SMA America roadshow to feature new Sunny Boy Storage-US inverter concept

Sunny Boy Storage

SMA America is hitting the road starting in November to showcase the new Sunny Boy Storage-US residential solution. The tour will begin November 1 and will make stops in 13 cities along the East Coast, West Coast and Texas, partnering with Authorized Distributors to host the events. SMA will also be accompanied by special guest LG Chem for additional training.

The Sunny Boy Storage Tour will provide partners with a firsthand look at the new Sunny Boy Storage-US inverter, SMA’s solution for residential energy storage and management. Using an AC coupled architecture, the Sunny Boy Storage offers a simple, flexible platform for new and existing PV systems that is compatible with many leading high-voltage battery brands.

The Sunny Boy Storage Tour will also feature training from LG Chem on its RESU solution for residential energy storage. Joint training from SMA and LG Chem will provide a valuable opportunity for installers to learn more about residential energy storage.

The Sunny Boy Storage Tour schedule includes the following stops:

• November 1: Boston, Mass., with BayWa r.e.
• November 2: Secaucus, N.J., with Allied Building Products
• November 3: Pennsauken, N.J., with Krannich
• November 7: Orlando, Fla., with GEXPRO
• November 9: Austin, Texas, with GEXPRO
• November 14: Honolulu, Hawaii, with WESCO
• November 15: Honolulu, Hawaii, with Inter-Island Solar Supply
• November 16: Kahului, Hawaii, with Inter-Island Solar Supply
• November 28: Phoenix, Ariz., with IES
• November 30: San Diego, Calif., with CED Greentech
• December 1: Anaheim, Calif., with WESCO
• December 5: Fresno, Calif., with WESCO
• December 6: Petaluma, Calif., with Soligent
• December 7: Rocklin, Calif., with BayWa r.e.

Those who attend an event will be eligible for NABCEP continuing education credits.

— Solar Builder magazine

Vivint Solar signs deal with ChargePoint to offer EV charging solution

Vivint Solar announced a strategic agreement with ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, to offer ChargePoint Home charging solutions and custom installations directly to residential customers. This is only a few months after Vivint’s deal with Mercedes-Benz.

Vivint Solar will work with ChargePoint and other strategic collaborators to provide Fully Integrated Solar, the industry’s most comprehensive residential product suite featuring a solar energy system, EV charger, home battery and smart home technology for intelligent energy management. By leveraging best-in-class energy technologies, Fully Integrated Solar from Vivint Solar enables consumers to build their own clean-energy ecosystems at home.

Vivint solar

Vivint Solar is making a move to be the national residential solar provider that offers rooftop solar customers a one-stop shop. Compatible with any EV, ChargePoint Home brings innovation to the home garage, offering the smartest, smallest and most advanced home charging solution for EV drivers. The first and only home charger with ENERGY STAR certification, ChargePoint Home charges EVs up to six times faster than a standard 110V outlet, delivering up to 25 miles of Range Per Hour and using 40 percent less energy than a standard EV charger when not charging. ChargePoint Home features a compact, slim design and is easy to manage with an app that enables drivers to schedule charging, start charging remotely and track energy usage and all charging in one place.

When EV drivers need to charge away from home, they can count on more than 40,000 ChargePoint charging spots across North America. ChargePoint is the only charging company that offers a suite of solutions to serve EV drivers everywhere they go: at home, at work, around town and on a trip.


Vivint Solar will offer the ChargePoint EV solution directly to homeowners in select markets in California. Customers will be able to buy the complete home solar solution – or customize a package based on their needs – through Vivint Solar’s personal sales representatives.

— Solar Builder magazine

Pika Energy expands energy storage capacity of Harbor Smart Battery line

Pika Energy Inc.’s Harbor Smart Battery product line, which sold out during its beta production run, now features expanded energy storage capacities and reduced pricing, the U.S.-based manufacturer announced at Solar Power International.

The Harbor Smart Battery, co-developed with Panasonic, is now available in two configurations: Harbor Plus, with 15.9 kWh of usable capacity, and the Harbor Flex, with 10.6 kWh of usable capacity that can be expanded to 15.9 kWh at a later time. Both models were recently certified to UL 9540 and are available to order now.

“With these optimizations to usable stored energy capacity and product pricing, we’re focusing the Harbor Smart Battery product line on two key segments of the solar-plus-storage market: Buyers who want serious backup power and more stored energy will choose the Harbor Plus, while buyers seeking a battery at a competitively-priced entry point with future-forward scalability will choose Harbor Flex,” said Rob Smart, Pika Energy’s Director of Strategic Partnerships.

pika solar storage

Both the Harbor Plus and Harbor Flex are DC-coupled as part of the Pika Energy Island for seamless solar-plus-storage with high efficiency and simple installation. The solar-ready Harbor Smart Battery combines Panasonic’s DCB-105 lithium ion battery modules with Pika Energy’s REbus power electronics in a slim, floor-standing, wall-mounted enclosure. The Harbor Smart Battery is assembled onsite using Pika Energy’s SwiftRack installation process for plug-and-play setup of lithium ion battery modules, requiring no lifts or large teams of installers.

Harbor Plus provides 6.7 kW of continuous power through the transformerless Pika X7600 Islanding Inverter, and can surge at 10 kW to start essential residential loads, such as well pumps and HVAC equipment. Harbor Flex offers a competitively-priced smart battery solution with more usable power capacity than other DC-coupled systems in its size class. Both models can be used for clean backup power, self-supply and other solar-plus-storage applications.

For system integrators, the simplicity and price-performance of the Harbor Smart Battery set it apart from other grid-tied battery systems, said Ben Polito, Pika Energy’s President and Co-Founder.

“A single person can install and commission a Harbor Smart Battery in less than an hour,” Polito said. “Harbor is assembled on-site, with a modular design enabled by our SwiftRack installation process. Combined with our transformerless inverter, we’re offering a vast improvement over heavy wall-mounted battery systems and outdated multiple-inverter configurations that suffer from low efficiency, extraneous hardware and complex installations.”

— Solar Builder magazine

This solar+storage case study shows 96 percent reduction in grid-buy

Tabuchi Americas

The post-net metering solar industry looms on the horizon, some day, for every state, but in Hawaii it is a reality, which makes it guinea pig. At SPI, Poncho’s Solar and Tabuchi Electric Co. will be presenting the results of their collaboration with J.O.B. Technologies (Aiea, Hawaii), detailing the results of a year-long case study on the post-NEM residential self-supply (non-export to the grid) market in Hawaii.

Analysis of the field data details various types of optimization and integration required to successfully integrate solar PV with electrical battery storage, solar hot water thermal storage, and summertime solar A/C cold thermal storage. By integrating solar PV + battery storage and adjusting the time-of-use (TOU) of the top 4 major household appliances and using Tabuchi Electric’s HEMS (home energy management system), nearly all household energy demands can be met without the need to purchase from the grid.

“In the post-NEM customer self-supply world, the economics of solar PV and saving electricity is quite different than with NEM,” noted John Borland, President of J.O.B. Technologies. “For NEM programs, the amount of cost savings and return on investment is determined by generating the maximum amount of solar PV energy possible and selling back to the grid. The key to the fastest return on investment in the post-NEM world is through achieving a monthly utility bill with Grid-Buy as close to zero as possible. By working with Poncho’s Solar and Tabuchi Electric over the past 15 months, we successfully reduced the monthly daily average Grid-Buy electricity by 96.0% through modifications and improvements to the solar thermal storage system, the inverter, the Home Energy Management System (HEMS), and the hardware and software control system. The average daily Grid-Buy energy in April 2017 was reduced to ~2.7kWh/day from 48.7kWh/day in April 2016. Additionally, 12 days were at Zero Grid-Buy, running on 100% Renewable Energy.”

Vote here for the 2017 Solar Builder Project of the Year

“Mid 2016, we installed a 7 kW rooftop solar PV system with 27 c-Si modules with the Tabuchi Electric solar inverter and battery storage system,” stated Corpuz Poncho, President of Poncho’s Solar. “Since electrical water heaters in Hawaii can account for as much as 40 percent of the monthly household electrical bill, integrating the solar PV system with solar thermal is essential. To eliminate Grid-Buy needs on water heating, we customized the hot water tank into a thermal storage for Battery Optimized Discharge Hot Thermal Storage.”
The Tabuchi Electric 5.5kW solar PV inverter with 10kWh Lithium-ion storage battery provides multiple flexible modes of operation for users in both NEM-enabled markets, such as California and Arizona, and post-NEM markets like Hawaii.

“Our system monitoring software allows for optimization of energy usage by major household appliances to reduce Grid-Buy, with dynamic battery charging and discharging to maximize savings based on TOU rates,” noted Harumi McClure, President/COO of Tabuchi Electric Co. “The results from this study resulted in improvements to both the software and hardware of our hybrid inverter system. This enabled the Stand-Alone Operation of 21 days with ≤4kWh/day Grid-Buy, and of which 12 days were Zero Grid-Buy. Improvements were made to our new EIBS16GU2 system increasing the critical load panel to 3.3kW and doubling the capacity of batteries to 19.78kWh, and we expect our customers to see further financial savings on electricity and better return on their investment.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Santa Rita Union School District takes advantage of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program


Generate Capital and Sharp Electronics Corporation’s Energy Systems and Services Group (Sharp) have broken ground on a six-site solar PV and SmartStorage energy storage installation with the Santa Rita Union School District (SRUSD) in Salinas, Calif. With project developer SolEd Benefit Corporation and construction company MBL Energy, Generate Capital will build over 1 MW of solar production, integrated with 1.2 MWh of Sharp’s SmartStorage behind-the-meter energy storage systems. The systems offer the district a variety of long-term benefits: renewable energy from California’s most abundant resource, savings on expensive utility bills, battery back-up and microgrid capabilities for resiliency, and educational opportunities for the district’s elementary and middle school students.

The SRUSD installations will be among the first projects deployed under California’s revival of the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) supporting solar PV and energy storage installations for customers in California. Generate Capital President Jigar Shah said of the project, “Generate is proud to accelerate the deployment of solar-plus-storage systems to bring cost-saving, clean energy solutions to schools, municipalities, and businesses across California.” Depending on the time of year, the SRUSD solar-plus-storage systems can supply as much as 70 to 80 percent of the schools’ electricity needs.

“This is a precedent-setting project, because, in addition to providing substantial utility bill savings, the SmartStorage system will also provide backup power for critical school loads in the event of a grid outage,” said Carl Mansfield, General Manager of Sharp’s U.S.-based Energy Systems and Services Group. “In the past, commercial buildings have relied on expensive diesel engine generators to provide backup power. This project will demonstrate that renewable power generation coupled with a SmartStorage system is now a viable, bankable, cleaner alternative for backup power applications.”

Vote here for the 2017 Solar Builder Project of the Year

Generate Capital is a leading capital partner for solar-plus-storage innovators in the United States. The SRUSD projects represent one of the first solar plus storage projects supported by California’s recently restructured SGIP. With one of the largest behind-the-meter energy storage portfolios in North America, Generate Capital partners with project developers, technology vendors, and solution providers to build money-saving, environmentally beneficial infrastructure.

“California school districts face extremely challenging budgeting situations and any reduction in operational expenses can directly translate into money for teachers, books, or supplies,” said Dr. Shelly Morr, superintendent of SRUSD. “It is also important for our community that schools aren’t impacted by events such as power outages as this disrupts not just the school day, but parents having to leave work early or scramble to make other arrangements for their children. We’re excited to see these precedent-setting clean energy systems implemented on our school campuses.”

— Solar Builder magazine