SMA America further simplifies its Power+ MLPE inverter solution

SMA inverters

With speed as a top priority for solar professionals in today’s market, SMA has revealed an improved Power+ Solution, which builds on SMA’s MLPE solution to provide even more speed and simplicity. The UL-listed Power+ Solution, which the company claims is the fastest residential PV system to install, is currently available through its Authorized Distributor network.

“With the introduction of the improved Power+ Solution, we are addressing the need to accelerate and simplify the installation process,” said Nick Morbach, executive vice president of SMA’s Residential and Commercial Business Unit. “This includes fewer components, reduced labor and a single, simple monitoring platform. We are excited to introduce this next-generation solution to solar installers.”

One of the most significant improvements to the Power+ Solution is a major reduction in system components within a new Rooftop Communication Kit. This means faster installation, 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% faster commissioning within Sunny Portal, which was ranked the number one monitoring platform worldwide by GTM Research in 2017. SMA was also ranked number one in residential monitoring and energy management in 2017 by Navigant Research.

The Power+ Solution now also features SMA Smart Connected, a proactive service solution that can decrease truck rolls, lengthy service calls and system downtime, saving installers time and money and maximizing a homeowner’s power production.

Solar professionals looking for technical training can attend The New Speed of Solar Tour, where they will receive valuable instruction and gain access to SMA personnel. Installers will also benefit from training provided by solar sales and design expert Aurora Solar at select stops.

— Solar Builder magazine

Battery showcase: Four solar + storage solutions for your next project

Recommending a battery to a customer in a solar + storage project is no less complicated than recommending a particular solar array solution. Depending on customer goals of low initial cost, ease of maintenance, frequency of use, depth of discharge, source of recharge energy, longevity and warranty, however, choices narrow down rapidly. Lowest life-cycle cost, or total cost of ownership calculations, performed for site-specific use, also help customers understand the variations in side-by-side options. We dove into choosing among all of those options in this article. Now, here’s a roundup of four of the top solutions on the market.

1. SimpliPhi

simpliphi-battery

The SimpliPhi High-Output Battery, launched to the market in 2015, was designed to address the Marine Corps requirements for a high-output battery that could provide a sustained peak power output of 10 to 15 minutes without any risk of overheating, thermal runaway, fire or shutting down, as well as longer duration base power delivery over 20 or more hours. The battery architecture creates minimal electrical impedance, so SimpliPhi’s batteries do not have a thermal profile that requires temperature management or cooling and have never suffered dangerous thermal runaway or fires. This design allows for one unit to provide both peak and long duration power, while also being modular, scaleable, non-toxic and safe.

2. Crown Battery

crown-battery

Eco-friendly Crown1 batteries are optimized for renewable energy and the widest array of configuration options. According to the U.S. EPA, Crown1 batteries are 99 percent recyclable — more recyclable than an aluminum can or any other battery technology. Crown1 combines robotic assembly in Fremont, Ohio, with the industry’s heaviest plates and most active materials to enhance performance and lifespan. Proprietary Cast-On-Strap systems are 100x more precise than manual welding, for greater reliability and longevity. Automated testing and vision systems maximize precision, power and uniformity. Crown1 features 6-, 8- and 12-volt models with 33-390 Ah (20-hour rating) capacities.

3. U.S. Battery

US batter

U.S. Battery RE Series deep cycle batteries use the company’s exclusive XC2 formulation and Diamond Plate Technology to create highly efficient battery plates to deliver greater watt-hours per liter and watt-hours per kilogram than other flooded lead-acid battery in the market. In addition, U.S. Battery RE Series batteries reduce mossing and sulfation conditions by incorporating the company’s Defender moss shields and Outside Positive plate battery design. Defender moss shields are effective in preventing mossing shorts caused when positive active material particles dislodge from the battery plates and collect under the plate connectors. Also, unlike chemical carbon additives that are intended for use in AGM batteries, the Outside Positive (OSP) battery design mitigates the effects of positive and negative plate sulfation and further increases battery life, overall capacity and stable performance.

4. Trojan Battery

trojan battery

The Trojan Battery Solar product line features both true deep-cycle AGM and flooded batteries which are specifically designed for solar and other renewable energy applications. Trojan Solar AGM features a non-spillable, maintenance-free design which enables installers to customize the use and position of the batteries in various applications. Trojan’s Flooded Solar batteries leverage its 90 years of deep-cycle flooded technology expertise and are engineered to provide the best cycling in the industry. Both solar flooded and AGM batteries are manufactured in the U.S., and Solar AGM is certified for non-hazardous shipping per U.S. DOT/IATA regulations and tested to an eight-year design life under the IEC 61427 standard for solar batteries.

This section was featured in the January/February 2018 issue of Solar Builder magazine. Sign up for a FREE subscription here.

— Solar Builder magazine

Quick Mount PV debuts QRail — a rooftop racking system to pair with its mounts

QRail Quick Mount

QRail!

Quick Mount PV is simplifying your supply chain, today announcing QRail, its new rooftop racking system featuring patented QClick and QSplice technologies that simplify and speed installation. QRail combines with Quick Mount PV’s waterproof mounts to create a complete, fully-integrated racking and mounting solution for installing solar PV modules on any roof.

“With QRail, we now have what our customers have been requesting: a comprehensive, cost-effective single-source solution for solar installation on all roof types,” said Quick Mount PV CEO Claudia Wentworth. “And because of the QClick and QSplice technologies, solar installers will find that QRail exceeds their expectations for quality and ease of installation.”

How it works

Quick Mount rail

The patented QClick technology enables module clamps to easily click into the rail channel and remain in an upright position, ready to accept the module.

Quick Mount Q Splice

QSplice

QRail’s QSplice is the fastest, most efficient splice in the industry—a tool free, bonded, fully-structural splice that installs in seconds with no tools or extra hardware required.

Electrical bonding is fully integrated into every system component. All electrical bonds are created when the components are installed and tightened down. QRail is fully code compliant, certified to UL 2703, and backed by a 25-year warranty.
QRail is designed and engineered for strength and versatility.

The aluminum QRails come in three sizes, Heavy, Standard and Light, to match all geographic locations. QRails are available in 168-inch and 208-inch lengths, and in both mill and black finish.

Quick Mount Universal End Clamp

For optimal versatility, the QRail system is compatible with virtually all PV modules and roof attachment systems. Modules can be mounted in portrait or landscape orientation in either standard or shared rail configurations.

QRail comes with QDesign, a free online design application that enables quick and easy design of solar arrays, producing a precise bill of materials and all necessary engineering reports.

RELATED: We Look at the Pros and Cons of Rail and Rail-less Racking Systems 

— Solar Builder magazine

Watch: How a single person can install Schletter’s G-Max fixed tilt racking

Steel solar mounting systems manufacturer Schletter kicked off its new blog last week with a quick tutorial on how to install its next generation racking system: G-Max. G-Max’s fixed-tilt construction is ideally suited for utility-scale installations, but here’s the wild part to us: The G-Max system’s fast and easy installation is so simple that a single person can install the girder, head adapter, and strut without assistance.

  1. Position the strut onto previously installed lower location bolt.
  2. Position head into upper location bolt.
  3. Install bolt at upper post.
  4. Tighten post bolts using 19 mm socket. The post will pull in tightly.
  5. Mark all the tightened bolts for quality control.

If you don’t believe it, check out the video above.

— Solar Builder magazine

Panasonic, Enphase to partner on high-efficiency AC module

panasonic

Panasonic Corp. of North America and Enphase Energy Inc. are partnering on the development of high efficiency AC Modules (ACMs). To support this partnership, the 320W Enphase IQ 7X Microinverter offers compatibility with Panasonic’s N Series Photovoltaic (PV) Modules HIT (N325/N330), and will be made available to distributors starting May 2018.

“Panasonic prides itself on its dedication to delivering reliable products to our customers,” said Mukesh Sethi, Group Manager, Panasonic Residential Solar Group “This partnership with Enphase Energy will enable us to combine our products and expertise to offer a new solar solution that can help our customers meet their renewable energy needs. We look forward to our future with Enphase Energy and what we are able to achieve within the residential solar industry.”

A recent Enphase market survey of installers nationwide affirmed the value-add of AC modules, with significantly lower install times, and additional savings on logistics and overhead costs, making it a preferred choice for installers. Installers and Integrators also benefit from fewer inspection steps with factory-assembled and tested ACM products.

Panasonic’s N Series HIT® Modules are among the most efficient panels on the market, with high power outputs and greater energy yields due to their industry-leading temperature coefficient of -0.258% /⁰C. Panasonic solar modules keep at least 90.76% of their initial power output even after 25 years of use.

“The N series PV Modules are manufactured for peak performance, making them an ideal partner for the Enphase IQ 7X Microinverter,” said Mr. Sethi. “With a unique heterojunction technology and advanced bifacial cells, these high efficiency panels offer homeowners state-of-the-art features and maximum solar production.”

As part of Enphase’s seventh-generation microinverter platform, the IQ 7X Micro will support 96-cell PV modules up to 400W with peak AC output power of 320W and a Maximum Power Point (MPP) tracking range of 53-64V.

When combined with the Enphase Envoy Gateway, AC Combiner 2.0 with built-in Revenue Grade Meter (RGM) and disconnects, the Panasonic-Enphase ACMs will provide highly advanced PV systems to home owners and quick installation time for integrators and installers. Compliant with Rapid Shutdown Requirements of NEC 2017, the IQ 7 Microinverter System will significantly lower overhead costs and offer homeowners a safe residential PV systems solution.

— Solar Builder magazine