Repower your 600-volt PV plants with this Yaskawa Solectria, Alencon combo

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Yaskawa Solectria Solar and Alencon Systems are combining their areas of expertise to start repowering 600V PV plants. The partnership brings together Alencon’s String Power Optimizer and Transmitter, the SPOT, and Yaskawa Solectria Solar’s XGI 1000 transformerless string inverter.

The integration of the Alencon SPOT and Yaskawa Solectria Solar’s XGI 1000 offers end users a tested and complete solution for repowering 600V PV plants with new high efficiency inverters and optimizers. The updated PV array will be able to remain negatively or positively grounded as originally designed.

Interoperability was confirmed during extensive compatibility testing of the two units at Alencon’s power electronics laboratory located at their Hatboro, PA headquarters. Testing included operating the XGI 1000 inverter in a constant voltage mode, where the SPOT performs string level maximum power point tracking while providing the XGI 1000 a fixed voltage that allows it to run at its maximum efficiency.

Both the SPOT and XGI series inverter are designed, tested and built in the United States and compliant with the Buy American Act (BAA), making this unique solution ideal for customers with mandates to comply with the BAA including military and other government entities.

“The testing conducted between Alencon and Solectria confirms that the XGI 1000 and SPOT platforms perform perfectly together, creating an elegant American-made solution for restoring and improving 600V systems.” said Miles C. Russell, Director of Product Management at Yaskawa Solectria Solar.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarEdge products ready to meet both NEC 2017 and Rule 21 Phase 3

 

SolarEdge

SolarEdge Technologies is ready for the implementation of both NEC 2017’s revision to the PV Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS) requirements for 2019 and is prepared for the roll out of Phase 3 of Rule 21. The company offers solutions that comply with these regulations.

“By preparing our product lineup in advance of the soon-to-be implemented standards, we ensure that our installers can continue to meet installation demand without any delays or disruptions,” stated Peter Mathews, General Manager North America.

SolarEdge will continue to support increased solar proliferation with compliance to Rule 21 Phase 3. With the implementation in February 2019, some Rule 21 Phase 3 requirements will become mandatory. Accordingly, SolarEdge will provide an expanded feature set for smart inverters to support a more interactive and stable grid. Features like data monitoring, remote connection/disconnection, and max power controls will start to become the new industry standard.

All SolarEdge inverters sold in California will be certified for IEEE 2030.5, while already shipped SolarEdge inverters can be updated for compliance. To support the increasing need for cloud connectivity, SolarEdge will also offer a selection of flexible cellular data plans for all its inverters.

The newest provision of NEC 2017 (690.12), which reduces the shock hazard in PV arrays for enhanced firefighter safety, is set to go into effect in January 2019. Requiring no additional rooftop hardware, third-party vendor solutions, or changes to installation, SolarEdge offers residential and commercial power optimizers that meet the PV Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS) 2019 requirements. SolarEdge’s fully integrated solution provides advanced safety compliance by controlling the system at the module level. Upon rapid shutdown initiation, SolarEdge’s power optimizers are designed to rapidly reduce the voltage inside and outside of the array.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar + storage inverter selection: inverter stacking vs. high voltage inverters

commerial solar storage simpliphi project

Scaling an energy storage system requires stacking both energy (batteries) and power (inverters).
Batteries that were designed to be modular can typically be stacked without limitation. However, inverter stacking presents more challenges. The question installers must answer is at what point does it make sense to jump from a multi-inverter stack of 48V inverters to a higher voltage inverter option.

Regardless of the energy storage demand, the power requirement of a project’s load profile is the most important factor when deciding whether inverter stacking or a high voltage inverter option makes sense for a project.

When considering a standard 48V battery-based inverter, stacking is limited to smaller outputs. In fact, most of the largest allowable 48V battery-based inverter stacks cap out at approximately 60 kW. That 60 kW is usually more than enough power to cover residential and even some small commercial systems. For systems larger than 60 kW, making the leap to a high voltage inverter is most often the best choice in order to achieve higher power output and cover larger loads, such as those seen in most commercial and industrial projects.

When deciding whether to stack 48V inverters or choose a higher voltage inverter, be sure to also consider the AC power demands of the project.

48V inverters are ideal for residential projects that consist of 120/240V AC loads, and high voltage inverters are best suited for commercial and industrial projects with 3-Phase 480V AC Power requirements. Choosing a high voltage inverter designed for a greater power output avoids expensive and long installation practices with extra equipment such as transformers and cabling.

Choosing the optimal inverter for the power demands of a given project ensures a less costly installation process and safer, more efficient energy storage system operation for the long term.

This post and the entire 12 Days of Storage was contributed by SimpliPhi.

— Solar Builder magazine

BayWa’s VP of Operations addresses Section 301 tariff on solar inverters

BayWa re

David Dunlap, VP of Operations at BayWa r.e. Solar Systems, explained why BayWa is not concerned about the Section 301 inverter tariff on the company’s blog. We found it insightful and are re-publishing it here for you to check out.

Equipment pricing has dropped so much and for so long, that the non-hardware costs for systems (customer acquisition, labor, permitting, etc.) are a much greater piece of the overall system cost than ever before. Looking ahead to the Section 301 tariff affecting certain Chinese-manufactured inverters, the net impact to the overall system will be much lower than in the Section 201 tariff on PV module, because inverters are a lower portion of the total system equipment cost than PV modules.

If we assume that equipment costs are now less than 35% of total system costs, and inverters are roughly 20%-25% of the equipment costs, this means very broadly that a total pass through of 10% increase in inverter cost, actually nets less than 1% increase in total system cost. This means the homeowner would only be paying roughly $250 more for a 7kW system. This should be well within the discressionary range of any installer to meet or beat a competitors price to win a deal, but more than likely is not enough to fundamentally shift their price structure or sales model.

I am hopeful that companies will learn from their module experiences, and maintain calm, rational thinking at the forefront as they start to think about how new inverter tariffs will impact their businesses and customers.

I think ultimately installers have suffered from cash flow challenges, high storage costs and strained credit lines. The unexpected long-term benefit has ultimately been lower pricing than the 30% tariff would have suggested. We don’t see any dramatic impacts (up or down) on the total installed volume, or on net price to the end-user.

There has been some consolidation in the installer layer of the value chain, which we think is due more to overall reduced market growth not attributable to the tariff. I have heard a few anecdotes to the effect that even when the Section 201 tariff initially hit and PV module prices increased 10% – 15% for some installers, the net impact on the total system cost didn’t merit a price increase to the end-user. Essentially the cost increase was absorbed across the supply chain, and the homeowner was insulated from a net price increase. There of course may have been local or regional variations, where some installers raised their prices and competitors did not, according to their own market strategy.

As an industry, we feel a great deal of pressure to always reduce prices to the end-user, and we’re afraid to raise prices under almost any circumstances, which can have a cost to ourselves and our businesses. Hopefully we should start to see a more or less stable price market where we have modest fluctuations up and down, and are all making much smaller adjustments to accommodate and plan ahead for those changes.

Take a deep breath and ensure that the urge to “buy before the price changes” doesn’t turn out to be that sale you should have ignored because you bought a bunch of stuff you didn’t need and it winds up costing you a lot more than you saved.

— 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