Alencon Systems updates its large-scale solar DC-DC optimizer

Alencon Systems LLC is debuting latest generation of its DC-DC optimizer, the SPOT, at Solar Power International 2017, Sept. 10 – 13, 2017 in Las Vegas in booth #1115. Alencon’s SPOT X2 has been specifically targeted at two, in demand PV applications: PV retrofits and DC-coupled Solar + Storage.

alencon solar optimizer

SPOT X2 improvements

  • The SPOT X2 is lighter and easier to install than previous models, while at the same time offering more power and higher efficiency than ever before.
  • The SPOT X2 features significantly improved on-board firmware to ensure greater energy yield. Headlining the software improvements in the SPOTX2 is an improved maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithm that assures optimal PV power harvesting under fast changing weather conditions.
  • The SPOT X2 takes its name from the improved printed circuit board (PCB) design of this newest version, which features two rugged main boards to drive the product’s four PV string inputs.
  • The SPOTX2 carries by ETL certification by Intertek for UL1741 (U.S.), CSA C22.2#107.1 (Canada) and IEC 62109-1 (European Union).

The SPOT X2 has been recast in a manner to make it easier to install to minimize the ‘soft’ costs – such as labor and ancillary installation materials – associated with PV retrofits. Minimizing installation costs is key to achieving the highest rate of return on PV retrofits.

“With a number of PV assets now changing hands as PV plants get older and PV fleets get consolidated, we are seeing a great deal of interest in retrofitting PV plants to improve energy yield. The SPOT X2 makes performing larger commercial and industrial or utility scale PV retrofits much easier than ever before,” explains Alencon Systems President Hanan Fishman. “Retrofitting a PV plant with Alencon’s SPOT can significantly increase PV yield by introducing more granular MPPT while at the same time improving safety and decreasing on-going O&M costs. Visitors to the Alencon booth at SPI will be able to see first-hand just how easy the Alencon’s SPOT PV retrofit solution is to deploy.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

iDemand says new charge controller eliminates AC loss from solar+storage systems

solar storage charge controller

iDemand Energy Storage (iDES3) has developed a single conversion charge controller that they say will shorten the time needed for electrical current to travel from solar panels to storage batteries, and in so doing, save energy. The idea is to take voltage coming in and convert it efficiently to low voltage, high amperage.

“You need high amps because batteries charge in amp hours,” iDemand’s Chief Operating Officer Raymond Trejo said. “Now everyone’s using standard PV inverters to convert solar energy to usable AC energy, and then they use a secondary hybrid inverter to take that AC and convert it back to DC.”

The problem with this method, according to Trejo, is a loss of efficiency, anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of the energy.

“Our approach was to develop a high voltage charge controller that takes the high voltage solar energy and converts it to low voltage, high amperage DC to charge the batteries,” he said. “So, it’s all DC energy dumped straight into the batteries. Other companies aren’t looking for a solution to the conversion problem because they design battery storage solely as a backup system. But our battery is capable of being fully grid-independent.”

PV Pointers: How to future-proof PV systems with a storage-ready inverter

Under development for nearly a year and a half, the new charge controller, which eliminates AC loss, is expected to go on the market in mid-June. It is best suited for large scale commercial and industrial operations that use a vast amount of electricity.

“Since this product doesn’t require a second inverter, it will save customers money,” Trejo added.
He pointed out that while the U.S. branch of Mercedes-Benz Energy recently announced a partnership with solar installer Vivint to sell backup storage, and SolarCity has merged with Tesla to do likewise, neither appear to be developing storage systems with a level of extended functionality equal to that of the new iDES3 charge controller.

iDemand_New_Charge_Controller-01 (002)

iDemand’s battery lineup includes the 9-36 kilowatt hour Echo Indoor series suitable for most residential needs, the 9-72 kWh Echo Outdoor and 36-108 kWh Indoor/Outdoor Alpha. Commercial systems include the 36-108 kWh Indoor/Outdoor Alpha, and the Mega, the smallest of which comes in at 500 kWh, and can be customized in 108 kWh increments. They are all comprised of fifth-generation lithium iron phosphate, LiFePO4, prismatic cell technology, which is safe and will not self-ignite.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sunetric, Sunnova team to offer solar+storage solutions in Hawaii

Sunnova residential solar-001

Sunetric, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RGS Energy, and Sunnova Energy Corp., a residential solar service provider in the U.S., have joined forces to offer comprehensive solar solutions with battery storage to residential customers in Hawaii.

“As one of the leading full service renewable energy providers in Hawaii, Sunetric is a perfect partner to introduce our new PowerStack service plan to the Aloha State,” said Jordan Frugé, Chief Marketing Officer at Sunnova Energy. “Through their well-established local marketing and sales channels, Sunetric will offer our advanced solar+storage system as one of the most affordable and effective solar power solutions available in Hawaii.”

Customers will benefit from no money down and low monthly lease payments for a solar+storage service plan designed to offer affordable, reliable and clean solar power day and night—while also lowering their utility bill.

Hawaii expands customer grid supply capacity (adding 20 MW)

PowerStack is backed by Sunnova’s industry-leading warranty that covers everything from the panels to the battery, and even the wires. The comprehensive solutions delivered by Sunetric include complete project management, permitting and installation, in addition to Sunnova’s lifetime monitoring, support and service.

The solution is supported by the customer self-supply (CSS) program mandated by the Hawaii PUC, which enables homeowners to install solar systems that do not export power to the utility grid. By including energy storage with their new solar system, customers benefit from an expedited PUC review and approval process. The CSS program was established to help the state to achieve 100% renewable energy status by 2045.

“Through our partnership with Sunnova, a leading residential solar service provider in the U.S., we can now offer Hawaii residents a very competitive and affordable solar solution that can provide around-the-clock renewable energy,” said Darren Jennings, Vice President of Sunetric. “With PowerStack, going solar is now an even more attractive option for Hawaiians residents looking to lower their energy costs.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Partnership between Clean Energy Group, Geli to focus on solar+storage for low-income communities

Grow-community-micro-neighborhood

Clean Energy Group, a national, nonprofit organization, will work with the energy storage control and monitoring software company, Geli, to help bring the benefits of solar PV with battery storage technologies to more low-income and otherwise disadvantaged communities. Using Geli’s new online energy storage and solar+storage design and assessment tool, ESyst, Clean Energy Group will provide free training and support to nonprofit organizations evaluating solar+storage solutions for low-income communities.

Through its Resilient Power Project, Clean Energy Group works to accelerate market development and deployment of solar+storage for affordable housing and critical community facilities in disadvantaged communities. Solar+storage can help strengthen these communities both through ensuring more reliable power to support critical services during extended power outages and to reduce the economic burden of rising energy costs. The goal of the work is to further clean energy equity by ensuring that all communities have equal access to the economic, health, and resiliency benefits that solar+storage technologies can provide.

“Our work with Geli will help to level the clean energy playing field in low-income communities,” said Seth Mullendore, a project director with Clean Energy Group. “With ESyst, we’ll be able to give communities the knowledge and free tools to explore solar+storage options without having to rely on proprietary industry models or expensive engineering firms. Low-income community leaders can use the tool to get a good understanding of the economics of a proposed project before reaching out to developers.”

Wells Fargo commits $2 million to low-income solar installs via GRID Alternatives

Geli announced the nationwide launch of ESyst in April. With access to over 10,000 electric rate tariffs across 1,300 U.S. utility service territories, ESyst was developed to standardize and simplify the process of sizing energy storage and solar+storage systems for commercial and industrial properties. The free online tool lets users perform in-depth site analyses in a matter of minutes – calculating both a property’s energy and demand charges savings over time. The tool allows users to select from multiple system options according to project needs, financial parameters, and supplier preferences, and includes functionality to download full financial pro formas and a detailed breakdown of how the system will generate value.

Clean Energy Group will host a free webinar with Geli to introduce ESyst and walk through an example of how to use the platform to analyze an affordable housing property on Thursday, May 24, at 1 p.m. EDT.

— Solar Builder magazine

Resilient Power Project — a pilot program to install solar+storage in low-income communities

Seven community-based nonprofits and affordable housing developers have been selected to receive grants from Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Leadership Initiative, as part of the Resilient Power Project, to build their organizational capacity on the benefits of solar and energy storage (solar+storage) technologies.

Resilient power solar storage

The Resilient Power Project, a joint initiative of Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute, works to deploy solar+storage projects in affordable housing and critical community facilities, with the goal of ensuring that the most vulnerable communities have access to the economic, health and resiliency benefits that solar+storage can provide.

“Incorporating a resilient strategy is a key component of creating healthy, efficient, and affordable housing,” said Julie Klump, Vice President of Design and Building Performance at POAH. “The grant will help us focus on the incorporation of resilient strategies at one or more current projects and across our portfolio.”

For this pilot program, Resilient Power Leadership Grants have been made to the following organizations working in the areas of affordable community housing, environmental justice, energy equity, and sustainability:

California Environmental Justice Alliance, Oakland and Huntington Park, CA
The Greenlining Institute, Oakland, CA
LINC Housing Corporation, Long Beach, CA
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Boston, MA
Sustāinable Molokai, Kaunakakai, HI
THE POINT Community Development Corporation, Bronx, NY
WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York, NY

The work of these organizations and how they will use their awards can be found here.

“Low-income communities often experience disproportionately negative impacts from dirty power generation such as diesel generators during power outages,” said Dana Bourland, Vice President of JPB’s Environment Program. “By increasing clean energy generation, through solar+storage, these populations are not only protected from power outages, but they will also experience a reduction in harmful emissions.”

“There are hundreds of resilient solar+storage projects now in development or deployed in the U.S., as more companies and consumers are becoming aware of the benefits that solar+storage systems can offer,” said Seth Mullendore, Project Director at Clean Energy Group. “Unfortunately, very few community-based organizations have the internal capacity to move solar+storage projects forward or to advocate for policies that could lead to greater resilient power deployment in their communities. This is particularly true for nonprofits that serve low-income communities, which are most in need of cost savings and resiliency benefits from solar+storage, but often have limited resources available to access new technology solutions.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine