San Diego, a city where the only thing more abundant than sandy beaches and palm trees is sunshine. San Diego Eco Rentals, a provider of environmentally-friendly high-end vacation rentals in San Diego’s most vibrant neighborhoods, hired Sullivan Solar Power to take their newest rental property to the next level of eco-consciousness.
Summer is fast approaching and though that means more hours of sunshine, for most of the U.S. it also means hot days and plenty of them. A well-known fact about PV arrays is that as temperature rises, system voltage drops and can fall dangerously close to the lower edge of the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) window.
Whether it’s a Webconnect data module or a Webconnect Piggy-back, they both connect to the same place: Sunny Portal. Now that installing your communication card is done, it’s time to reap the benefits by registering the system in Sunny Portal.
Solar Academy trainer Mike Mahon demonstrates how to register Webconnect-equipped systems within Sunny Portal in a few easy steps, unlocking its monitoring features.
Have a question for the Solar Academy trainers? Send it to email@example.com and we might just answer your question in our next Tech Tip!
Good news to off-grid installers: SMA is happy to announce that starting this month, all approved Sunny Boy inverters will be shipped with the Backup Mode parameter installed to the “On_all” setting.
Dispatching a truck to replace a failed micro inverter has become enemy number one for solar installers. Powering down a system and wading through a rooftop of good modules to gain access to the failed micro is a job nobody wants to do.
Two new inverter models recently joined to the TL-US line, both featuring SMA’s Secure Power Supply feature. The transformerless TL-US line now boasts the 3800TL-US and 6000TL-US models to widen the opportunities for homeowners who want the comfort of daytime emergency power without the need for batteries.
Registering a Sunny Boy 240-US micro inverter system in Sunny Portal is just as easy as the installation itself. Follow along with Senior Technical Trainer Greg Smith as he goes step-by-step through the process to access the numerous free monitoring features available for system owners.
In June, 2000, the lights went out across large swaths of California. Over the following year the lights would continue to flicker on and off, leaving millions of residents in the midst of unpredictable rolling blackouts. In what would become known as the California Energy Crisis, electricity costs soared and simultaneously seared the piggy banks of the state’s largest utilities and their customers.
SMA’s Webconnect Card and RS485 Card provide real-time communication and monitoring for PV systems with up to four TL-US series inverters with Secure Power Supply through Sunny Portal. The installation process for both communication cards, covered here by Senior Technical Trainer Greg Smith, is straight-forward and takes only a few minutes.
The endless lists of components and options have been considered, system designs and mock-ups created and everything ordered—modules, racking, inverters, and the list goes on and on. But what happens when something goes wrong or didn’t come out as planned? While most companies might believe that once a deal is done there is nothing left they can do for you, we think otherwise.
The British Virgin Islands, known for beautiful beaches and miles of serene coastline, are ideal for rest and relaxation. For travelers looking to escape big-city type noise, the diesel generators powering most vacation resorts wasn’t a welcome sound. Generating electricity on remote Caribbean islands used to be a dirty job, until hybrid solar power systems started cleaning it up.
When the Cooper Island Beach Club changed ownership in 2008, the new owners wanted to develop and eco-friendly resort while improving guest amenities and services. The resort’s ownership worked with Alternative Energy Systems of the BVI to design a hybrid energy system to reduce diesel fuel consumption and subsequent noise created by the generators.
The system, installed in phases to grow with the resort over four years, began with 90 Kyocera 210W modules, nine Sunny Island 5048 inverters, three Sunny Boy 7000-US inverters and 243 kWh of battery storage. Phases two and three saw the addition of 63 Kyocera 245W modules, three Sunny Island 5048 inverters and four Sunny Boy 4000-US inverters, plus an additional 198 kWh of battery storage. A Multicluster Box connects the system’s 34 kW of PV, battery banks and generators to ensure simple and care-free operation.
“Choosing SMA for this project was simple,” said Jacco Bos, professional engineer and managing director of AES. “SMA offered the full solution to meet our customer’s fuel saving goals and made it easy to expand the system based on the resort’s growth.”
A 70 percent reduction in fuel consumption was achieved after completion of the third phase. Generators now run between four and eight hours a day, at or near full capacity to handle peak energy demands. Prior to installing the PV-diesel hybrid system, the two 65 kVa generators ran near continuously, often inefficiently at idle to support minor loads. Reducing that idle operating time was the single-largest contributor to fuel savings.
The system was designed to run the generators during morning and evening load peaks and as-needed to charge the resort’s battery banks. During non-peak hours, the resort is able to operate solely on power from the PV system and batter bank.
“After four years of operation, the most impressive aspect is the minimal maintenance required,” said Bos. “The Sunny Islands have been operating for more than 30,000 hours and only need routine cleaning and electrical torques. Compared to a diesel engine, which requires regular oil changes, rebuilds and replacement by this time, the SMA inverters are proving to be highly reliable.”
For Cooper Island’s new ownership, eco-friendly goes deeper than implementing renewable energy. The resort has begun an aggressive makeover to ensure sustainable operations are implemented whenever possible. To date, the resort has installed a solar hot water system, rainwater cisterns, LED lighting and drip irrigation systems.
To help sustain the reefs and oceans surrounding Cooper Island, biodegradable and reef-friendly cleaning products have become standard use. Recycling, composting and reuse of fryer oil for bio-diesel have also raised the resort’s sustainability efforts without sacrificing guests’ experience.
The Cooper Island Beach Club’s dedication to renewable energy and sustainability has continued to grow with the resort’s popularity. Plans for future expansion include additional renewable energy sources; we look forward to seeing the next phase of Cooper Island’s success.
Solar Spotlight aims to highlight SMA inverters in real-world situations. Email us with information about your SMA-powered PV projects at SocialMedia@SMA-America.com.