Tigo revamps wireless communication approach in TS4 lineup with new device, architecture

Tigo Mesh

The software that allows each TS4 unit to act as a relay station for signals, Mesh extends the wireless range of communication up to 230ft (70m).

I admit it: I can’t keep up with all of the Tigo news these days. Here’s the latest two announcements (not including this partnership with Solectria), which complement one another: The new Tigo Access Point (TAP) and Mesh communication architecture.

TAP wireless communication

TAP is a new wireless device for communication between the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) universal data logger and the TS4 units. With TAP, Tigo wants to improve the data management of residential, commercial, and industrial solar systems by wirelessly communicating with smart modules.

Each TAP collects data from up to 300 TS4 units (~100 kW systems) or up to 600 modules using TS4-R-X-Duo (~160 kW systems). It also greatly improves safety with module-level deactivation for Rapid Shutdown. When paired with a CCA, the TAP provides unparalleled visibility into solar installations. Similar to the Tigo’s legacy Gateway product, the TAP is small in size with a wider range and increased module capacity.

“The new TAP was developed in response to the growing demand for reliable Rapid Shutdown solutions,” says Zvi Alon, Chairman & CEO at Tigo. “Our main goals were to improve visibility, simplify installation and ensure safety in a communication device that can now individually collect data from hundreds of smart modules. Tigo’s commercial and industrial project partners with large PV systems especially benefit from this cost-competitive solution in time for NEC 2017 to take effect.”

The Tigo system has three components. First, the TAP which wirelessly communicates with the smart modules and is hardwired to the CCA via an RS485 cable. Second, the smart PV modules that are equipped with integrated (TS4-X), retrofitted/add-on (TS4-R-X), or retrofitted/add-on for 2 modules (TS4-R-X-Duo). Third, the CCA which collects data from all PV system components – including modules, inverters, revenue-grade meter, etc. – and sends system information to the cloud.


Mesh is a new communication architecture to simplify the solar design process and accelerate commissioning steps. With Mesh and TAP, customers eliminate the need to address any roof obstruction or orientation constraint. The software that allows each TS4 unit to act as a relay station for signals, Mesh extends the wireless range of communication up to 230ft (70m). Mesh also allows data collection from up to 300 TS4 units (~100kW systems) using a single TAP or from up to 900 TS4 units (~300kW systems) using a single CCA. Most importantly, Mesh supports multiple communication paths between TS4 units to minimize packet loss, improve data integrity, and increase reliability at high speed.

“Mesh is the groundbreaking communication technology that makes Tigo’s TS4 Platform and communication accessories the most flexible, cost-effective, and robust solution for solar arrays around the world,” says Maxym Makhota, VP of Software Development at Tigo. “We are thrilled to roll out this software simultaneously with the new TAP so our customers can build and maintain efficient systems with as few costs as necessary.”

Mesh must be paired with Tigo’s CCA, TAP (or legacy Gateway), and UHD-Core TS4 units – integrated (TS4), retrofitted/add-on (TS4-R), or retrofitted for 2 modules (TS4-R-Duo).

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

— Solar Builder magazine

From small to large-scale solar + storage: Delta debuts Battery Energy Storage Skid, turnkey residential solution

Intersolar 2018 coverage (101)

Delta debuted its Battery Energy Storage Skid (BESS) Solution for industrial and commercial applications, as well as upgrades to its residential energy product portfolio at Intersolar North America 2018. Delta’s pre-engineered BESS is a fully integrated battery storage system with PCS scalable from 125 kW to 500 kW, energy storage up to 2 MWh, and capable of adapting to the various energy, power and performance requirements of commercial energy users, including peak shaving, optimized load management, self-consumption and optimization of renewable energy sources. For the residential sector, Delta’s energy storage solution brings together the company’s leading E-series inverters along with top-of-the-line batteries to create an all-in-one turnkey solution that can be installed seamlessly in as few as 15 minutes.

“The shift to greater reliance on renewable energy, in combination with growing applications for battery power and microgrid-compatible solutions, has made power consumption more complex and dynamic than ever,” said M.S. Huang, president of Delta Electronics (Americas). “It’s critical that energy users have the infrastructure in place to adapt to long-term trends, and fluctuating daily energy demands, easily and quickly. Our BESS helps to fulfill this need for the industrial and commercial sectors, providing customers with an end-to-end solution, while our residential products continue to empower homeowners to take control of their energy consumption.”


Battery Energy Storage Skid Solution

Flexible in its design and able to scale up to a capacity of PCS 500kW/ESS 2MWh, Delta’s BESS provides an ideal solution for various power, capacity and cycle life needs. Developed for outdoor applications, the system is rugged and durable, with a compact and modular skid-mounted design based on industry standards for cabinet solutions. The format ensures that this investment is protected against harsh environmental conditions and continues to operate at maximum performance even in extreme temperatures.

The solution offers a variety of application advantages for users, including optimization of self-consumption from renewable and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. With Delta’s BESS, users can also capitalize on a range of grid services, including frequency regulation, renewables smoothing and power quality improvement, as well as facilitate demand charge management and time-of-use optimization. For those integrating electric vehicle (EV) charging stations into their facilities, Delta’s BESS can also provide charge management. Additionally, the solution can serve as a backup power supply, ensuring continuous operation in the event of grid power outages.

The BESS system consists of three main components: (1) Delta’s battery inverter unit (PCS – power conditioning system); (2) the Delta-BESS-DC solution, which includes its battery modules, battery management system, switchgear and active cooling in one unit; and (3) an AC panel to recombine the AC output of multiple inverters. All components are factory-assembled and tested, reducing installation time and costs normally associated with field assembly.

Residential Energy Storage

Using Delta’s residential energy storage system, homeowners can easily monitor and manage their energy output and consumption, enhancing the value of energy production from PV panels, reducing overall energy costs and even creating savings. The solution is composed of battery technology; and Delta’s E-series hybrid inverters, capable of power backup applications, AC- and DC-coupled energy storage, and microgrid or dark start operations. Designed with ease-of-use in mind, Delta’s home energy solution comes equipped with 15 minute installation through mobile app, One Click service through mobile devices, cloud-based monitoring, auto grid selection, auto PV input detection and “Over-The-Air” software upgrades.

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

— Solar Builder magazine

Alternative Resource Group wants to install more clean energy in developing regions via blockchain

alternative resource group

Alternative Resource Group (ARG), a U.S.-based energy project development company, is out to level the playing field by providing companies with more control over the power they need. By tokenizing large energy infrastructure projects, ARG will bring clean energy to regions in the world that historically have had challenges in getting competitive rates for traditional finance to fund these types of projects. ARG constructs privately owned decentralized power plants in geographic areas that would otherwise be decades away from access to traditional power grids or sufficient supply.

“Investors attracted to ARG see the company as a paradigm changer that offers a simple but powerful premise – ‘Power anywhere in the world. Anytime’,” says Michael Lumbley, Project Development Director for ARG. “A major shift is underway in the way companies around the world find the electricity they need to operate. The change could lead to an increase in manufacturing companies in new areas around the world, creating lower-priced consumer goods. Even better – it provides cleaner power.”

Energy is one of the biggest issues industrial and manufacturing companies face each year. Regions with strong, stable power grids have a huge advantage in attracting industry and economic development.

Combining innovative systems, ARG’s modern power plants provide low-cost, cleaner renewable technology, including solar and wind. The coordinated system is backed up by both natural gas co-generation and advanced battery storage to guarantee power whenever it is needed.
ARG is also developing a new kind of operating platform that manages a secure smart-grid system using an Internet-based advanced blockchain backbone and digital ledger technology. The company is building modular micro refineries that process waste gas from oil exploration and convert it into a useable fuel, including jet fuel, gas, diesel and LP. These ultra-low emission refineries help ARG attain its goal of reducing emissions in energy production by 50%.


What does all of this mean to international economies?

“With the global need for energy predicted to double by 2035, it means the whole world is now open, with opportunities for new areas in the U.S. and smaller countries to enter the power production game,” says Lumbley. “This advance in energy infrastructure not only drives development in impoverished areas, it brings cleaner, renewable energy to the planet.”

Along the border in Mexico, for example, power grid operation is unreliable. Market reform has sparked new investment from other countries, and approved companies continue to move forward under Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But inconsistent power supply is severely hampering progress. High-tech manufacturers in the region experience brownouts and hard stops on million-dollar pieces of equipment that shut down, limiting operations.

ARG’s new system of energy production now offers a reliable way to stabilize the power grid for everyone in the region. The system is attracting attention from major industries, including maquiladora companies that partner with giant manufacturers from the U.S.
Eventually, this advanced way of thinking about electricity delivery could provide new energy resources to our increasingly power-hungry world. For now, ARG is providing investors with a new way to support change as a path to profit.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar FlexRack releases solar tracker solution just for First Solar Series 6 modules

Solar FlexRack Now Has Compatible Solar Tracker Solution for First Solar Series 6 Modules

Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in photovoltaic mounting and solar tracker solutions, announced a new compatible solar tracker solution for First Solar’s Series 6 modules. The solution allows First Solar’s latest technologically advanced modules to be quickly and easily mounted to Solar FlexRack’s advanced solar tracker technology.

Solar FlexRack’s new TDP 2.0 Turnkey Solar Tracker with BalanceTrac increases the size of modules per row (up to 72) and is optimized for 1000 or 1,500-volt solar modules. The new design lowers wear and tear on the tracker components and allows for shorter piles, just a few of the cost-saving features of the new product line.

“Solar FlexRack has worked closely with First Solar to develop this new solution for First Solar’s Series 6 modules. Series 6 is on track to be one of the most cost-efficient and highest performing modules in the industry. Combining these two technologies will deliver a solar power generation plant with exceptional performance and reliability,” said Steve Daniel, Executive Vice President of Solar FlexRack.

Solar FlexRack’s thin film solutions include TDP Solar Trackers and fixed tilt solutions for First Solar Series 4 and 6 and the latest Self Powered Solution for their solar trackers. Each solution offers a different set of benefits providing solar engineers with the design options they need to ensure their solar sites’ will perform to plan.

— Solar Builder magazine

Win funding and access to grow your concept in this DOE American innovation competition

Intersolar 2018 coverage (42)

Elaine Ulrich, Senior Advisor, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, explains the contest at Intersolar 2018 in San Francisco last week.

There are more effective ways for the government to boost U.S.-based innovation and manufacturing without tariffs. Example: The Department of Energy’s American Made Challenge Solar Prize competition is awarding $3 million in prizes as well as support from the DOE’s robust U.S.-based network to help build business plans, prototypes and funding sources for labs and innovators. Additional cash prizes are then awarded to the most viable concepts.

“What role does DOE want to have? To focus on early stage research and forge strong partnerships with the private sector,” said Elaine Ulrich, Senior Advisor, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, at Intersolar 2018 in San Francisco last week. “We know this is the cornerstone of our success, so a new way we speed innovation is through prize competitions.”

And speed it, it does. This isn’t a laborious grant application process, but a series of contests. Record a 90 second video with a strong pitch and answer four questions: What’s the problem? What’s the solution? Who is on the team? What’s the plan?


How to win

Participants must identify an impactful solution that addresses critical challenges related to American solar competitiveness, create a proof of concept, and secure a committed partner to test a prototype. Competitors will also participate in demo days, where they will pitch their idea to a team of expert reviewers, who will evaluate competitors based on the quality of their solution and the progress made during the contest period.

The $3 million in funding from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will be distributed through a series of three contests:

Ready! Contest (up to $50,000 prize per winner): Winners will be selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in America’s solar industry.

Set! Contest (up to $200,000 prize per winner): Competitors will work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept.

Go! Contest ($500,000 prize per winner): Competitors will work to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to perform a pilot test of the prototype.

“Within six months, you could have $750,000 in cash and $150,000 in facility vouchers and tapped into a full network,” Ulrich said. “This is just the first, of hopefully many of these contests.”

Participants in this program can be entrepreneurial individuals, representatives of a company, university students or professors, small business owners, or researchers at a national laboratory, as long as they are based in the U.S. and have the desire to bring an impactful solution to advance U.S. solar competitiveness.

Quit reading this and send in your video. Deadline is Oct. 5.

— Solar Builder magazine