ABB launches a few new eBOS components for 1,500 volt PV systems

ABB inverters

The shift to higher voltages is helping reduce the cost of utility-scale photovoltaic systems. Higher-voltage systems make installations more energy efficient, require fewer components and less wiring, and are less labor intensive to build. Most new solar plants have voltages of 1500V on the DC side and many are moving towards 800V on the AC side.

ABB is adding a new molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) for higher-voltage solar power plants to its Tmax PV range and launching the solar industry’s first fully optimized two-pole DC (OTDC) switch-disconnector for 1500-volt utility-scale plants covering 315-630A IEC and 250-600A UL current range.

Disconnector

The new design offers both a size reduction and an increase in efficiency and performance to help manufacturers of PV combiner boxes, inverters, and energy storage systems adapt to the industry’s rapid adoption of 1500V DC solutions.

The two-pole 1500V DC concept helps manufacturers improve system efficiency, reducing switch losses by up to 35 percent. Measuring just 150mm wide and 122mm high across the current range, the OTDC range of 1500V DC switches is also up to 30 percent smaller than conventional solutions. The compact size of the new OTDC range makes it possible for manufacturers to reduce the size of combiner boxes and inverters.

ABB’s unique design makes it possible to operate up to two 1500V DC strings with just one switch. In addition to the standard connections, the OTDC’s modular design also makes it possible for ABB to fulfil the non-standard requests that come from the quickly changing solar market.

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Molded case breaker

The breaker, designed to protect combiners, switchgear and inverters up to 1500V DC, is the latest addition to ABB’s complete range of protection solutions for utility-scale solar plants.

For 1500V DC installations with rated current up to 1200A UL and 1600A IEC, ABB’s product range now includes MCCBs and switch-disconnectors. The SACE Tmax PV range makes installation faster and reduces wiring costs for more advanced solar plants, helping utilities and engineers save time. The SACE Tmax PV offers design engineers, panel builders and inverter manufacturers a single–brand solution for photovoltaic systems installed anywhere in the world. All integrate readily with the electrical and mechanical accessories developed for the SACE Tmax T MCCB range.

For systems using string inverters, the SACE Tmax PV range now offers circuit breakers for up to 800V AC, the industry’s first to be type approved to UL 489 specifications and compliant with IEC 60947-2 Standard. ABB’s compact circuit breakers can break short circuit currents up to 32kA.

“We believe 800V AC will be a significant trend in large-scale solar plants,” said Marco Carminati, Global Product Specialist for ABB’s low-voltage breakers. “The response from partners indicates that it will be central to many developments in this field. We are now planning further innovations to support the shift to 800V so that solar plants have everything they need to optimize their power production.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Outback eliminates need for charge controllers with latest solar+storage product

Outback skybox

SkyBox True Hybrid Energy System

OutBack Power Technologies, Inc., launched the latest addition to its line of solar plus storage solutions at this year’s Solar Power International (SPI) convention in Anaheim, California. The SkyBox True Hybrid Energy System combines the benefits of grid-tied with the independence of off-grid, allowing system installers and owners to take charge of their energy.

The fully integrated design of the SkyBox system eliminates external charge controllers and communication accessories, significantly cutting installation complexity, time and cost. This offers an ideal solution for solar professionals who want to get involved in the backup and energy management sector, a market that has grown by over 800% in the last year. SkyBox is flexible and intelligent enough to work with current and future energy storage technologies and can be deployed with or without batteries.

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For end users, SkyBox delivers a higher level of energy intelligence and flexibility than what is found in traditional solar inverters. By measuring and monitoring power to and from any connection point – utility, solar, battery, generator and load – SkyBox optimizes energy production, distribution and consumption based on the end-user’s energy objectives.

Concurrent with the SkyBox launch at Solar Power International, OutBack is launching its new Energy Storage for Solar Professional (ESSP) training program. The all-new, 4-day training replaces the original Certificate Training Program and is designed for experienced grid-tied solar installers who want to expand into energy storage-based systems. ESSP also includes a full day of SkyBox training.

— Solar Builder magazine

Fronius launches inverter with integrated SunSpec rapid shutdown transmitter

Fronius rapid shutdown inverter

String inverter manufacturer Fronius launches the new Fronius Symo Advanced, a three-phase string inverter with an integrated Power Line Communication (PLC) transmitter based on the SunSpec Rapid Shutdown communication standard. In conjunction with the Tigo TS4-F cover, solar installers get a simple and cost-effective solution for Module Level Shutdown.

Jurisdictions with National Electrical Code (NEC) 2017 adoption require module level shutdown functionality in new solar systems starting January 1st of 2019. This requires all conductors within 1 foot of an array to be de-energized to 80V or less within 30 seconds of rapid shutdown initiation. This new requirement can potentially cause challenges and additional cost for solar installers, if the industry does not innovate.

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To provide solar installers with cost-effective, simple and innovative solutions, multiple members of the SunSpec Alliance defined an open industry standard for communication between modules, inverters and string combiners to support module level rapid shutdown requirements. This multi-vendor industry standard was published in September of 2017.

Fronius has been a driving force in developing this industry standard and was among the first ones to announce a product based on the standard. “We not only believe that industry standards have economic advantages for distributors and installers, but that they also ensure better safety. Since solutions based on a standard are known throughout the entire supply chain, we can achieve more safety and reliability. This is beneficial for the entire industry”, says Adrian Noronho, CEO of Fronius USA. “Furthermore, open standards give customers more choice”.

The new Fronius Symo Advanced three-phase inverter has an integrated Power Line Communication (PLC) transmitter based on the SunSpec Rapid Shutdown communication standard. This allows for plug & play connection with SunSpec based module electronics directly via the DC wires. In a first step the Tigo TS4-F cover is available. The solution eliminates the need for any additional communication hardware and provides the most cost-effective option for code compliance today.

This new inverter combines the benefits of the Fronius Symo with the convenience of an open industry standard. Featuring ten models ranging from 10 kW to 24 kW, the Fronius Symo Advanced is the ideal compact three-phase inverter for commercial applications. The light weight design, the SnapINverter mounting system and true field-serviceability allow for easy installation and highest reliability over the lifetime of a system.

In states with NEC 2014 requirements, the Symo Advanced can be mounted next to the array, eliminating the need for rapid shutdown boxes, since the inverter itself acts as rapid shutdown device. Thus, the Fronius Symo Advanced inverter provides a solution that adapts easily to the different requirements in different states – all with the same stock keeping unit (SKU).

Fronius starts shipping the Fronius Symo Advanced in January 2019.

— Solar Builder magazine

APsystems launches QS1 Four-Module 1200W AC Microinverter

AP Systems qs1

If you’re at Solar Power International this week, APsystems is unveiling something you’ll want to see: the QS1, a four-module, single-phase microinverter for residential applications (booth 2838). A new design for APsystems, the QS1 offers 75% faster installation time, while offering the highest peak output power and up to 3X faster data transmission speed than PLC. A wider MPPT voltage range will result in a greater energy harvest for homeowners.

The QS1 is designed to accommodate today’s high output PV panels up to 375W, offering 300W AC output per channel, the highest among microinverters. The unit also significantly reduces installation time and costs, taking the place of four conventional microinverters per each QS1 installed while still providing four independent MPPT.

The QS1 utilizes a common AC trunk cabling with the dual-module YC600, offering flexible mix-and-match compatibility on the same circuit to enhance site design capability and maximize circuit capacity. Both microinverters also utilize the same gateways; installers can choose from the ECU-R, for single or multi-residential installations, or the ECU-C, for applications requiring consumption monitoring and advanced contact/relay features.

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“Compatibility with the existing YC600 microinverter system gives the QS1 an unprecedented advantage,” said APsystems Chief Technology Officer Dr. 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.”

Today’s solar systems require a more robust communication architecture to manage significantly more data points and in-field software updates. A 2.4GHz wireless Zigbee mesh network offers enhanced data transmissions speed, up to three times faster than conventional powerline communication (PLC).

— 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