Meteocontrol, viasys are collaborating on solar site monitoring solution for North America

Meteocontrol

Meteocontrol North America, a subsidiary of meteocontrol GmbH in Germany, and viasys Intelligent Video GmbH are collaborating is to offer PV-system operators a turn-key solar monitoring solution at a great value and provide North American customers with professional technical support.

Consolidating the systems will result in cost savings for customers because video surveillance can be integrated into meteocontrol’s monitoring portal without the need for any additional infrastructure in solar farms, since the systems can share the same network components, cabling and control cabinet.

“The challenges involved in securing and monitoring solar parks are impressively similar,” said Anson Moran, CEO of meteocontrol North America. “The solution is optimized alarm management. We will conduct high-level data assessments using video, data analysis and artificial intelligence.”

RELATED: How Momentum Solar doubled its business with aerial imaging software 

“The collaboration will solidify our reputation as a reliable partner because our product portfolios complement each other perfectly,” said Martin Schneider, Managing Director of meteocontrol GmbH. “Through our new collaboration with viasys Intelligent Video, we will be able to provide additional value to the market.”

Interlocking the viasys and meteocontrol systems will simplify the technical operation management of solar parks and make them even more secure. When the viasys security system is integrated into an operation manager’s portal view, for example, they will be able to see what is happening near the system at any time and track it with precision all the way up to the access control. The meteocontrol monitoring portal signals the operating status in the status message and provides information as to whether the security system is active.

“There are also other developments in the pipeline,” adds Moran. “The operation manager should be able to receive the alarm messages directly in the ticket system, log them there and create the report for the investor. The messages will no longer need to be processed separately from monitoring in the security control room. We also want to set up an O&M camera-based “Awareness System” designed to provide operation managers with the required view of the system on site without the need to invest in an extensive and complete perimeter security system.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Unirac debuts shared rail version of its Ground Fixed Tilt system

GFT Shared Rail Pro Clamps 4

Unirac, Inc. has launched a shared rail version of its Ground Fixed Tilt (GFT), an engineered system of standard ground mount components supported by North America’s largest ground mount distribution network. The new shared rail design delivers enhanced system and labor optimization for maximum productivity.

Unirac’s commercial project support makes construction easy, from permitting through installation, including region-specific engineering and documentation. Kitted hardware, pre-assembled parts, integrated bonding, lightweight components, and straightforward connections allow for one or two-person assembly, and no specialized labor or training is required. System flexibility enables you to mount 60 and 72 cell modules and select from multiple foundation options. Unirac systems come with a 25-year warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine

ABB offers new code compliant inverters for residential solar installers

ABB Tigo

Following the new SunSpec communication protocol, ABB offers a unique configuration that ensures design flexibility and compliance with 2014 & 2017 NEC 690.12 requirements. The robust energy production of a single-phase string inverter, the rapid shutdown function and an optimizer option provides installers a stronger solution to code compliant solar installations.

“Finding inverters that can perform under the demands of challenging roof configurations and comply with the latest code requirements can be difficult,” said Mario Thomas, string inverter product manager, ABB’s Solar business in the US. “With these new code compliant options from ABB, installers have more options to choose from.”

The UNO-DM-PLUS-US family of single phase solar inverters deliver high performance with excellent power density giving end users the maximum amount of energy production. This flexible inverter comes with embedded connectivity and an efficient communication protocol, which enables the UNO-DMPLUS-US to be easily integrated within any current or future device for smart building automation, smart grid integration and with third party monitoring and control systems. The UNO-DM-PLUS-US also comes with remote Over-the-Air (OTA) firmware upgrade for inverter and components to enable remote software upgrades.

For jurisdictions that have not migrated to 2017 NEC 690.12, ABB’s string-level Rapid Shutdown 2.0 device provides a simple and cost-effective solution to implement. This product mounts directly to the PV mounting rail or PV module, and lay parallel to the roofing surface. It provides a fail-safe solution for emergency responders. Available in two configurations (single and dual), this rapid shutdown device requires no extra conduit, which minimizes additional material cost and associated labor. Shutdown occurs at the rooftop box when the utility power is lost or when the PV system’s AC disconnect switch is opened.

RELATED: Rapid Shutdown and Beyond: Inside NEC 2017 and the effort to streamline PV design

Tigo partnership

In conjunction, ABB and Tigo formed an operational compatibility between ABB’s inverter line UNO-DM-PLUS and Tigo’s TS4 optimizer platform. The combined ABB and Tigo module solution is now available. Combining ABB’s world-class inverters with Tigo’s TS4 Platform offers a flexible and scalable solution to meet all the different needs of installers and end customers. The connectivity package of the UNO-DM-PLUS allows for built-in smart grid capabilities such as dynamic feed-in control, which manages the energy fed into the grid, and uses SunSpec-compatible open communication protocols to ensure compliance with future grid codes and maintain off-the-shelf interoperability with other devices in the system.

Advantages of this system

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified third-party solutions offer Rapid Shutdown and optional MLPE configuration with string inverter power generation as well as the following advantages:

• Module-level Monitoring – Predicting and conducting maintenance on solar installations is critical to ensure that they last beyond their expected 25-year lifetime. With full visibility of a system’s performance through module-level monitoring in 2 -second increments, solar fleets can maximize system up-time, identify performance issues, and control operations and maintenance (O&M) costs.

• Safety – The UL-certified module-level Rapid Shutdown Solutions provide installers, EPCs, and PV plant owners the most cost-effective response to safety regulations like the National Electric Code (NEC) 2014 & 2017 requirements. For installations unencumbered by shading, the MLPE option provides the necessary safety and monitoring services to ensure systems meet local fire regulations and performance expectations.

• Optimization of Energy Harvest – With optimized modules, more roof space can be used to max-imize energy production. This fixes module mismatch and increases design flexibility by optimiz-ing each module when shade drops their performance. It addresses system-level inefficiencies and age tolerance while also benefiting from the module-level monitoring and safety features.

Once the inverter is installed, operators can turn to a smartphone to commission the unit via a simple, built-in web user interface. This enables them to gain access to features such as advanced inverter con-figuration settings and Aurora Manager, which facilitates OTA firmware updates (remote software up-dates).

— Solar Builder magazine

Aurora Solar sales, design software now includes HD aerial images from Nearmap

nearmap

Aurora Solar, a solar sales and design software leader that was in our nine customer service products to watch, sent word that it is now partnering with Nearmap for a serious upgrade to its site image interface. Through this collaboration, Nearmap’s up-to-date, sub 3” GSD imagery is now available within Aurora’s software, helping solar installers design and sell with exact precision.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Nearmap to provide aerial imagery to solar installers across the country,” said Chris Hopper, CEO and co-founder of Aurora Solar. “By integrating high-resolution imagery with our industry-leading software, we empower solar installers to quote with confidence—reducing the number of truck rolls required. This is the next big step in remote solar design.”

Previously, Aurora has enabled its users to design over 1 million solar projects, with over 60,000 projects designed in March 2018 alone. Now, in addition to satellite imagery, Aurora customers can utilize high-resolution and current Nearmap imagery for increased accuracy and informed decision-making.

RELATED: How Momentum Solar doubled its business with aerial imaging software

“We’re excited to announce this relationship because it offers a lot of flexibility for both Nearmap and Aurora customers. The partnership offers solutions for businesses of all sizes. Organizations can choose from different licensing models: pay as you go, with unlimited access to imagery, or per bundle through Aurora, which provides a more flexible option based on the needs of the user,” said Patrick Quigley, EVP of Nearmap U.S. In addition, existing Nearmap customers can also authenticate their Nearmap licenses in Aurora.

Alex Chelius of Momentum Solar notes that this integration will “significantly increase our productivity as well as accuracy.”

Aurora Solar users now can …

• Reduce costly, time-intensive on-site visits with Nearmap aerial captures. The imagery’s detail enables professionals to measure and design from the comfort of an office with a precision that rivals traditional measuring methods.

• Enhance their shading analysis and remote system design processes by utilizing high definition images to better model sites.
• Increase the number of leads they nurture by spending less time on each lead. Aurora users are now able to expand their coverage area rapidly.

• Access Nearmap historical captures so users can visualize the property through all seasons.

“Every design begins with imagery, and high-quality imagery helps designers create permit-quality drawings and game-changing proposals,” said JT McCook, sales consultant at Aurora Solar. “That’s why this integration is so exciting; it allows solar installers to create highly accurate 3D models remotely.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar FlexRack adds self powered option to its TDP solar trackers

Solar FlexRack_TDP Solar Trackers_2018

Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in solar tracker, mounting and project support services, is now offering a new, integrated Self Powered Solution for its TDP Solar Trackers. The safe and efficient technology simplifies the installation process by greatly reducing AC wiring and associated trenching, and providing a highly reliable system for large‐scale and commercial ground‐mounted solar installations.

The Solar FlexRack Self Powered option for the TDP Solar Tracker line is powered by a PV module and backed up with a rechargeable lithium iron phosphate battery. Providing reliable, green energy storage, our high‐quality battery delivers optimum charging and extended life. The fully bankable technology includes integrated battery and charger, DC motor actuation, stand‐alone functionality, high precision voltage and current sensing, crystalline silicon module and mounting hardware.

Each tracker has its own independent controller with the Solar FlexRack Self Powered Solution allowing your solar farm the greatest amount of flexibility and best overall equipment availability. Commissioning is simplified with user‐friendly, LED code interface and keypad.

Bundled with industry‐leading project support services, Solar FlexRack’s next‐generation solar tracker solutions offer solar developers and EPCs more options to optimize their projects’ designs and installations for increased energy yields and reduced installation risks. Solar FlexRack’s TDP Trackers and now, their new Self Powered option, continue to offer advanced designs that translate to simpler, faster installation, and cost‐savings across the solar project’s budget.

— Solar Builder magazine