Solar PV Inverter Buyer’s Guide 2019: Faster installs, better serviceability and a focus on storage

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The 2019 solar inverter market is more robust and reliable than ever. From streamlined residential operations to beefed up large-scale string inverters to a cadre of solar+storage options for both on- and off-grid applications, there are products to match any solar PV design need. We reached out to every inverter manufacturer to hear about their latest innovations and to share some advice for installing their systems efficiently. All of those are below, starting with residential on through storage, commercial and finally utility-scale.

Residential solar inverters

Fronius | SnapINverter: Primo

Flexible system design, easy installation, integrated Wi-fi

Fronius Primo

The Fronius SnapINverter line offers integrated Wi-Fi and SunSpec Modbus interfaces, NEMA 4X rating, wide voltage windows, multiple MPP trackers and easy installation in 15 minutes or less. Power classes range from 3.8 kW to 24 kW, but with an identical look and feel combined with unique field-serviceability, Fronius SnapINverters reduce the costs for training and servicing. All Fronius SnapINverters offer wide voltage windows for easy system design. The Fronius Primo is available up to 15 kW, making it the biggest single-phase inverter available, offering the most flexible string sizing with string length as short as two or three modules (80 V startup voltage). It also allows for inverter oversizing of up to 150 percent within warranty.

Install advice: Few tools are needed to complete a Fronius inverter installation, but the most important tool in our opinion is a torque screwdriver. Using this tool and paying attention to the provided torque specifications of the inverter will always ensure a safe and optimal installation.

Monitoring: Free lifetime monitoring comes standard with Fronius and Solar.Web. In it, you can check the performance of a system in addition to performing remote updates. The Fronius Datamanager is included in all of the Primo inverters. This piece of hardware is the communications center for Fronius inverters for all applications. Whenever it is connected to the internet via a LAN or Wi-Fi, the Fronius Datamanager sends the PV system values directly to Fronius Solar.web to provide an overview of how the system is operating at all times.

Email: pv-sales-usa@fronius.com
Website: fronius-usa.com

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APsystems | The QS1

Can reduce installation time by 75 percent 

The QS1 is a four-module, single phase microinverter that doesn’t cost the equivalent of four individual microinverters either. The shared components reduce the overall cost per Watt in comparison with conventional microinverters.
On the technology side, the QS1 delivers the highest output power among microinverters today at 300 W per channel, can accommodate PV modules up to 375 W and has a 22V-48V voltage range. It also features four individual MPPT so each PV module is managed and tracked separately. The QS1 employs high-speed wireless Zigbee, which is up to three times faster than conventional powerline communication (PLC), creating a local 2.4 GHz mesh network for fast and reliable data communication between the microinverters and the gateway. The QS1 utilizes a common AC trunk cabling with the APsystem’s dual-module YC600, which means both microinverters can be deployed on the same circuit for better site design capability and to maximize circuit capacity. Because the QS1 tracks better through this voltage range at dawn and dusk, it gets the most out of the available sunlight, even in those lower light conditions, maximizing the energy harvest for the homeowner.

Install advice: We recommend that installers use a direct Ethernet connection from the gateway to the homeowner’s router. Even though Wi-Fi is an available function, a direct line is more reliable in instances when the homeowner changes ISPs or passwords. This will save the installer returns to the jobsite for IT issues.

Monitoring: APsystems’ EMA monitoring is a multiple-level, cloud-based platform that provides installers with detailed access to their installed projects, including module-level monitoring and analysis. Homeowners, likewise, can see module-level detail as well as a more comprehensive overview of site performance and health, all at no cost.

Email address: sales.usa@apsystems.com
Website: usa.apsystems.com

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SMA America | Power+ Solution

A proactive service solution to decrease truck rolls and system downtime.

Power+ solution-sma

SMA’s improved Power+ Solution builds on the company’s MLPE solution to provide even more speed and simplicity. The UL-listed Power+ Solution is one of the fastest residential PV systems to install. One of the most significant improvements to the Power+ Solution is a major reduction in system components within a new Rooftop Communication Kit, meaning fewer potential points of failure throughout the system and less equipment to service. Additionally, a single plug-and-play communication connection speeds installation and reduces labor. The new Power+ Solution offers 50 percent faster commissioning within Sunny Portal.

Install advice: SMA offers a useful YouTube library of Tech Tip videos for time saving instructions on the installation and commissioning of the Power+ system, including registration on Sunny Portal.

Monitoring: Power+ systems can be registered for free on SMA’s Sunny Portal, allowing module level monitoring of the whole system. Registration with Sunny Portal, the PV industry’s largest monitoring site (according to GTM Research, Oct 2017), allows installers to opt into the free Smart Connected service. Sunny Portal can be accessed via computer or smartphone app.

Website: www.sma-america.com

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Ginlong Solis | MLRSD

One rapid shutdown device for every two modules

Solis_MLRSD

The R&D Team at Solis HQ has created a new module-level rapid shutdown device (MLRSD) for the North American PV market. This new device meets all requirements of NEC 2017 Article 690.12 and is listed to the UL1741 (SA) and UL 991 Test Standards. Installers need only carry one Solis MLRSD for every two PV modules on the roof. Each Solis MLRSD device has dual inputs (for two 370 W max PV modules) and two PV Wire interconnection whips (MC4) for connecting the MLRSD’s together on the roof. The enclosure is rated NEMA 4X with an IP68 ingress rating. The enclosure is non-metallic and does not require grounding. An integrated mounting plate can be used to secure the unit to the PV modules or support rack. The MLRSD features a self-test, fault detection LED indicator. Solis residential PV inverters include an integrated, multi-channel PLC signal generator that can control as many as four (4) separate PV strings equipped with Solis MLRSDs.

Install advice: The Solis MLRSD utilizes MC4 connectors. An installer must make sure the connectors are fully inserted. Full, complete connection will ensure that the inverter does not detect a partial connection and post an Arc Fault Alarm message (series fault).

Monitoring: Solis Inverters can be connected to the Ginlong Solis web-based monitoring solution called Ginlong Monitoring. Solis inverters can be connected to a local router using the Solis Wi-Fi stick or connected to a local mobile phone tower using the Solis Cellular Stick. The owner/operator can get most information off the LCD screen at the inverter but data from each MPPT and all AC and DC production data is available on a friendly dashboard where owners can check current conditions and maintenance techs can review history performance and alarm code histories.

Website: www.ginlong.com

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SolarEdge | EV Charging Inverter

Six times faster than a Level 1 EV charger, using grid and PV simultaneously

solaredge ev charger

SolarEdge’s EV charging single-phase inverter is the world’s first EV charger with an integrated PV inverter. It enables homeowners to charge electric vehicles up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger through its innovative solar boost mode that utilizes grid and PV charging simultaneously. Reducing the hassle of separately installing a standalone EV charger and a PV inverter also means eliminating the need for additional wiring and conduit. By installing an EV charger that is integrated with an inverter, no additional dedicated circuit breaker is needed, saving space and ruling out a potential upgrade to the main distribution panel.

Install advice: When installing a PV system that will serve as a source of EV charging either immediately or in the future, be sure to factor in the additional power that will be required. In order to offset the increased electricity consumption by the EV, recommend a system size that is 3-4 kWp larger than a PV system that will not be used to charge an EV. By installing a larger system in advance, the homeowner saves on future installation costs, while the installer improves its ASP.

Monitoring: SolarEdge’s monitoring platform is free for 25 years. From a computer or a phone, homeowners are able to can smart-schedule for use with Time of Use (TOU) rates; track PV, EV, and grid consumption; control household energy usage; remotely control charging; view charging duration, charge energy, and percent charge from PV.

Email: infona@solaredge.com
Website: www.solaredge.com

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Enphase | Panasonic N330E HIT with Enphase IQ 7X

All-in-one smart panel for easier installations

panasonic enphase

Enphase seems to be in every AC module you find. Its most recent partnership with Panasonic on the HIT AC Series Module combines the efficiency of HIT solar panels with the intelligence of Enphase microinverters. An Enphase IQ 7X microinverter with Individual MPPT tracking (Module-level Power Point Tracker) is integrated with HIT high efficiency solar technology to deliver maximum power production. The AC Series alternative energy source offers extreme efficiency and high power output for residential solar systems. Panasonic solar panels are backed by a performance warranty that guarantees minimum power output of 90.76% after 25 years.

Install advice: The Enphase IQ 7X recesses into the frame of the AC Series Module, saving storage space, reducing trips up the ladder, and simplifying the purchasing process.

Monitoring: With the Enphase Enlighten mobile app, you can check your system’s status at-a-glance without scrolling and still dive into the details of your system’s health and performance, all while on-the-go. One tap takes you to energy production graphs and overviews of your energy consumption and storage (if applicable).

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Solar+Storage inverters

CPS America | 60-KW ESS storage solution

 Full ESS solution with full warranty and bankable performance guarantee

CPS turnkey energy storage

 

The Energy Storage Systems (ESS) for the North American market is designed for demand charge reduction, peak shaving and time of use shifting applications. These turn-key grid connected systems are a perfect fit for smaller commercial storage needs. ESS SW solution from its partner Pason Power, including upfront cash flow analysis from the Storage Architect platform and ongoing performance management, forecasting and control via the Intelligent Energy Management System (iEMS). It is UL 9540 listed for plug and play operation and Rule 21 certified for use in California with SGIP applications. Outdoor rated with complete climate control.

Monitoring: All CPS inverters, 3 phase or 1 phase, ship standard with Modbus RS485 communications. Our communication equipment uses industry standard Modbus protocol. The CPS Flex Gateway is a data communications and controls solution for the CPS inverter line. The gateway acts as a Modbus master data logger and gateway solution for communications and controlling commercial and utility scale inverter applications. This enables three parallel outbound communications options:

(1) Local pass-through Modbus data to 3rd party solutions,
(2) Ethernet based communications to CPS Service for remote diagnostics and updates,
(3) and a programmable Ethernet XML SunSpec Data Exchange connection for customers who want to manage their data directly.

Email: casey.miller@chintpower.com
Website: chintpowersystems.com

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Morningstar | Multiwave

The benefits of both low- and high-frequency topology

Morningstar Multiwave

With no transformer or cooling fans and fewer magnetics, the Multiwave is less cramped on the inside, making O&M simple.

Morningstar’s new MultiWave 4-kW inverter/chargers combine high-frequency (HF) power conversion with advanced, two-step voltage transformation circuitry, reducing circuit complexity while maintaining high surge capacity. It surpasses low-frequency (LF) performance with the advantage of being a HF inverter design. Precise cycle-by-cycle software controls for a pure sine wave AC, maximizing load starting capability and minimizing component stresses. It is truly bi-directional topology — its rated continuous inverter power equals its rated charger power and equivalent charging efficiency. LF designs often have different power paths for inverting and charging with much lower efficiency for charging. Morningstar over-spec’d components to achieve a hardware failure rate of less than 0.4%. And like all Morningstar products, it has superior thermal design. Morningstar has never used fans to cool high-power electronics.

Install advice: For the North American market, the pre-wired BOS models can cost less than comparable pre-wired inverter/charger electric panel systems that are often offered by dealers. The pre-wiring is designed to make an NEC code compliant installation quick and easy for up to two MultiWave Inverters combining the BOS model with a standard model.

Monitoring: Morningstar’s new Envision Cloud Service allows you to remotely collect data from all the sites you need to manage. Set up with Morningstar’s Ethernet MeterBus Converter (EMC-1), it is completely scalable for large mesh networks or site clusters.

Email: info@morningstarcorp.com
Website: www.morningstarcorp.com

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Outback Power | SkyBox True Hybrid Energy System

Can manage non-export, demand charge and TOU functions, regardless of which loads need backed up

Outback Skybox

The SkyBox True Hybrid Energy System provides the latest battery backup and energy management features in an easy-to-install, fully automated package that makes homes more resilient in the face of an unpredictable grid. SkyBox works with virtually any 48 VDC battery from traditional lead acid to lithium-ion and other advanced chemistries. Since the PV input is rated for 600 VDC, string sizing is similar to common grid-tie inverters – making retrofits easy. Designed for high-volume grid-tied solar PV installers who are new to energy storage, SkyBox provides simple integration with easy-to-identify terminals for Grid, Protected Loads, Battery, PV and Generator. The full-color touch screen walks users through set up for backup, non-export, time-of-use, demand-charge mitigation or all of the above.

Install advice: Popular batteries can be selected from a drop-down to streamline setup or custom settings can be used to accommodate others. SkyBox can even be installed without a battery and additional inverters and batteries can be added later.

Monitoring: SkyBox is integrated with OutBack’s OPTICS RE telemetry system for remote monitoring and full control. OPTICS allows installers and owners to keep an eye on system performance across their fleet and adjust settings remotely via the Internet.

Email: sales@outbackpower.com
Website: www.outbackpower.com

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Pika Energy | X7602  and X11402 Islanding Inverters

Easily integrates storage in light commercial settings with 208 V three-phase service

Pika_MAY17_006_web
Pika’s Islanding Inverters use a patented DC bus technology called REbus to seamlessly control solar and storage on the same inverter. With REbus, bus voltage and powerline communications synchronize the activities of connected PV Link substring optimizers and DC-coupled smart batteries with the inverter for resilience, self supply and arbitrage applications. The Pika Energy Island is a platform designed from the ground up. Hardware and software work together to deliver more power throughput, more energy capacity and more application flexibility than any other system on the market. Pika Islanding Inverters are able to deliver up to 50A of backup power to protected loads during power outages and control up to 68.4 kWh of Li-ion smart battery storage capacity.

Install advice: We expect to see our relationship to energy and the grid go through unprecedented change over the next decade. Anybody buying solar today will likely want a battery before too long, so plan in advance. With a Pika system that just means that you should leave some wall space clear near the inverter.

Monitoring: Every system ships with REview, a free system monitoring platform.

Email: sales@pika-energy.com
Website: www.pika-energy.com

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SMA | DC coupled storage solution

Can offer significant operating cost and efficiency advantages over AC coupled systems

DC-coupled-storage-solution-SMA

SMA’s DC coupled storage solution is built for new PV plants, and can be used to retrofit existing plants for operators who want the benefits of solar-plus-storage. The solution consists of SMA’s Sunny Central EV-US inverters with a DC coupling ready option and up to six 500 kW DC-DC Converters.

Install advice: SMA’s Application Engineering team can help determine the appropriate battery size and number of DC-DC converters for a particular array in a specific location.

Monitoring: SMA’s Sunny Centrals have many options for connecting to a PV plant SCADA system via copper or fiber connections through an embedded communications device or additional managed switch.

Website: www.sma-america.com

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Sol-Ark | 8K Hybrid Inverter

Built to survive EMP, solar flares, and cyber-attacks

sol ark hybrid

The DC Transformerless Sol-Ark 8K Hybrid Inverter is the most efficient battery inverter in the market, requiring 5-15% fewer solar panels, 5-20% less battery capacity and 25% lower cost electronics. Customers can expand as budgets allow. Built in 500 V MPPTs support five to 36 Solar panels (11 kW) DC coupled and also supports 7 KW AC coupling. Any type and size 48 V batteries can be used, even added later. Because it has 8 KW On Grid and 20 KW Off Grid peak power, home owners need only one. Install costs are reduced with a user wiring area and intuitive color touchscreen display. Sol-Ark 8K has many automatic modes: On Grid, Off Grid, Grid Tie/Sell, Home zero export, Battery Time of Use, Smart Load Time of Use, Peak Shaving, and auto gen start.

Install advice: Batteries can be an expensive investment. We are battery agnostic, but ask us for recommendations or use our online tools for sizing to a client’s needs. In 5+ years of business, we have never had a customer return because affordability and satisfaction are top priority to us.

Monitoring: In addition to the systems GUI graphical screens, free monitoring is offered on Android, Apple, and via web browser to understand and track solar generation, consumption, battery state of charge, and grid usage in 5-minute increments.

Email: sales@sol-ark.com
Website: www.sol-ark.com

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Commercial & Industrial solar inverters

CPS America | 50- and 60-kW 1,000 Vdc string inverters

Remote service diagnostics and remote firmware updates

CPS 50 60 kw

The 50- and 60-kW (55 and 66k VA) medium power CPS three phase string inverters are designed for ground mount, large rooftop and carport applications, specifically for the North American environment and grid. High efficiency at 98.8% peak and 98.5% CEC, wide operating voltages, broad temperature ranges and a NEMA Type 4X enclosure enable this inverter platform to operate at high performance across many applications. The CPS 50/60-kW products ship with either the standard wire-box or the H4 style wire-box, each fully integrated and separable with touch safe fusing, monitoring and AC and DC disconnect switches. Smart-Grid Rule 21 & UL1741SA Certified, plus capable of 0-90° mounting orientation (vertical, angled, or lay flat).

Install advice: Integrate the Flex Gateway in the DAS enclosure to simplify commissioning and streamline service operations for the life of the system (one card per 70 inverters).

Monitoring: All CPS inverters, 3 phase or 1 phase, ship standard with Modbus RS485 communications. Our communication equipment uses industry standard Modbus protocol. The CPS Flex Gateway is a data communications and controls solution for the CPS inverter line. The gateway acts as a Modbus master data logger and gateway solution for communications and controlling commercial and utility scale inverter applications. This enables three parallel outbound communications options:

(1) Local pass-through Modbus data to 3rd party solutions,
(2) Ethernet based communications to CPS Service for remote diagnostics and updates,
(3) and a programmable Ethernet XML SunSpec Data Exchange connection for customers who want to manage their data directly.

Email: ed.heacox@chintpower.com
Website: chintpowersystem.com

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Fronius | SnapINverter: Symo

Integrated SunSpec PLC transmitter for module level shutdown and field-serviceability

Fronius symo

The three-phase inverter line Fronius Symo features 10 models ranging from 10 kW to 24 kW, with the 208 V rated versions going up to 15 kW. The new Advanced versions combine the benefits of the Fronius Symo with additional value for states with Module Level Shutdown requirements, including integrated PLC transmitter for SunSpec Rapid Shutdown communication standard, compliance with NEC pre-2014, 2014 and 2017, zero tilt mounting, light weight and field serviceability. The Fronius SnapINverter line offers integrated Wi-Fi and SunSpec Modbus interfaces, NEMA 4X rating, wide voltage windows, multiple MPP trackers and easy installation in 15 minutes or less.

Install advice: Few tools are needed to complete a Fronius inverter installation, but the most important tool in our opinion is a torque screwdriver. Using this tool and paying attention to the provided torque specifications of the inverter will always ensure a safe and optimal installation.

Monitoring: Free lifetime monitoring comes standard with Fronius and Solar.Web. In it, you can check the performance of a system in addition to performing remote updates.

Email: pv-sales-usa@fronius.com
Website: fronius-usa.com

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Outback Power | ProHarvest XL 480 VAC

A compact form factor ideal for rooftop and carport installations because it can be mounted out of sight

Proharvest
The ProHarvest XL might be the most power dense inverter available today. This new 10 kW version is Rule-21 compliant and weighs just over 30 pounds. The waterproof NEMA6 enclosure and fanless convection cooling at up to 65 °C ambient temperatures allow it to be mounted in any orientation under the array, on the wall, or attached to a carport purlin. The compact size and integrated connectors eliminate the need for DC combiners and associated hardware, which reduces labor and BOS costs. With dual MPPT inputs and a 200 to 850 VDC range, the PHXL480-10k can be used in 600 VDC or 1,000 VDC nominal installations, reducing SKUs and simplifying design as well as installation. AC output is configured in a 480 VAC wye configuration, uniquely suitable for many commercial projects.

Install advice: The ProHarvest series inverters allow for modular and flexible building blocks that can be deployed in almost any size of project.

Monitoring: The ProHarvest Communications Gateway adds monitoring and control communication with local inverters over the power line. Once connected, it will log data and store it on an internal memory card. Information may be accessed through the touch screen, or over an Ethernet network. Power line communications (PLC) means there is no need to run separate wires.

Email: sales@outbackpower.com
Website: www.outbackpower.com

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SMA | Commercial: Sunny Tripower CORE1

Enhanced safety features and 2017 NEC compliance via the new SunSpec PLC signal

SMA-CORE1-RoofTop

The Sunny Tripower CORE1 inverter has been upgraded to new power classes. In addition to the 50 kW CORE1 model, a new higher power 62.5 kW model is available for large projects utilizing higher efficiency modules, and a 33-kW model is now available for projects with smaller or highly segmented arrays as well as 600 V repowering projects. The new CORE1 series will include advanced smart inverter capabilities to fulfill utility grid support interconnection requirements, as well as SMA’s next-generation DC AFCI technology for compliance to the new UL 1699B standard for arc-fault protection.

Install advice: String monitoring is a CORE1 feature that allows similarly strung inputs of the inverter to be benchmarked against each other, allowing for automated warnings if production of an input drops significantly. It’s a built-in O&M watchdog for the six inputs.

Monitoring: The SMA Data Manager M unlocks the updated Sunny Portal, powered by ennexOS. This updated portal allows for easy historical graphing of all data in the Analysis Pro section and provides improved fleet management. The classic Sunny Portal is available for internet connected CORE1 inverters, and either portal allows for signing up for SMA’s free Smart Connected.

Website: www.sma-america.com

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Utility-scale solar inverters

CPS America | 100- and 125-kW, 1500 Vdc String Inverters

No DC combiner box needed. A full featured 20 string input wirebox is integrated (and separable)

CPS 100 and 120

The 100- and 125-kW (111 and 132 kVA) medium power CPS three phase string inverters are designed for ground mount and carport applications at 1,500 Vdc, specifically for the North American environment and grid. High efficiency at 99.1% peak and 98.5% CEC, wide operating voltages, broad temperature ranges and a NEMA Type 4X enclosure enable this inverter platform to operate at high performance across many applications. The CPS 100/125 kW inverters ship with either the standard or “centralized” wire-box. The standard wire-box includes touch safe fusing, surge protection, AC and DC disconnect switches. The new centralized wire-box is designed for sites benefitting from DC combining near the array and locating the inverters closer to the point of interconnection. Both wire-box versions employ the CPS separable, “quick connect” wire-box design saving time installing and servicing the product.

Install advice: Install the Flex Gateway in the DAS box before commissioning the inverters in order to save time by commissioning the site at once, rather than each individual inverter.

Monitoring: The CPS Flex Gateway – normally one communications card per site – for remote service and product updates (to save service cost, increase diagnosis speed and uptime).

Email: ed.heacox@chintpower.com
Website: chintpowersystem.com

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KACO | blueplanet 125 TL3

Silicon carbide semiconductors for a higher switching frequency, less conduction losses and a lightweight device

KACO
The blueplanet 125 TL3 is a string inverter for decentralized, large-scale solar power plants. It is KACO new energy’s first inverter designed for 1,500 volt modules. It is also the first inverter to consistently incorporate silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors, which means the blueplanet 125 TL3 weighs less than 80 kilograms at a rated output of 125 kVA. This allows for a high power density, especially since the inverter allows for an oversizing of its AC power by 1.5 times while providing a reactive power reserve. The efficiency of 99.2 percent and the wide MPP range of 875 to 1,300 volts underline this high performance. There are a host of optional features available to adapt the inverter to one’s requirements: PID set, surge protection for AC connections and the communication interfaces, XL version with DC switch, WiFi. A standard feature is the protection against corrosion by salty air near the sea, which makes it possible to reduce the minimum distance to the coast from 2,000 meters to 500 meters.

Install advice: Use Ethernet communication for safety reasons. With the blueplanet 125 TL3, you’ll still be able to commission up to 100 inverters simultaneously. An Installation Wizard guides you through the configuration process. Later on, monitoring and maintenance can also be achieved remotely.

Monitoring: Monitoring data can be accessed via the integrated webserver, preferably using Ethernet or WiFi, or your chosen monitoring portal.

Email: kacoinfo@kaco-newenergy.com
Website: kaco-newenergy.com

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Sungrow | SG3150U-MV

Containerized design and pre-defined lifting points make it easy and quick to set

sungrow 2500U_SG3150UThis allows installers to use bigger block sizes and eventually reduce costs. The MPPT window for this product is 915 Vdc-1300 Vdc, which allows it to be used on almost all the PV modules manufacturers and technologies available in the market today. It is NEC 2017 compliant with insulation monitoring and ground fault monitoring functions. It can also be used to produce reactive power at night to support the grid. This inverter is coupled with a medium voltage transformer on the LV side which then steps up the voltage from low voltage to medium voltage. All the monitoring sensors/gauges of the transformer are accessible from outside which allows ease operation. The transformer also comes standard with FR3 oil, which is environmentally friendly. Like Sungrow’s previous central inverter, this inverter also has the modular feature to provides higher availability. The inverter has grid support features likes LVRT, HVRT, FRT, etc., and is compliant with UL and other regional standards. It has a peak efficiency of 98.8% and CEC efficiency of 98.5%.

Install advice: Every inverter comes with a maintenance schedule, and SG3150U has the minimum required maintenance schedule. It is advised to follow the specific installation and maintenance schedules as outlined in the product’s user manual.

Monitoring: The inverter has a Smart Control Unit (SCU), which collects data from the internal power electronic components and it also collects data from the transformer sensors. These transformer sensors are pre-wired from factory which eliminates the need of running more wires from transformer to customer Data Acquisition System (DAS).

Email: sales@sungrow-na.com
Website: en.sungrowpower.com

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Ginlong Solis | Solis 1,500 V 125 kW string inverter

All DC array connectors integrated into the enclosure for fast wiring and commissioning

Ginlong Solar inverters

The first thing an installer notices is how compact and lightweight the NEMA 4X 125 kW Solis 3-phase 1500V inverter is. The inverter is enclosed in a new, thin rectangular case that can be rack-stacked to MW levels. The new 3-phase product features intelligent redundant cooling for maximum performance in hot climates. A two-way communicating inverter (MODBUS / SunSpec), the Solis 125 kW can be remote controlled using SunSpec complaint hardware. This new inverter encourages installers to avoid installing combiner boxes and instead bring all strings back to the inverter and connect directly to the pre-installed MC4 bulkhead connectors. Inside the wiring box of the Solis 125KW, the installer will find 20 integrated fuse holders, load-rated AC/DC disconnect switches and integrated Class II overvoltage protection.

Install advice: Take your time during commissioning. The Solis inverters are particularly easy to commission so there is extra time for the installer to check all electrical connections and make sure that all the settings are correct in the internal menus. This extra few minutes at commissioning time will save time, money and headaches in the future.

Website: www.ginlong.com

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SMA | Sunny Highpower PEAK3

Maximizes the benefits of distributed PV plant design

SMA-Sunny-Highpower-PEAK3-5830

SMA’s PEAK3 inverter fulfills the need for flexibility, simplicity and performance in large-scale ground mount solar projects. The 1,500 VDC solution offers developers a cost-effective, modular building block that provides scalability while reducing balance-of-system and installation costs. Array combiners send one long pair of high-voltage DC conductors to each PEAK3 in the inverter station, with short AC runs to a collection panel and transformer, minimizing energy losses. Centralizing the inverters reduces communications cabling and inverter O&M time and effort. It is available in two models: 125 kW/480 VAC and 150 kW/600 VAC.

Install advice: Both AC and DC terminals are approved for copper or aluminum conductors, and no neutral is run to the PEAK3.

Monitoring: Sunny Highpower PEAK3 inverters are eligible for the SMA Smart Connected service, which offers proactive monitoring and O&M support that reduces plant servicing time and costs while maximizing system uptime, energy yield and ROI. Plant communications with the inverter are supported by the SMA Data Manager powered by ennexOS, SMA’s cross-sector energy management platform, providing an optimized interface for plant commissioning as well as intelligent monitoring and controls required in large-scale PV systems.

Website: www.sma-america.com

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Yaskawa Solectria Solar |  SOLECTRIA XGI 1500

Access every inverter at once from a single location

 

yaskawa solectria xgi

Yaskawa Solectria Solar’s SOLECTRIA XGI 1500 inverters are powerful 1500V string inverters, with models rated at 125, 150 and 166 kW that boast a 99% peak efficiency rating. The SOLECTRIA XGI 1500 inverters use standardized communication protocols to ease connection to any network. This allows system owners to access all inverters on site from a single location using a secured WiFi and provides convenience for remote diagnostics and firmware upgrades. This new level of capability will lower system costs and improve the efficiency of operations.

Install Advice: Yaskawa Solectria Solar provides two lines of 1500V string combiners to accompany the XGI 1500 inverter. The 1500V Attachable Combiner is designed to mate with the XGI 1500 inverter, for distributed PV systems where the combiner and inverter are located together. For a centralized system configuration, we provide the 1500V Remote Combiner, for use when multiple XGI 1500 inverters are located in a central area and the combiners are spread throughout the PV array.

Website: www.solectria.com

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Panasonic’s HIT AC module featuring Enphase microinverters shipping soon

panasonic enphase

The new Panasonic AC Series Photovoltaic (PV) HIT N330E AC Module with integrated Enphase IQ 7X Microinverter will be available for solar installation companies in late March.

“In today’s market, solar installers look to offer homeowners high powered and efficient modules that maximize output on roofs of every shape and size,” said Mukesh Sethi, General Manager, Solar, and Energy Storage Division, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America. “Our AC module partnership with Enphase Energy allows us to combine our award-winning, high-efficiency PV modules with the highly reliable seventh-generation Enphase IQ microinverters. We are certain that together we will achieve tremendous efficiencies and add value to the residential solar industry, for both solar installers and solar homeowners.”

What’s cool about it

Panasonic’s N330E HIT AC Series Modules combines the efficiency of HIT solar panels with the intelligence of Enphase microinverters. One of the most efficient panels on the market, the N330E HIT AC series features high power outputs and greater energy yields due to their industry-leading temperature coefficient of -0.258%/⁰C.

The N330E features an integrated seventh-generation Enphase IQ 7X microinverter. Panasonic HIT® N330E AC Series Modules are guaranteed to keep at least 90.76% of their initial power output, driving value and peace of mind for customers who benefit from the 25-year Panasonic TripleGuard warranty on panels and the Enphase Energy Limited Warranty on the microinverter.

Panasonic AC Series HIT N330E Modules based on Enphase IQ microinverters meet or exceed regulatory requirements set by the National Electrical Code (NEC) and individual states and are certified compliant with NEC 2014 and 2017 rapid shutdown requirements.

“The IQ 7X™ micros and Panasonic HIT modules are already our flagship combination, and the Panasonic N330E AC modules will now significantly reduce our install times and provide savings on logistics and overhead costs in the warehouse,” said Arno Aghamalian, CEO, Solar Optimum Inc.


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— Solar Builder magazine

Enphase Energy, LONGi Solar teamed up on these new AC modules

LONGi solar

Add this to your list of AC solar modules to consider: Enphase Energy and LONGi Solar are developing Enphase-energized LONGi Solar AC Modules (ACMs) based on seventh-generation Enphase IQ microinverters. The Enphase and LONGi Solar ACMs should now be available in the U.S.

LONGi Solar will initially develop two Enphase Energized ACMs:

  • LONGi Solar’s mono technology for 300-320W 60-cell will be paired with the Enphase IQ 7 Microinverter, and
  • LONGi Solar’s mono technology 340-375W 72-cell modules will be paired with the Enphase IQ 7+ Microinverter.

Both the 60- and 72-cell LONGi Solar AC modules have received UL certification.

“LONGi Solar is proud to work with Enphase to develop AC modules,” said Mr. Wenxue Li, president of LONGi Solar. “Solar installers will immediately benefit from increased productivity in addition to reduced costs of LONGi Solar’s High Efficiency monocrystalline Technology. We have great confidence in the success and longevity of the collaboration between LONGi Solar and Enphase.”

LONGi Solar AC Modules based on Enphase IQ microinverters meet or exceed regulatory requirements set by the National Electrical Code (NEC) and individual states and are certified compliant with NEC 2014 and 2017 rapid shutdown requirements. Unlike string inverters, Enphase IQ microinverters have rapid shutdown built in, with no additional equipment necessary. Enphase IQ microinverters also comply with requirements for distributed solar on utility networks included in Rule 21 in California and Hawaiian Electric Company Rule 14H, such as power factor, voltage and frequency ride-through requirements.

— Solar Builder magazine

Streamlined residential solar: Solaria, Enphase Energy, Quick Mount PV join forces

Solaria Power XT Enphase AC module

Solaria Corporation, a global provider of high efficiency solar modules, is teaming with mounting and racking provider Quick Mount and microinverter manufacturer Enphase Energy, to produce a single, unified system that ensures efficiency, performance and aesthetics. Available through select distributors, the complete solution gives solar installers the ability to streamline installation and ensure homeowner satisfaction at the lowest possible cost.

Solaria manufactures the PowerXT pure black solar modules using advanced cell interconnect and module production processes, significantly boosting power generation and providing outstanding performance with unmatched aesthetic appeal.

Quick Mount PV’s QRail racking system features patented QClick and QSplice technologies that simplify and speed solar installation. The result is the fastest and most reliable system deployment in solar.

The Enphase IQ 7+ Microinverter features Enphase’s two-wire cabling for ease of installation, and leverages semiconductor integration for higher reliability and better economies of scale. The 295 W AC Enphase IQ 7+ Micro combines efficiency, reliability and streamlined installation and is available either as a standalone component or in the factory-integrated Enphase Energized PowerXT-AC module from Solaria, which further improves installation efficiency.

Solaria will be exhibiting at booth 1251 at Solar Power International in Anaheim, September 25-27, 2018.

— Solar Builder magazine

Data Drivers: Inverter monitoring system trends in the residential market

data monitoring inverters

This is an excerpt from the 2018 Inverter Buyer’s Guide. Be sure to download the full free report, complete with specs on 136 inverters at the bottom of this page.

Don’t let the hard, boxy exterior fool you — today’s inverters are all about transparency. A key in inverter selection is knowing just how transparent it is: What portals are set up for you and your customer to use? What do they show? And when? Just after it’s failed or maybe just as it sees something’s wrong? How do the alerts work? Can you make adjustments? Will it make its own adjustments?

Basically: How well can you see inside that box?

We asked each inverter manufacturer to share with us how their inverter monitoring system works and what came back was a variety of strategies, from increased flexibility and visibility for the operator and homeowner to innovations in predictive analytics and automated processes. Some come standard, some are subscription-based, but all are slick, boost PV performance and improve your company’s O&M services.

Here are the trends among the manufacturer-provided inverter monitoring systems on the market.

Download the 2018 Inverter Buyer’s Guide

Apps for that

Mobile-friendly platforms are fairly common now, with differences coming in how much data is presented and what remote capabilities are offered.

APsystems provides complimentary module-level monitoring through its cloud-based EMA service for both homeowners and installers. With the EMA app, users can see the energy their system is producing at the panel level, so if the app shows that a particular PV module is underperforming, the owner knows to check for shading issues, debris, damage, etc. The online EMA portal also emails alerts to the installer if a system or unit is operating outside its standard parameters. This is particularly handy when a PV module fails or is somehow disconnected.

Some solar customers invest in a PV system because they want to fully take ownership over their energy bills. They are hands on and want insight into what’s happening and how the system is performing. There are more options than ever for providing this service.

Enphase comes with MyEnlighten for homeowners, which presents system energy production, overall health, historical performance and energy equivalents all on one mobile-friendly display. Real solar enthusiasts can take advantage of a paid upgrade to per-panel monitoring, which is available via the installer who activated the system.
The flipside for the solar installer is the Enphase Enlighten Manager, which provides: fleet management, upgrade management for existing fleets (based on production and consumption data) and simplified repeat-business generation tools to reconnect with existing customers through additional services like battery management, EV charging solutions and system upgrades.

Diagnostics and remote updates

Fronius software updates

The free Solar.web platform from Fronius offers remote diagnostics and alerts such as proactive notifications in a variety of dashboards.

At Fronius, the free Solar.web platform offers remote diagnostics and alerts such as proactive email notifications concerning performance and state codes, as just two examples, to help determine whether a truck roll is necessary or not. Remote Update via Fronius Solar.web eliminates another category of O&M complexity and cost. In just a few clicks, any Fronius SnapINverters is updated remotely from any web-enabled device.

ABB’s Aurora Vision Plant Management Platform and Plant Viewer lets homeowners get a real-time view of how much energy has been harvested along with dashboard views for fleet-wide performance management through reports, diagnostics, analytics or event alerts. ABB inverters also come standard with a wireless connection that enables system monitoring and over-the-air upgrades to ensure units are operating with the latest functions.

Satellite monitoring

Recently, SolarEdge added satellite performance ratio and mismatch reporting to its cloud-based, module-level monitoring platform (free for 25 years). The company says this satellite performance ratio service eliminates the purchasing, installation and O&M of sensors. The mismatch report helps to streamline the process of identifying underperforming modules by comparing each module’s peak power and energy production to the average of all modules in the site, and presenting each module’s mismatch as a percentage above/below the average.

Storage integration

The plus sign in a “solar + storage” system says all you need to know about the monitoring system capabilities — there are more added in.

Magnum Energy provides data monitoring through the MagWeb line of monitoring kits. The MagWeb provides live internet monitoring of the inverter, battery monitor and automatic generator start module. Using an internet connection, MagWeb makes live and historical conditions available through a web browser at data.magnumenergy.com. The MagWeb GT provides an integrated dashboard of the MicroGT system engineered for PV + storage systems. With the MagWeb GT, the production data from the array and the battery bank status of the storage system are accessed via your local network from one simple dashboard.

Tabuchi provides data monitoring via the Tabuchi Cloud. Here, customers can monitor PV generation, household consumption, the amount of power bought and sold to and from the grid and the battery charge. It also allows customers to compare data hourly, daily, monthly and yearly. The service is included with purchase of the Eco Intelligent Battery System (EIBS). Tabuchi Cloud allows installers to make sure everything is working as intended, while the simple interface allows homeowners to quickly see how they are saving on energy costs.

Automation

The next evolution in system monitoring is taking all of this data and having the system apply its own fixes. Pika Energy‘s REview Dashboard is provided to the customer with every Pika system to view performance metrics in comprehensive real-time reports, but its biggest advances come from system automation. While some inverters may notify users that grid or environmental conditions have changed, the Pika Energy Island acts automatically to meet these new conditions. When peak rate periods set in, local demand spikes or the grid goes down, the Pika Energy Island manages energy flows to keep system owners powered up and saving money.

SMA’s latest development in monitoring and alerts is SMA Smart Connected. Now available with the Sunny Boy-US residential line of inverters, SMA Smart Connected is a proactive service package integrated into Sunny Portal that automatically detects and evaluates system events and initiates remediation or repair activities. This decreases truck rolls, lengthy service calls and system downtime. Once it is operating, SMA Smart Connected will actively monitor a residential system at all times through Sunny Portal’s intelligent monitoring technology.

For more info on the newest inverters on the market download our free 2018 Inverter Buyer’s Guide

— Solar Builder magazine