Survey your next solar site with this autonomous robot from TerraSmart #SPI

APSR robot survey Terrasmart

TerraSmart may have revolutionized solar site surveying at Solar Power International this year, introducing a fully autonomous robot, called the Autonomous Precision Survey Rover (APSR), that will handle survey stake-out functions (booth 2145).

“Our main goal is to increase the velocity and accuracy with which we survey. A typical survey crew can locate up to 200 points per day, but with ASPR we can do over 1,300 points a day,” says TerraSmart Systems Design Manager Chase Anderson. “We are excited to bring NASA space rover technology to the world of photovoltaic construction. It eliminates human error, saves time, and cuts project construction costs for our clients.”

A larger model than the one at SPI will be introduced in Q1 of 2017 that adds drilling capabilities to the autonomous survey technology. The company has plans to deploy three ASPRs on a 42 megawatt site located in Shoreham, NY in mid-October.

RELATED: How TerraSmart’s new racking-plus-ground-screw solution reduces costs 

APSR features include:

– APSR is powered with a gas/electric hybrid drive system, allowing it to run 24/7 if required
– Designed for all-terrain use with “slope awareness” for undulating sites, APSR includes a geometric passive articulation suspension system, 24-inch tires and a 10-inch ground clearance
– APSR travels at a maximum speed of 11 mph with a maximum incline of 45 degrees
– Version two of APSR, coming in the first quarter of 2017, will be able to survey and drill holes with a two-inch diameter and a maximum depth of 20 feet within a half-inch tolerance
– APSR operates using line-of-sight wireless control, as well as Real Time Kinematics (RTK) GPS that increases its precision, accuracy, and speed

“Over the years, we have partnered with some of the most advanced survey equipment and software companies to design and deploy proprietary surveying tools that reduce installation time for solar ground mount systems. Today, with our U.S. exclusive launch of the ASPR, we continue to innovate with the use of RTK GPS technology and other proprietary software developed in-house,” says Ryan Reid, TerraSmart CEO.

How does it work?

Autonomous robots are programmed by skilled operators and APSR is no exception. The engineering team loads coordinate files onto an Android tablet, making them accessible to the APSR operator to create “missions” for each project site. APSR’s operator can prioritize work by site conditions and can even save and replay missions at any time. Once the operator provides the commands, APSR will survey each programmed location.

Safety comes first with APSR. A four-level safety system is built into the autonomous vehicle that can stop the rover in its tracks up to a half-mile away. The operator can also hit a kill switch on his belt; there is a power-down command on the companion Android tablet; and APSR shuts itself down if it tips over or if it travels outside of its operating area.

— Solar Builder magazine

SPI Preview: Four fixed-tilt mounting products to see

New RBI Solar ground-mount uses less steel

New RBI Solar ground-mount uses less steel
RBI Solar’s next generation ground-mount solution will be available for viewing and demonstrations at SPI 2016 (booth 811). This utility-scale mounting system is specifically designed to make solar installation more affordable and includes a wide selection of component parts that bear loads while using less steel. Executives, technical specialists, engineers and sales representatives from RBI Solar will be on hand to answer questions about any of their solar mounting solutions, including ground mounts, roof mounts, carports and landfill solutions.

TerraSmart’s TF2 system offers big reduction in labor

TerraSmart’s TF2 system offers big reduction in labor
TF2 is the next generation fixed-tilt ground-mount racking solution brought to you by the turnkey solar ground mount company, TerraSmart (booth 2145). The new TF2 racking system is based on the company’s widely deployed and versatile TerraSmart ground screw foundation. Leveraging the benefits of the proprietary ground screw foundation to work with any soil condition, TerraSmart focused on the installation process to ensure TF2 offered large efficiencies for in-field teams. All of these benefits create a 30 percent reduction of installation man-hours, saving time on every project. More on TerraSmart here.

New Ballast Ground Mount to use Super Purlin

New Ballast Ground Mount to use Super Purlin
Powers Solar Frames (booth 2545) is producing its second generation Ballast Ground Mount system, which incorporates a 24-in.-wide ballast box that can be ordered in lengths from 6 to 12 ft, depending on wind, snow and other parameters. As with Powers Solar Frames’ other products, the Ballast Ground Mount incorporates the patented Super Purlin, which reduces conventional purlin usage by as much as 42 percent, speeds installation and reduces labor costs.

Solar FlexRack to display fixed-tilt, CIP, tracker systems

Solar FlexRack to display fixed-tilt, CIP, tracker systems

Solar FlexRack (booth 923) is one of those companies with a new tracker solution — its TDP Turnkey Tracker — along with its flagship Series G3-X fixed-tilt ground-mount with self-squaring design for efficient module population. Its renowned field services team will be on hand to discuss the company’s full suite of turnkey services that include: geotechnical services, layout, design, engineering, installation, commissioning and support. Also on display will be the Series B Cast-in-Place ground-mount. This ballasted racking solution is custom designed for durability and ease of installation.

Find the rest of our SPI previews/coverage here.

— Solar Builder magazine

Fueling an Indy car with solar energy (kind of)

solar indycar

Image via TerraSmart website.

OK, so Indycar driver Stefan Wilson isn’t literally fueling his vehicle with solar energy, but Wilson’s enthusiasm for clean energy inspired him to launch a #THINKSOLAR campaign to bring about ecological awareness inside the racing world. Promoting reduced levels of CO2 at an Indycar race might seem an odd juxtaposition, but that is perhaps precisely the place for a message like Wilson’s to stand out and make an impact.

We learned about Wilson’s passion from this great post on the TerraSmart website:

The Indy 500 has served as an innovation showcase for the automotive industry for decades, rolling out advances like turbo-charging into mainstream motor vehicles and more. But, times are changing and racing is too. Stefan believes it’s time to see solar-powered paddocks, pit lanes and tech hubs. With gasoline generators currently powering nearly every garage on the track, Stefan’s desire to revolutionize the sport with clean energy solutions could not be more timely as solar power is becoming more accessible every day.

I recommend heading to their site to check out the full story. The guy has a lot of great ideas for spreading the solar gospel in this fossil fuel world.

— Solar Builder magazine

TerraSmart expansion: New manufacturing facility, team members

TerraSmart, a leading turnkey mounting solutions company in the solar industry, has grown more than 200 percent in the past two years — and the astounding growth shows no signs of slowing. The company projects even more record growth in 2016, thanks to ever-increasing trust in its solutions and continual innovations to its product line.

TerraSmart expansion

To support the 600 MW of solar projects it expects to install by the end of the year, the company moved into a recently renovated 70,000-square-foot facility, equipped with cutting-edge manufacturing equipment that increases production velocity — positioning TerraSmart to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for its solar-mounting solutions and new product development. The facility is located in Columbus, Ohio.

“TerraSmart’s racking solutions, designed specifically for hilly, rocky terrains, have been readily accepted by the industry, leading to tremendous growth for the company,” said Ryan Reid, founder and president of TerraSmart. “Our new manufacturing facility sets the standard for manufacturing and innovation, providing a road map for enhancing our solar mounting solutions for years to come.”

Moreover, the company added to its all-star team by creating six new positions designed to enhance and manage the company’s exponential growth. TerraSmart’s commitment to ensuring a pipeline of internally trained and dedicated professionals led the company to hire the following new team members:

● Jennifer Degtjarewsky, Marketing Director

● Michael Faraone, Geotechnical Engineer

● Harley Haney, Business Development

● Vincent Magaro, Safety Manager

● Randy Smith, Field Operations

● Andrew Weber, Sr. Project Manager

Focused on commercial to utility-scale solar projects and with unmatched experience in creating solar-racking solutions for some of the industry’s most difficult terrains, TerraSmart’s turnkey system is the most technologically advanced in the industry.

RELATED: TerraSmart Completes Largest Ground-Mount Solar Project in Bahamas 

TerraSmart’s innovative ground screw foundation and racking systems have transformed the solar industry by minimizing project risks, ensuring successful installation in all soil types, and offering the most cost effective solution.

“We have always demanded value-creation in everything we do, and the industry has recognized the merits of our systems,” Reid said. “We have the vision, innovation and team in place to further our commitment to excellence, adding new product lines to our traditional ones making us the one-stop shop for racking solutions in the industry. We look forward to growing with the solar industry, making it the leading energy source now and in the future.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Intersolar 2016 Preview: Check out these products making their debut on the show floor


Intersolar North America is one of the premier solar industry trade shows of the year. Whether it is your first time or your 25th time (somehow this is the 25th anniversary), the bigness of the event can be overwhelming. What to see? We have you covered. Here are some of the notable news announcements sent our way from exhibitors at this year’s show.

Intersolar? More like ‘Invertersolar’

A bunch of new and enhanced inverter and inverter + storage solutions will be on the Intersolar exhibit hall floor

pika energy inverterPika Energy’s Island connects right to high-voltage batteries

Using a 7.6-kW islanding inverter (X7601), the Pika Energy Island centralizes solar, storage, loads and the grid on a single smart bus that transmits power, control and data on the same wires to automate the flow of power. The inverter features an automated internal transfer switch, four integrated DC breakers and islands without the need for an external autotransformer. Best of all, it connects directly to high-voltage batteries without a separate battery interface. The X7601 generates split-phase 240VAC in grid-connect and islanding mode for residential applications, and it generates true three-phase 208VAC power for battery-based commercial applications.

Booth 8125 |



Delta debuts 80-kW, wall-mounted string inverter

Delta Americas is unveiling its new M80U PV inverter — the first wall-mount, 80-kW string inverter in the world, according to Delta. The M80U is a grid-tied, three-phase and transformerless inverter that converts DC output from a PV system into AC with 98.8 percent efficiency, allowing it to be seamlessly used by the electric grid and within buildings. The device’s all-in-one design integrates 16 strings with fuse protection as well as arc fault detection circuits. It includes built-in DC switches, AC and DC surge protection devices and two MPP trackers.
Booth 8712 |

Check out the Fronius Rapid Shutdown Fronius multi rapid shutdownBox-Multi

Fronius is giving an in-depth look at its new Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box-Multi version. This new product started shipping in May and is a larger version of the previously released Rapid Shutdown Box-Single. These boxes eliminate the need for external power supplies, any additional ground-level hardware and any extra conduit since it is directly connected to the inverter through the same DC conduit as the DC homeruns. The rapid shutdown function is initiated whenever AC is not present. Once triggered, the DC lines are rapidly discharged by the Fronius SnapINverter.

Booth 8811 |


APsystems-YC500i-EnergyMaxAPsystems introduces the YC500i microinverter with EnergyMax

EnergyMax technology allows this new dual-module unit to produce 274 W peak output per side (548 W total), supporting today’s high-output PV modules. The YC500i microinverter features an integrated ground and builds on the same advanced, FPGA chip-based platform as the flagship YC500 model, a top seller worldwide. By combing the innovative YC500i with EnergyMax, the APsystems ArrayApp and up to $16,000 in rebates this summer, there’s never been a better time to try APsystems and find out why it’s the fastest growing microinverter supplier in the world.
Booth 8647 |


Storage takes the Spotlight

Save some of your own energy to check out these new solar + storage solutions

Outback-Flexpower-RadianOutBack Power’s full system on display

At the OutBack booth, check out your FLEX options. FLEXware ICS+ Integrated Combiner System meets the NEC compliance requirements for rapid shutdown and arc-fault capability in PV installations. It assures users of a UL-1741 listed system from rooftop to battery when used with other OutBack products.  The system is pre-configured to save installation time in the field and can be roof mounted under panels. The pre-assembled FLEXpower Radian is a series of five advanced systems that integrate matched energy storage with OutBack’s Radian inverter/chargers to make specifying and installing battery-based systems easier and more cost-effective. It is available in 4- to 8-kW versions.
Booth 8219 |


Ideal-Power sundial bi directionalIdeal Power unveils bi-directional energy storage inverter

Ideal Power is officially releasing the SunDial, which the company says is the only commercial PV string inverter available with a field-upgradable, bi-directional energy storage port, making the system market ready today for solar + storage. The plug-and-play bi-directional DC port kit enables the SunDial to be installed today and easily upgraded for storage tomorrow. PV arrays may be true floating or grounded with SunDial, which adds a nice design flexibility to the equation. It is also easily paralleled and supports both on-grid and microgrid applications.
Booth 8017 |



Meet the fully integrated POWERSTATION 247 storage system

POWERSTATIONMaking its debut to the U.S. market at Intersolar, POWERSTATION 247 is a complete and fully integrated, turnkey, scalable solar energy usage and storage system with built-in battery storage. The system, for homes and small businesses, can be installed on and off grid and comes in three sizes, 5 kW, 10 kW or 15 kW;  all have the same battery storage capacity of 17,28 kWh. Its free standing cabinet is easy to install and use. The system integrates up to three hybrid inverters, solar MPP trackers, charge controller and lithium-iron batteries, software and all necessary field wiring terminals and disconnect switches. It is also the first fully integrated system that is UL certified with all components manufactured by only one company.
Booth 8221 |



Tabuchi-system_LargeTabuchi America adds even more functionality to EIBS system

Tabuchi America will showcase its residential solar-plus-storage EIBS system with new functionalities that the company says gives unprecedented control over energy use. Tabuchi’s grid-friendly solution now has four flexible modes that optimize a customer’s solar investment by prioritizing their specific needs — from reducing costs and achieving self-sufficiency to ensuring reliable backup power. Tabuchi America’s total solution is utility-approved, comes with a 10-year warranty and helps homeowners save up to 55 percent on their energy bills.
Booth 8627 |




Installers, Mount Up

These mounting manufacturers have new solutions to save you time and money

PV-Racking-2PV Racking’s clamp-free system will save you time

Simply slide modules into the rails while standing firmly on the ground, not on ladders, says PV Racking. Its clamp-free ground mounting system will save time and money by eliminating the need to install clamps, move ladders and torque additional bolts, attributes that make for a safer system as well.  The company says two people are able to install approximately 30 kW in a single day.
Booth 9638 |

Quick Mount debuts Tile Replacement


Intersolar marks the debut of Quick Mount PV’s Tile Replacement Mount, which the company says provides a fast and easy way to install solar on tile roofs while protecting against water intrusion. Simply remove the tile and replace it with the Tile Replacement Mount. Works with all standard curved and flat tile roofs, and all standard rail-based racking systems. Flashed at both the deck and top levels, the mount is fully engineered to meet code requirements and industry best practices. The Tile Replacement Mount features Quick Mount PV’s patented Elevated Water Seal technology for optimal waterproofing.
Booth 9421 |


TerraSmartTerraSmart announces new TF2 racking system

TerraSmart’s TF2 is the next generation fixed-tilt ground-mount racking solution. The new TF2 racking system is based on the company’s widely deployed and versatile TerraSmart ground screw foundation. Leveraging the benefits of the proprietary ground screw foundation to work with any soil condition, TerraSmart focused on the installation process to ensure TF2 offered large efficiencies for in-field teams. TerraSmart’s installation machinery not only provides a more precisely installed foundation, its state-of-the-art surveying, rock drilling and installation equipment also removes project risks and increases installation velocity.
Booth 9411 |


SolarFlexRackCheck out Solar FlexRack’s new Turnkey Tracker

Swing by Solar FlexRack on level 3, where its full product and services offerings will be on display. Its flagship Series G3-X fixed-tilt ground mount with self-squaring design for efficient module population will be featured, along with its TDP Turnkey Tracker, showing all the advanced design features of the tracking unit. Solar FlexRack’s field services team will be on hand to discuss its full suite of turnkey services that include: geotechnical services, layout, design, engineering, installation, commissioning and support. Also on display will be the revolutionary Series B Cast in Place ground mount. This ballasted racking solution is custom-designed for durability and ease of installation.
Booth 9311 |


Racking system training workshops

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and Intersolar selected exhibiting companies to offer in-depth technical training workshops at the conference. Attendees will earn two NABCEP CEUs for each two-hour workshop. These workshops keep you up to speed on the latest technologies and best practices for the design, installation and maintenance of code-compliant PV and storage systems.


Wednesday, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Room 3024

Anchor Products
Wednesday,12:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Room 3024

Self-grounding-systemSunModo Corp. (featured)
Wednesday, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Room 3024

SunModo has a solution for every application, so choosing the best product and optimal configuration for each project is important. This session will investigate structural framing variations, roofing construction types and other design-engineering elements to make the right call. Additionally, there will be a project management view to see where value is sometimes lost or overlapped unnecessarily. This programmatic view is useful to operations that want to become more profitable, particularly in the commercial space where scaling is expected, yet accurate details are paramount to precise replication.

— Solar Builder magazine