On the Scene: 11 cool things we saw at Intersolar 2017

Another Intersolar has come and gone, but the product innovations, large and small, are here to stay. At least until next Intersolar. If you missed the event, or didn’t have time to see all three floors, here are some products that stood out to us in the exhibit hall.

1. This quick driveline disconnect

Array Technologies Duratrack

Array Technologies is the market leader in central drive solar trackers. Array tries to minimize parts count wherever it can (150 MW of PV only needing 150 components total), and we stopped by the booth to check out some of the handy new tweaks made to its DuraTrack HZ v3. In addition to a built-in above ground wiring component, we thought this quick disconnect driveline was a smart, simple improvement for those who have always wanted a streamlined way to move the driveline for maintenance activities.

2. This simple tile mounting system

Ecofasten simple tile

Ecofasten maybe wins our award for variety of new solutions packed into one booth at Intersolar. Many of these items aren’t fancy – like partnering with Unirac on an install kit (packs of 10) – but as most of the names suggest, they are simple, which is often even better. Like this new (so new it isn’t officially named) Rail-Based Tile System. The flashing itself replaces one complete tile, so no cutting, drilling or grinding there. After the stud and simple seal bushing are fastened to the tile base, place the flashing over, pound it with a hammer to form a hole over the stud and then install the L-foot with a bonded washer and nut.

3. An AC module power couple

LG enphase AC module

Details on this here.

4. The concept of ‘Microstorage’

JLM Energy

JLM Energy launched a new energy storage product category called MicroStorage — a battery pack that couples directly to a corresponding solar panel, as you see here. JLM says the advantage of its Phazr’s microstorage approach is that a single solar panel can concurrently charge a battery and deliver energy to the grid. The simultaneous nature of electron flow is unique to JLM’s patent-pending technology. The Phazr is designed for large scale solar plus storage applications, and is also perfectly suited for smaller residential and commercial installs.

5. A totally new approach to ground-mounts

Nuance Energy

This could be a gamechanger for ground-mount installations. Nuance Energy has a new solution, inspired by an old solution: anchoring. Nuance Energy wants to lessen the amount of steel needed on a site by not driving any into the ground at all. Using the pieces you see above, a hole is drilled, the anchor is driven down 40 inches into the soil and pulled by an uplift device. As the anchor turns and is pulled there is a natural ballasting that occurs using the earth itself. Utility poles are anchored using this strategy. This could drastically save on traditional installation, and even created a new “lift and shift” category, where a portable unit is fixed into place on a drilling or mining site and then removed once the project has ended.

6. This wall-mounted 100-kW inverter

solaredge

The combo EV charger / inverter maybe received the most buzz on the floor, but we gravitated to its new wall-mounted 100 kW inverter. Yes, a wall-mounted 100 kW inverter. This prewired three box setup looks like (and installs like) three string inverters, but is commissioned as one inverter. Installing 1 MW in half a day is a possibility.

7. The wire management on this tracker

SF7 Soltec Bluxome party

Soltec made a splash at Intersolar this year as it tries to do more business here in the U.S. There is a lot to like about their product, like the amount of panels you can mount in one row (which makes for a more energy dense field), but it was the little things that stood out most. Specifically how the wire management of the system is housed inside the torque tube.

8. The potential of this smart home device for solar installers

smappee solar storage

I have no live photo of this (it was the afternoon of Day 3 and I forgot — give me a break, already.) but the Smappee is the coolest thing we saw the entire week. Attach it to the cable coming into the house, and the Smappee will listen to everything – what’s turning on and off, how much standby power there is, how much PV is being generated, and on and on. This gives homeowners much deeper (and easy to follow) insight into their home energy consumption and, at the same time, provides solar installers another touch point for customer follow ups and service. The low price point (under $400) makes it potentially an easy first foot in the door. Right off the bat, a homeowner is likely to save 12 percent on their utility bill, just through awareness and optimization tips from the app. From there savings could approach 45 percent.

9. This stepped-up decentralized tracker

solar flexrack tracker turnkey

Solar FlexRack launched its TDP Turnkey Tracker about this time last year. The update for this year is a newer, longer single row tracker (90 modules with 2 to 4 more posts), adjusted by a larger motor that will open up larger, utility-scale projects. The torque tube is offset to achieve better balance. The attention to detail is big for Solar FlexRack, which is why “turnkey” is built into this product’s name – its slew of engineers are involved in their installations to avoid adding their company name to the list of growing tracker system failures out in the field.

10. This tripod tile mount

Sun Modo tile

Sun Modo tripod

The last few years has seen a flood of great tile roof mount solutions enter the market. The TopTile Mount that SunModo debuted at Intersolar is an entirely above-the-tile system – no need to deconstruct the tile roof. The tripod mounting stanchion can be mounted on a tile ridge independent of rafter position. This could cut your install time in half, compared to a more conventional approach.

11. Smart surge software

Tabuchi Americas

Now with a two-battery system setup, Tabuchi Americas continues to improve upon its solar+storage system (now more than 20,000 installs worldwide). Thanks to an integrated transfer switch, everything needed to get a PV + storage system up and running is included in the package, which means at least $1,000 soft cost savings over an unbundled system. In fact, this is one of the first UL 9540 certified systems – the certification specifically for solar + storage systems. Updates to the system’s intelligence has also improved its defenses against power surges from things like water pumps.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarEdge unveils inverter-integrated electric vehicle charger at Intersolar

At Intersolar North America, SolarEdge Technologies unveiled the world’s first inverter-integrated electric vehicle (EV) charger. By supplementing grid power with PV power, SolarEdge says the Level 2 EV charger offers charging up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger with its innovative solar boost mode.

solaredge EV inverter

SolarEdge’s HD-Wave inverter, once integrated with an EV charger, will not only provide the existing management and monitoring of solar production, but will also enable EV charging from a single inverter and dashboard. The combined solution will offer considerable cost savings on both hardware and labor by eliminating the need for an additional conduit, wiring, and breaker installation. The solution will also eliminate the need for an additional dedicated circuit breaker, which saves space and a potential main distribution panel upgrade.

Based on patent-pending technology, the EV charger is embedded into SolarEdge’s HD-Wave inverter and leverages its solar boost mode. This mode utilizes both grid and PV to charge at 9.6kW (40 Amp) Level 2 charging, which is up to six times faster than standard Level 1 charging. If PV is not available, the inverter-integrated EV charger will use grid power to charge at 7.6kW (32 Amp) Level 2 charging, which is up to five times faster than standard Level 1 charging.

With a 12-year warranty, the inverter-integrated EV charger offers potential future operating modes, such as demand-response and charging at off-peak hours to optimize Time-of-Use (TOU) rates. The inverter-integrated EV charger is expected to be available in the last quarter of 2017.

Intersolar North America attendees are invited to visit the SolarEdge booth, #9421, to meet with local and global management teams, learn more about SolarEdge’s new product offerings, and participate in training sessions.

Intersolar North America Showcase: Here’s what to see at this year’s trade show

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarEdge inverter lineup now meets UL 1741 SA, certified as smart inverters

SolarEdge Technologies sent word that all of its single-phase and three-phase inverters are certified to comply with UL 1741 SA as outlined in CPUC Rule 21. As of now, all SolarEdge inverters purchased in the US are certified as smart inverters per the code that is expected to go into effect in September 2017.

“By certifying our entire inverter product line in advance of the implementation of CPUC Rule 21, our installers can continue to order products and be assured of a continuous supply, full stocking, and uninterrupted installation schedules,” stated Peter Mathews, General Manager North America. “This is part of our commitment to offer innovative and cost-effective PV solutions that provide value to distributors, installers, and end users.”

solaredge

By meeting these advanced inverter requirements, SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverters enable utilities to integrate increased levels of PV generation. Every SolarEdge inverter will be labeled for compliance as a “Grid Support Utility Interactive Inverter” and will provide smart inverter features to PV system owners and utilities.

The UL 1741 SA certification ensures that inverters stay online and adapt their output to stabilize the grid during abnormal operation instead of disconnecting. This functionality allows improved grid resiliency and increased PV integration. Certified smart inverters offer anti-islanding protection, grid support functions, low and high voltage and frequency ride through, voltage variation mode, power factor control, power ramp-up during startup and normal operation, remote powering and curtailment, and frequency-watt and voltage-watt control.

Arc fault detection is still a problem for PV systems – meet a possible solution

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarEdge unveils next-gen optimizer, commercial inverters, residential solution at Intersolar Europe

SolarEdge Technologies is presenting its next-generation power optimizer, new large-capacity commercial inverters, and complete residential solution at Intersolar Europe.

On the cutting-edge of PV safety and module-level power electronics, SolarEdge is unveiling its new S-Series power optimizer, which is an Intersolar Award Finalist in the Photovoltaics category. The S-Series power optimizer has up to 40% higher power density, is 38% smaller, and introduces a new innovative safety feature that extends safety to the connector level. The new safety feature is designed to detect heat abnormalities and initiate shutdown before an arc occurs in order to prevent potential fires. The S-Series power optimizer is expected to be available in 2018.

SolarEdge S-Series Power Optimizer

Based on SolarEdge’s track record of optimizing commercial-scale PV systems, SolarEdge is extending its commercial offering with the launch of larger-capacity, three-phase inverters up to 100 kW. The new inverters enable reduced installation time and cost, while also providing smart energy management control.

Coordinating PV, storage, and home energy, the SolarEdge residential solution manages and monitors solar energy generation, electricity consumption, energy storage, and device control. The complete solution enables homeowners to increase self-consumption and energy independence. SolarEdge will show its portfolio of inverters for residential installations including the award-winning, single-phase HD-Wave inverter, the new three-phase E-Series inverter which is smaller, lighter, quieter, and more efficient than the previous generation, and a new compact residential solution for 4-8 panels.

SolarEdge New Commercial Inverter

“Dedicated to making solar systems smarter, SolarEdge continues to lead the industry in developing innovative technologies that help to make PV more economic around the world,” stated Lior Handelsman, SolarEdge’s VP of Marketing and Product Strategy.

Listed as a finalist for the EES (Electrical Energy Storage) Award, SolarEdge’s StorEdge inverter is one of the only solutions currently available on the market that combines the management of PV, storage for both on-grid and backup power, and home energy management into a single inverter. The StorEdge inverter with backup power is already available in select markets.

Q&A with SolarEdge about new StorEdge storage system

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Boviet Solar partners with SolarEdge on 60-cell smart solar module

Boviet Logo

Boviet Solar Technology Co., a global leader in the manufacture of high-quality photovoltaic technology, has finalized a partnership with SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. a global leader in PV inverters, power optimizers, and module-level monitoring services, to include SolarEdge solar power inverters with Boviet’s 60-cell mono smart solar modules. As a result of this agreement, Boviet customers will be able to get a self-contained solar module, ready for installation with the power inverter already installed.

Boviet is one of only three manufacturers in the world to have such an inverter integration agreement with SolarEdge. It’s common industry practice for solar installers to source their solar modules from one vendor and match solar power inverters supplied by another. By bundling the power inverter with Boviet’s High Efficiency solar module, installers only have to work with a single supplier, which results in savings in both product sourcing and installation. In addition, purchasing solar modules with the solar inverters pre-installed ensures turnkey functionality and shortens installation time.

PERC Up: Boviet Solar tells us how it will provide high efficiency modules at a low cost

“This new arrangement with SolarEdge gives our customers a single source for both solar panels and inverters, which means less equipment to stock and transport to the job site,” said John Bereckis, President of the Boviet Solar USA Module Division. “It also allows Boviet to partner with one of the market’s leading solar power inverter manufacturers, in keeping with our commitment to technological excellence and superior solar performance. This deal is a winner for everyone involved and points the way to a new trend that will make installing residential photovoltaic systems easier than ever.”

Boviet’s High Efficiency monocrystalline, solar module delivers up to 25 percent more solar power from the system, and comes with free 24-hour per module monitoring. These are high quality, highly reliable modules able to withstand up to 2,400 Pa of wind loading and 5,400 Pa of snow loading, and come with a 12-year warranty as well as a 25-year linear output warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine