared, stranded wires can be inserted just as easily. The installer just needs to slide a screwdriver into the adjacent slot, insert the wire and the connection is secured.

“Over the next five years, most solar power plants will use increased voltages to reduce installation and operational costs. Even though other solutions do exist on the market for 1500V DC, the terminal blocks are one of the safest and most reliable way for connecting electrical circuits inside PV panels, combiners and central inverters,” said Gael Grenat, head of global product management for TE’s ENTRELEC products.

— Solar Builder magazine

Smappee Infinity delivers new energy efficiency insights for consumers, solar installers

Smappee Infinity-All modules-Front-Colored BG

Smart energy monitoring manufacturer Smappee has debuted its new energy management system Smappee Inifinity at this week’s E-World 2019 in Essen, Germany. Tailored for Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and OEM customers, Smappee Infinity provides in-depth, real-time energy insights to make informed and impactful decisions on energy use.

Public awareness of energy usage is growing as businesses and consumers face increasing and variable energy rates in addition to new legislations on buildings’ energy consumption. Therefore they are reaching out to ESCOs and looking for products to manage their energy efficiency. Smappee Infinity provides ESCOs and companies interested in energy integrations with a flexible, future-proof solution offering actionable data on energy consumption, production, and optimization, to address these market trends.

“Smappee Infinity provides its users with essential insights and tools to manage the energy flows in their building, office, or home and optimize the use of their renewable energy,” said Stefan Grosjean, CEO of Smappee. “As decentralized energy production becomes increasingly common, understanding and managing your energy is ever more essential. Smappee Infinity is the future-proof solution that empowers users to take action to immediately improve their energy efficiency and save costs.”

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

Tailored to growing market needs

The launch of Smappee Infinity signifies a new direction for the company as the system is mainly targeting ESCOs and companies looking to integrate IoT energy technology into their offering.

Smappee Infinity features up to three methods of submetering to offer the most accurate and comprehensive smart energy management solution on the market. Smappee’s intuitive user dashboard visualizes energy data down to the appliance level and enables energy optimization and auto-consumption for maximum energy and cost savings at large scale.

Modular, easy to set up, reliable

Smappee Infinity users can access and manage their data and ‘rules’ through a personalized dashboard (desktop and mobile app), available in a professional and consumer (simplified) version. The visualization of the data allows users to quickly gain insights and take action to optimize their energy usage.

Boasting a unique combination of three types of “submetering” (submetering of circuits via current clamps, Smappee Switch smart plug and patented NILM technology), Smappee Infinity offers the most comprehensive real-time and historical energy data for electricity, solar, gas and water and optimized control over energy flows. Smappee Infinity is suitable for installation in locations ranging from private homes to office buildings, restaurants, shops and other multi sites facilities. Entirely modular, its three basic components are Smappee CT Hub(s), Smappee Power Box and Smappee Genius gateway.

Adding to its flexibility is the open API, allowing integration with EMS/BMS systems. This allows custom visualizations to be created to offer even more advanced insights on energy usage. In recent years Smappee has unveiled various partnerships with IoT products and platforms such as Nest and Amazon Alexa – relying on industry standards. This makes Smappee Infinity a highly interoperable and modular system.

“We are proud of Smapee Infinity’s highly competitive total cost of ownership, which compares favorable to competitive solutions,” Grosjean added. “The installation is quick and easy, as the system is designed to be plug-and-play. Thanks to its modularity, additional single- or three-phased energy meters can be installed in five to ten mintues. Once installed, maintenance costs are kept to a minimum. Moreover, reliability is outstanding, allowing users to fully focus on optimizing their energy savings.”

Smappee are debuting Smapppee Infinity at this week’s E-world in Essen, Germany, a leading exhibition for the global energy sector. Smappee will be showcasing Infinity and its wider product portfolio in hall 5, stand 5-224.

— Solar Builder magazine

Smappee Infinity delivers new energy efficiency insights for consumers, solar installers

Smappee Infinity-All modules-Front-Colored BG

Smart energy monitoring manufacturer Smappee has debuted its new energy management system Smappee Inifinity at this week’s E-World 2019 in Essen, Germany. Tailored for Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and OEM customers, Smappee Infinity provides in-depth, real-time energy insights to make informed and impactful decisions on energy use.

Public awareness of energy usage is growing as businesses and consumers face increasing and variable energy rates in addition to new legislations on buildings’ energy consumption. Therefore they are reaching out to ESCOs and looking for products to manage their energy efficiency. Smappee Infinity provides ESCOs and companies interested in energy integrations with a flexible, future-proof solution offering actionable data on energy consumption, production, and optimization, to address these market trends.

“Smappee Infinity provides its users with essential insights and tools to manage the energy flows in their building, office, or home and optimize the use of their renewable energy,” said Stefan Grosjean, CEO of Smappee. “As decentralized energy production becomes increasingly common, understanding and managing your energy is ever more essential. Smappee Infinity is the future-proof solution that empowers users to take action to immediately improve their energy efficiency and save costs.”

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

Tailored to growing market needs

The launch of Smappee Infinity signifies a new direction for the company as the system is mainly targeting ESCOs and companies looking to integrate IoT energy technology into their offering.

Smappee Infinity features up to three methods of submetering to offer the most accurate and comprehensive smart energy management solution on the market. Smappee’s intuitive user dashboard visualizes energy data down to the appliance level and enables energy optimization and auto-consumption for maximum energy and cost savings at large scale.

Modular, easy to set up, reliable

Smappee Infinity users can access and manage their data and ‘rules’ through a personalized dashboard (desktop and mobile app), available in a professional and consumer (simplified) version. The visualization of the data allows users to quickly gain insights and take action to optimize their energy usage.

Boasting a unique combination of three types of “submetering” (submetering of circuits via current clamps, Smappee Switch smart plug and patented NILM technology), Smappee Infinity offers the most comprehensive real-time and historical energy data for electricity, solar, gas and water and optimized control over energy flows. Smappee Infinity is suitable for installation in locations ranging from private homes to office buildings, restaurants, shops and other multi sites facilities. Entirely modular, its three basic components are Smappee CT Hub(s), Smappee Power Box and Smappee Genius gateway.

Adding to its flexibility is the open API, allowing integration with EMS/BMS systems. This allows custom visualizations to be created to offer even more advanced insights on energy usage. In recent years Smappee has unveiled various partnerships with IoT products and platforms such as Nest and Amazon Alexa – relying on industry standards. This makes Smappee Infinity a highly interoperable and modular system.

“We are proud of Smapee Infinity’s highly competitive total cost of ownership, which compares favorable to competitive solutions,” Grosjean added. “The installation is quick and easy, as the system is designed to be plug-and-play. Thanks to its modularity, additional single- or three-phased energy meters can be installed in five to ten mintues. Once installed, maintenance costs are kept to a minimum. Moreover, reliability is outstanding, allowing users to fully focus on optimizing their energy savings.”

Smappee are debuting Smapppee Infinity at this week’s E-world in Essen, Germany, a leading exhibition for the global energy sector. Smappee will be showcasing Infinity and its wider product portfolio in hall 5, stand 5-224.

— Solar Builder magazine

Need for Speed: Inside the upgrades to the most powerful microinverter on the market

Today’s solar systems require a more robust communication architecture to manage significantly more data points and in-field software updates, and this need was the driving force behind APsystems’s newest microinverter. Despite being the most powerful microinverter you’ll find on the market, the QS1 debuted rather quietly at Solar Power International last year — a debut that even caught director of marketing Jason Higginson off-guard. But hey, when a product is ready, it’s ready.

Key to the QS1 development was incorporating a high-speed wireless Zigbee connection instead of Power Line Communication (PLC). The difference is measured in speed of both installation (75 percent reduction in installation time) and data transmission.

“With the smart grid, and a very smart inverter, there are a considerable number of data points that need to be communicated back from the microinverters through the gateway and to the monitoring platform in the cloud,” Higginson explains. “This means a steady stream of data is constantly flowing from the inverter to the internet. When systems like the QS1 and YC600 apply remote firmware upgrades, this creates a demanding bidirectional data flow and, for MLPE systems, traditional powerline communication isn’t going to cut it.”

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

The QS1 employs high-speed wireless Zigbee, which is up to three times faster than conventional powerline communication (PLC), creating a local 2.4GHz mesh network for fast and reliable data communication between the microinverters and the gateway.

The QS1 is positioned to maximize high output PV panels up to 375 W by providing a higher peak output power (a microinverter-leading 300 W AC output per channel) and a wider MPPT voltage range (22V-48V) that allows for bettering tracking and energy harvest during low light conditions of dawn and dusk.

“It also features four individual MPPT so each PV module is managed and tracked separately, which means things that affect a single panel such as shading or debris do not affect the output from the rest of the panel even if they’re connected to the same microinverter,” Higginson says.

APsystems QS1 Microinverter Datasheet

Compatibility

An APststems calling card is reducing the number of microinverter units needed per project. Only one QS1 unit is needed for every four modules (instead of the standard 1:1 ratio) while still providing four independent MPPT. This means fewer units to stock, transport and install while costing less than the equivalent of four individual microinverters. There are shared components that reduce the overall cost per watt by comparison.

But it’s not all shiny new performance numbers and doodads — APsystems kept the AC trunk cabling common with its dual-module YC600, which adds a hugely important flexible, mix-and-match compatibility on the same circuit to enhance site design capability and maximize circuit capacity.

“Using an even number of PV modules is ideal, however, with the APsystems 4-in-1 and 2-in-1 cost advantages, even if there are an odd number of PV modules in the array, leaving one side of a YC600 unused doesn’t significantly impact the cost per Watt of the system,” Higginson says.

Both microinverters also utilize the same gateways, so installers can choose the ECU-R for single or multi-residential installations or the ECU-C for applications requiring consumption monitoring and advanced contact/relay features.

“Compatibility with the existing YC600 microinverter system gives the QS1 an unprecedented advantage,” says APsystems chief technology officer Yuhao Luo. “Mixing dual and quad microinverters in the same system adds design flexibility while offering a strong inventory and installation labor advantage over conventional microinverters.”

Chris Crowell is the managing editor of Solar Builder.

— Solar Builder magazine

World’s largest solar PV peaker power plant uses DC-coupled storage design with Ampt optimizers

AmptV1000StringOptimizer---CUT-1

The Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project in Hawaii completed this month became the world’s largest operational solar PV+storage peaker plant and is responsible for delivering 11% of Kauai’s power while providing mission critical grid support during peak demand periods.  The completion of this system allows the utility to deliver up to 40% of the island’s evening peak power using stored solar energy. This record-breaking record-breaking PV peaker power plant has 28 MW of solar PV and 100 megawatt-hours (MWh) of DC-coupled energy storage.

To meet the demanding operational needs of a clean energy peaker plant while being cost competitive, the project developer chose to use a DC-coupled storage architecture based on Ampt String Optimizers for its cost and performance advantages. DC-coupled energy storage systems charge batteries using energy from the DC solar array rather than the AC grid.

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

Ampt String Optimizers decrease the total cost of the entire power plant. Ampt’s unique features lower the cost of all the power electronics, including the inverter and battery converter, and save in electrical wiring of the PV array.

Moreover, Ampt String Optimizers maximize the performance of the PV system by managing power on each string of PV modules rather than across the whole array at a central point. This increased granularity mitigates system degradation to deliver more lifetime energy. DC-coupled storage systems based on Ampt operate at a higher efficiency and capture energy that would otherwise be lost.

The power plant includes the wireless communication feature of Ampt optimizers to enhance operations and maintenance (O&M) effectiveness with high-accuracy synchronous string-level data.

“The Lāwa’i project sets the standard for PV+storage system design,” said Levent Gun, CEO of Ampt. “We are pleased that Ampt technology played a key role in achieving this industry milestone and we look forward to being part of follow-on projects in Hawaii.”

— Solar Builder magazine