Enphase Energy debuts seventh generation IQ microinverter

Enphase microinverter

Enphase Energy came out with its seventh-generation Enphase IQ microinverters to complement its Home Energy Solution this week. The Enphase IQ 7 Micro and Enphase IQ 7+ Micro have already started shipping to distributors in the United States.

What’s new in Gen 7?

Seventh-generation IQ icroinverters are powered by Enphase’s software-defined architecture which results in an efficient design, and a single hardware SKU worldwide. Enphase says its IQ 7 family of microinverters produce 4 percent more power, and are 19 percent lighter and 17 percent smaller than the IQ 6 family of microinverters. The new IQ microinverters offer the same ease of installation with two-wire cabling, and leverages semiconductor integration for higher reliability and better economies of scale.

The 250 W AC Enphase IQ 7 Micro and the 295 W AC Enphase IQ 7+ Micro will be followed by a new, high-power 320 W AC variant, the Enphase IQ 7X Micro, to address 96-cell modules. Enphase IQ 7X Micros are expected to be introduced in the second quarter of 2018.

“With the IQ 7 family of microinverters, we continue to deliver on our vision of innovation and high quality,” said Badri Kothandaraman, president and CEO of Enphase Energy. “This in-line upgrade to the IQ family of microinverters represents another milestone in our mission to reduce manufacturing costs, and reach our 30% gross margin, 20% OPEX, and 10% operating income (30/20/10) target operating model by the fourth quarter of 2018.”

— Solar Builder magazine

11 things to know about the SolarBOS AC Combiner

SolarBOS introduced the industry’s first fused AC combiner for string inverter applications in September 2016. Since then, SolarBOS engineers and product managers have refined and improved the product offering, having supported solar projects combining as many as 36 string inverters with a single AC combiner. SolarBOS now says its AC Combiner line will complement all string inverter applications.

SolarBOS AC Combiner highlights

SolarBOS AC Combiners are easily customizable for wide range of projects. We have some info on it in our Jan/Feb issue, but there are 11 specs to note. solarbos ac combiner

Bi-directional fuses. Fuses are bi-directional and can be back fed. Breaker panels are typically designed for load applications, when used “backwards” for supply equipment the breakers must be back feed capable.

Inverter isolation. Many string inverters include load break disconnecting means. This allows the use of non-load break fuseholders to isolate inverters and realize a significant cost savings.

Output Bussing. Custom output busses allow direct and convenient connection to transformers.

Outdoor rated NEMA-4 enclosures. SolarBOS AC Combiners can be mounted on their back reducing shading and racking requirements.

Interrupt rating. Fuses offer high interrupt rating as standard, commonly 200kAIC. Breaker cost increases drastically as interrupt ratings increase.

Supply vs load application. AC Combiners are designed specifically for supply as opposed to load applications. Breakers are good when there are variable loads (when you plug in a hair dryer and trip a breaker, the ease of resetting it very convenient). In solar applications, loads are not variable and sources are current limited.

Reduced PPE requirements. Current limiting fuses reduce arc flash energy by a factor of 5-10 and the level of PPE required for servicing.

Reduced Maintenance. Fuses do not require annual testing. Breakers require testing at regular intervals.

100% operation and reliability. Breakers degrade every time they trip or are used as a disconnect. Fuses do not.

OCPD coordination. OCPD coordination ensures the correct OCPD trips if an overcurrent event takes place. “Correct” refers to the OCPD most appropriate and closest to the fault. This is easily ensured with fuse coordination ratios. Breakers require a more complicated study. Trip curves are specific to each breaker model (as opposed to common across a fuse class) and complicate breaker replacement.

— Solar Builder magazine

SMA, Tigo offer new unit just for module-level rapid-shutdown

Tigo rapid shutdown SMA

SMA and Tigo have announced support of a new SunSpec compatible module-level rapid shutdown unit, the TS4-F (Fire Safety). The solution joins the current TS4 platform with a focus on emergency responder safety. It uses proven MLPE technology from SMA and Tigo to provide a rapid shutdown compliant platform, strictly focused on NEC compliance.

Two options

Tigo and SMA are offering two options for installation: The TS4-F is integrated into a smart module. The TS4-R-F retrofits a regular standard module with a module-level rapid shutdown device and is available through SMA.

“We have learned that commercial installers often need rapid shutdown capability but may see less need for optimization or module-level monitoring. Thus, they are looking for a cost-effective solution to provide the necessary safety functions,” said Nick Morbach, executive vice president of SMA’s Residential and Commercial Business Unit. “The new TS4-F and TS4-R-F units in combination with our SunSpec compatible string inverters will meet their needs, offering a high-quality option to comply with the NEC 2017 rapid shutdown requirements.”

The new rapid shutdown solution is a cost-effective way to fulfill UL 1741, NEC 2014, and NEC 2017 requirements – especially the stricter requirements for inside the array boundary that will be effective in January 2019. It will be compatible with the power line-based SunSpec Communication Signal for Rapid Shutdown, making it simple and robust. Using the existing DC wires between the inverter and module-level electronics as a communication channel will significantly reduce installation time.

The full system safety is enhanced by the integration with SMA’s arc fault detection (AFCI). They join SMA’s portfolio of products that comply with rapid shutdown requirements, including the Power+ Solution and the Rapid Shutdown System.

“We value SMA’s collaboration to offer this solution for residential and commercial installers,” said Zvi Alon, CEO of Tigo Energy. “We are confident that the safety features and cost-effectiveness of the TS4 platform will meet the needs of many customers.”

SMA is planning for its U.S. string inverter portfolio to be fully SunSpec Rapid Shutdown compliant in time for customers to meet the module-level rapid shutdown requirements of NEC 2017, which will become mandatory in most states by January 1, 2019.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarEdge, OMRON team up on optimized high-voltage solar inverter solution for Japanese market

Commercial Triad EU (1)

Big-time solar electronics providers, SolarEdge Technologies and OMRON Corp. are launching a new DC optimized inverter solution for Japan’s high-voltage PV market. OMRON will offer SolarEdge’s three-phase DC optimized inverter solution, consisting of inverters, power optimizers, and module-level monitoring, for the high-voltage Japanese PV market.

SolarEdge offers a DC optimized solution that manages and monitors energy at the module level in order to maximize power generation and increase string-design flexibility. These advantages open up a wide-range of new PV installation possibilities, including sites suffering from shade or uneven slopes. This means that installers no longer need to consider factors such as site location, orientation, and solar irradiance when designing PV sites.

As part of the launch, SolarEdge will supply high-voltage, three-phase inverters and power optimizers to OMRON for local distribution and sales. OMRON’s after-sales service network of 140 locations nationwide is available for the SolarEdge solution following the launch. Availability is planned for March 2018.

How OMRON reduces solar module PID potential through its inverter topology

With Japan’s energy market having experienced various transformations in recent years, its PV market has been steadily expanding following the introduction of its renewable energy feed in tariff (FIT) program that began in the summer of 2012. As such, further innovation in PV solutions is required in order to ensure efficient energy usage and to maintain a balance in the country’s energy supply and demand.

OMRON is a global leader in the field of automation based on its core technology of “Sensing & Control + Think.” Established in 1933, OMRON has about 36,000 employees worldwide, working to provide products and services in 117 countries. The company’s business fields cover a broad spectrum, ranging from industrial automation and electronic components to automotive electronics, social infrastructure systems, healthcare, and environmental solutions.

— Solar Builder magazine

APsystems microinverters now on Sunnova’s approved vendor list


APsystems joined the approved vendor list for Sunnova, one of the leading U.S. residential solar and energy storage service provider. The agreement brings APsystems advanced microinverter technology to Sunnova’s portfolio of  solar services. Sunnova offers an array of solar lease, lease-to-own, and power-purchase options for customers all across the United States.

“Sunnova has earned a strong reputation for easy, no-nonsense solar packages for consumers,” said Jason Higginson, Senior Director of Marketing for APsystems USA. “We’re glad to bring our solar microinverter technology to their platform, to help more homeowners nationwide enjoy energy self-sufficiency and savings.”

“Our goal is to offer our customers a brilliant choice for energizing their lives,” said John Santo Salvo, SVP of Channel Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Sunnova. “We believe APsystems’ advanced microinverter offering is an ideal addition to our customer-empowering portfolio of solar solutions.”

APsystems is listed on Sunnova’s 2018 Approved Vendor List and is now an option in their system solution platform.

— Solar Builder magazine