Solar Spotlight: From Net-Metering to Zero-Export With Sunny Boy Storage

From on 03/06/2019 in Category Hybrid Energy System, Solar Spotlight with 8 Comments

The SMA Sunny Boy Storage offers an AC coupled architecture, enabling installation at any point in time. This provides greater flexibility and gives installers the opportunity to generate new business with existing customers. Davis Electric experienced this first-hand with one of their customers in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Sunny Boy Storage InstallationIn 2017, a homeowner contacted Davis Electric asking for a grid-tied ground mount PV system for net metering. At that point, Davis Electric installed a 15kW solar array composed of JA 330W modules and two SMA Sunny Boy 7kW inverters.

Changes in the rate structure motivated the customer to call the installer again, this time for a retrofit with zero-export capacity. Davis Electric contacted CivicSolar asking for the most cost-effective, versatile and innovative residential storage solution available. The SMA Sunny Boy Storage was the perfect fit for this task.

In late 2018, Davis Electric paired an SMA Sunny Boy Storage inverter along with an LG Chem battery to reduce the export on nights and weekends.

The AC coupled design architecture for new PV systems or retrofitting existing ones is one of many benefits of the SMA Sunny Boy Storage. The quick and easy installation is also a huge help, especially for installers. ” We could install one in a half-day,” explained Davis Electric Director of Solar Nick Gilleland.

Other great features include multiple configuration options and the ability to expand. This client, for example, installed one battery but could ultimately install up to two more batteries for a total of three. This would allow for more power and energy capacity.

A high level of system integration provides unmatched monitoring and control and the energy management functions for many different applications are additional advantages of this SMA residential storage solution.

Visit our gallery to see pictures of this solar system, the second Sunny Boy Storage project installed in the United States.

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The Author


Alexandra is a marketing program manager for SMA America. She manages the company’s social media channels, contributes to digital marketing strategies, manages video production efforts and helps develop Spanish-language content.


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  • avatar


    03/06/2019 at 10:22 pm

    Are critical loads supported in an outage?

    Reply »
    • avatar


      03/07/2019 at 9:52 am

      Jon – Yes, when also using the Automatic Backup Unit accessory. This unit contains a 200A contactor to isolate a critical loads (or main) panel in an outage, as well as 50A circuit breakers for the AC output connection of a Sunny Boy Storage US and PV inverter (up to 9.6kW capacity). Also included is a 5kVA autoformer to correct for load imbalance when running off-grid. Finally, this unit includes a WattNode energy meter with prewired CTs to provide power flow data to the Sunny Boy Storage. For smaller 120VAC critical loads, the SPS functionality of the Sunny Boy Storage can provide up to 2000W of power, and it requires only a standard outlet and switch to utilize.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    William Brown

    03/08/2019 at 5:34 am


    We are planning on installing on a residential house. It has a 200amp main panel the customer wants to back up with LG chem batteries and the sunny boy storage auto back up unit. I reviewed the terminal sizes for the “load” terminals and they are not large enough for a 200amp wire. (4/0 Aluminum 107mm2)
    Please let me know what I am missing about the 200 amp whole house transfer switch


    Reply »
    • avatar


      03/11/2019 at 1:44 pm

      William – I apologize, I am not sure what you are looking at. On page 27 of the install manual, (Version 1.2, here: the third column is for the ABU 200. The wire size range is 70 to 150 mm2. Please note the terminals are certified for copper only – see first line on page 21.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Kenny Cruz

    03/08/2019 at 7:37 am

    Hello, and what is the approximate amount of the installation? How do they measure the energy consumed and the energy they export to the grid, or is it just self-consumption?

    Reply »
    • avatar


      03/11/2019 at 1:45 pm

      Kenny, the Sunny Boy Storage utilizes the WattNode energy meter and its CTs to determine power flows. This is how the Sunny Boy Storage knows when power is flowing to the grid or being consumed from it. Note that this meter and CTs are included in the Automatic Backup Unit accessory, that allows the Sunny Boy Storage to form a microgrid in times of utility outage.

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