SMA America’s residential storage inverter is now shipping

SMA America‘s AC-coupled solution for residential energy storage and management, the Sunny Boy Storage-US inverter, is now shipping.

SMA sunny boy storage inverter

“The Sunny Boy Storage-US offers intelligent residential energy storage and is equipped with outstanding features and functions to reduce future electricity bills,” said Nick Morbach, executive vice president for SMA’s Residential and Commercial business unit. “Combined with our other residential offerings, including the Power+ Solution, and equipped SMA Smart Connected, this solution will be a significant component for holistic home energy management with SMA.”

Using an AC coupled architecture, the Sunny Boy Storage 3.8-US/5.0-US/6.0-US offers a simple, flexible platform for new and existing PV systems that is compatible with high-voltage battery manufacturers, such as BYD and other leading brands.

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Up to three high-voltage batteries can be connected to a single Sunny Boy Storage-US, which gives maximum flexibility by using different storage capacities, even from different battery brands, in parallel. The concept is future-proof, allowing installers to add more battery capacity at any time. Energy management features make it possible for the inverter to mitigate demand charges as well as time-of-use pricing, offering homeowners maximum savings. The SMA Automatic Backup Unit, which allows use of backup power and is rated for 200 Amp service, is now available in conjunction with the Sunny Boy Storage-US.

Another key feature of the solution is Secure Power Supply, which enables up to 2,000 W of convenience power during the day or night in the event of a grid outage. Installers who are interested in purchasing a Sunny Boy Storage-US may contact an SMA Authorized Distributor.

— Solar Builder magazine

Assess solar + storage’s value in terms of facility resilience

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) updated its publicly available online solar+storage optimization tool, REopt Lite, which can be used to determine the sizing of resilient power technologies designed to support critical services. Recent disasters in places such as Puerto Rico, where widespread outages contributed to devastating loss of life, underscore how important it is to give building owners and emergency planners straightforward tools to evaluate how to make buildings more resilient with solar and battery storage.

“The updated version of REopt Lite marks a big step in the evolution of solar+storage analysis,” said Clean Energy Group Vice President Seth Mullendore. “It will help many of the organizations we work with every day – affordable housing developers, critical facilities managers, municipalities, and community groups – better understand the potential economic and resilience benefits that solar+storage could bring to their buildings, without having to rely solely on industry representatives and expensive consultants.”

Valuing resiliency

The majority of customer-sited solar+storage installations are designed to meet one of two goals: either to reduce electricity expenses or to increase energy resilience. Cost savings are a key concern for building owners and managers, which is why the economic benefits of solar+storage have made these projects increasingly popular for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other entities facing significant demand-related charges on their electric bills.

In addition to reducing demand charges and time-of-use energy rates, solar+storage systems also deliver value by providing power to buildings when the grid goes down, whether by allowing a business to stay open or residents to shelter in place; or, in the case of facilities like medical clinics and emergency shelters, potentially preventing loss of life. The economic and social costs incurred due to increasingly more frequent and longer-duration power outages can be avoided with properly designed resilient solar+storage systems.

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With REopt Lite’s newly expanded functionality, users of the tool will be able to compare and contrast economic and resilience goals in a publicly available, easy-to to-use interface. By giving users the ability to assign and adjust a value for resilience benefits and view a side-by-side comparison between resilient system sizing and costs and a system designed to maximize savings, the new version of REopt Lite will help decision-makers identify potential cost gaps and balance what may at times be competing priorities.

“While we have historically measured the benefits of solar+storage in terms of cost and energy savings, resilience is emerging as another critical value,” said Kate Anderson, senior engineer and manager of the Engineering and Modeling Group at NREL. “REopt Lite’s new expanded resilience capability allows users to compare systems designed for maximum economic benefit to systems designed to sustain critical loads during grid outages, and assess the cost-benefit tradeoffs of different options. It also allows users to consider how varying microgrid upgrade costs and avoided outage costs may impact the economics of their system. We hope this will be a useful tool for decision-makers who are considering resilient solar+storage systems.”

Clean Energy Group is also offering free REopt Lite training sessions and analysis support to nonprofit organizations interested in using the tool to evaluate solar+storage projects that would benefit disadvantaged communities. These enhanced resilient design capabilities were developed in collaboration with Clean Energy Group through its Resilient Power Project and supported with funding from The Kresge Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program and Solar Energy Technologies Office.

— Solar Builder magazine

Massachusetts’ first community solar plus storage project now operational

Massachusetts community solar

Sterling, MA residents, elected officials and solar and energy storage professionals joined Origis Energy USA and Sterling Municipal Light Department at today’s Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage project dedication event. The project marked the first solar plus storage project in operation in Massachusetts. (Photo: Business Wire)

Origis Energy USA and Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) serving the Town of Sterling, Mass., completed the Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage project, which is the first community solar plus storage and the first operational solar plus storage installation in Massachusetts, the project couples a 1 MWac rooftop solar installation with a 1 MW/2 MWh energy storage system to deliver an annual base load of 1.7 MWh in dispatchable clean energy to the town’s ratepayers. It was developed and is owned by Origis Energy USA, delivering power and storage benefits to SMLD through a Power Purchase Agreement.

Sterling, Mass., residents, elected officials and solar and energy storage professionals joined the two companies at the celebration under a “Community First” theme, highlighting the collaborative effort the project represents for the Town of Sterling and the many professionals involved with its completion. The dedication of permanent signage marking the installation location served as a focal point for the event.

RELATED: This community solar ‘Solutions Toolbox’ looks to grow the shared-solar market

A strong proponent of the project, Matt Stelmach, Chairman of the SMLD Board of Commissioners, said, “The Town of Sterling embodies the independent spirit of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Through the leadership of the Sterling Municipal Light Department, we now mark another milestone in our renewable energy leadership. We thank our ratepayers for their continued support and thank the Light Department staff and all of the professionals, led by the Origis Energy team, who have worked to install this important energy system.”

The Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage project utilized community solar program guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to craft a subscription program for ratepayers in line with state policy.

“We are so pleased to offer residential customers this opportunity to participate in our new Community Solar Program,” said Sean Hamilton, Manager, Sterling Municipal Light Department. “This program allows them to receive up to 25% of solar kwhr’s based on their total bill at a rate that will be protected for 25 years. We have achieved our goal with the Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage of competitive electricity rates while tapping the grid benefits of battery storage technology.”

Construction on the solar plus storage facility began in January and was completed the end of March. Just over 4000 Tier 1 solar panels are now located on commercial property owned by RockBreakers LLC and managed by Vincent J. CampoBasso, a resident of Sterling, MA. The battery system, Tier 1 lithium ion equipment, is located at ground level onsite.

“Every step of the way the Sterling team empowered our team and all those working with us to ensure we met the accelerated construction deadlines of this project” said Josh Teigiser, Director of Development & Energy Storage, Origis Energy. “Again, SMLD is providing a leadership example of renewable energy deployment. This progressive solar plus storage project demonstrates the viability of this technology for other municipalities in Massachusetts and leaders throughout the country and abroad.”

— Solar Builder magazine