Tigo debuts its most cost-effective rapid shutdown solution yet

Tigo TS4 rapidshut down

Tigo released its new TS4-F (Fire Safety) to join the current TS4 Platform of integrated and retrofit/add-on junction box covers. As the most cost-effective rapid shutdown solution in the TS4 Platform, the TS4-F will accompany the family of products in the form of integrated PV modules by manufacturers worldwide. Consult your preferred PV module supplier or visit Tigo’s website for the new “integrated TS4-F” or “retrofit/add-on TS4-R-F,” available in Q1 2018.

As part of the TS4 Platform, the TS4-F utilizes the Ultra-High Definition Core (UHD-Core) and supports any PV module up to 475W with voltage up to 90V and current up to 12A. Furthermore, TS4-F uniquely supports the SunSpec Alliance signaling specification with powerline communication (PLC) and will work with any SunSpec-compliant rapid shutdown initiator. Tigo tested compatibility with multiple inverter suppliers – including SMA – and will continue to expand its compliant inverter portfolio .

The highlights of TS4-F include:

• NEC 690.12 2017 Rapid Shutdown solution
• Compatible with all modules up to 475W
• Supports SunSpec Alliance rapid shutdown specifications
• Compatible with all SunSpec initiators
• Module-level deactivation
• Automatic or manual shutdown
• Over-temperature and over-voltage protection
• Patent protected
• Easy installation
• Ultra-High Definition Core (UHD-Core) technology for superior performance
• UL-certified pending
• Available as a PV module integrated and retrofit/add-solution

“TS4-F was developed to offer our customers the first patent-protected MLPE in the market that supports SunSpec Alliance signaling specifications,” says Zvi Alon, CEO at Tigo. “For PV system owners who wish to address only the mandatory shutdown needs and do not require optimization or monitoring, the TS4-F provides a certified, cost-effective rapid shutdown solution with all the safety features of the TS4 Platform.”

What’s the difference between TS4-F and TS4-S?

Tigo’s TS4-F and TS4-S are both rapid shutdown devices, however TS4-F is a PLC SunSpec-compliant signaling while TS4-S uses wireless signaling. TS4-F requires an initiator to comply with the rapid shutdown requirements while TS4-S uses Tigo’s CCA and Gateway to transmit a rapid shutdown signal. TS4-F cost-effectively targets rapid shutdown while TS4-S includes module-level monitoring with rapid shutdown. Both TS4-F and TS4-S are patent-protected.

Tigo’s TS4-F is ready to ship as an integrated solution with module manufacturers worldwide. For price and delivery call +1.408.402.0802 ext. 1, email sales@tigoenergy.com, or visit www.tigoenergy.com.

— Solar Builder magazine

What will solar systems look like in 2020? Fronius makes predictions

In just a few years, we will flip the calendar to a new decade. However, in a rapidly evolving industry like solar, a few years can mean significant changes. So what will solar systems look like in 2020? Fronius has some bold predictions they’d like to share, as well as a new website configuration, which you can check out here.

solar predictions

It’s 2020 and Texan solar installer Joe just closed a sale on a residential 5 kWp system. It was an easy sale to a family of four, since solar really became mainstream and customer acquisition costs came way down. Solar and its value proposition have reached the masses! This home owner’s roof is fairly complex in shape, but thanks to smart technologies, this is no longer an issue. There is no need for special designs or installation hassles to mitigate the effects of shading and different roof orientations – making it easier to provide solar to the masses to provide solar to the masses.

Installer Joe sometimes looks back on code changes and how concerned some of his colleagues have been – how can we comply with all this while staying cost effective, they were wondering? Code has always been one of the main drivers for change and strongly impacted how systems are built. Examples are Arc Fault Current Interruption (AFCI), which was introduced in the National Electrical Code (NEC) of 2011, or Rapid Shutdown in NEC 2014 and 2017. But code changes are also a driver for overall innovation, which leads to cost reduction and simplification of systems – letting installer’s concerns vanish.

When module level shutdown came up, new technologies evolved and provided new solutions. Every module in 2020 is a safe or smart module, coming with an integrated chip that replaces the classical bypass diode. These smart modules install like standard modules, but provide all functionality needed: Power Line Communication for rapid shutdown, DC optimization and more reliability. New technology start-ups are flooding the industry, supplying module manufacturers with better and better chips for smart modules, reducing cost and disrupting traditional MLPE. With smart modules based on an open industry standard, add-on boxes such as traditional DC optimizers, micro-inverters or rapid shutdown boxes are no longer needed in 2020.

The best part is that solar installers can choose between a variety of smart module brands, since they are all based on the SunSpec standard, which enables compatibility with any SunSpec based inverter. So customers can chose whatever module brand they like and combine it with whatever inverter they like – eliminating vendor locked-in solutions. Even though solar roof tiles are an option, most customers still prefer not to exchange their existing roof, but go with sleek modules attached to the roof.

The Holistic Home: We peer into the future of home energy generation, usage

Our Texan home owner got an inverter that is just a portion of the size of past inverters, while being more connected than ever. It communicates with smart modules via Power Line Communication and is connected to the web via cellular – the internet of things became a reality. Through this connectivity, data is shared with system owners, O&M providers, grid operators and utilities. The smart home and the smart grid have arrived. And yes, besides all the smart features, the inverter is still converting DC to AC.

Installer Joe had offered several storage and energy management options to the homeowner, but she decided to analyze her family’s energy production and consumption first, and then purchases a tailor-fit solution after a year or so. As an owner of an electrical vehicle, the family is also interested in a smart energy management system to allow charging of the car with solar power, even at night. The available storage options range from high-end solutions based on batteries (both AC and DC coupled versions) to more affordable ways of energy storage such as water heaters controlled in real-time, depending on available solar power. There is no one-fits-all, and customer choice helps the solar and storage industry to grow further.

To summarize, the future of solar is bright. By 2020 the solar industry has settled on open industry standards, enabling industry innovation to drive down cost and allow customer choice. Industry groups, leading technology providers, module and inverter manufacturers come together so that solar customers have access to a variety of cost-effective, simple-to-install and holistic options. Making solar in 2020 smarter, simpler, more affordable – and installers like Joe happier.

— Solar Builder magazine