Over the last few years, distributed generation systems, such as PV, have grown rapidly throughout the country. Every day there are more and more systems integrated to the grid. However, with the growth and increased penetration of distributed energy systems (DERs), new challenges arise. This three part series will look at the best solutions to overcome these challenges.
When Hurricane Irma made landfall in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in September, Wendy Michels and her family quickly evacuated.
As a pilot, Michels is responsible for flying planes out of the area in the event of natural disasters, including hurricanes. She and her family flew to Lexington, Kentucky, unsure of what was to come of their home and newly installed PV system while Irma battered their hometown.
SMA Smart Connected is a fully-automated functionality that is included in our Sunny Boy-US inverter series and provides active system monitoring at all times.
The upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, will impact the operation of many GW of solar PV production across the United States.
The loss in production during the eclipse has been estimated at roughly 4,200MW of utility-scale solar, and 1,350 MW of rooftop solar, just in California.
While this is a substantial amount of power, the duration of the eclipse will be very brief in California. Grid managers were able to plan around this well understood event, and have other generating sources prepared and ready. Large amounts of energy storage resources (including pumped hydro storage) will be used for grid support during this event but in the future quick responding electrical energy storage may provide the bulk of needed support.
SMA is best known for its PV inverters. Still, the company has sold several hundred MWs of grid interactive battery storage inverter capacity that is perfectly suited to be used as a grid support resource in such an event – where large power discharge is required for a short time period.
In a few months, SMA will launch its residential grid-tied storage inverter, the Sunny Boy Storage US. This device can be programmed to ensure there is plenty of energy stored up to offset a known time of high load demand (peak shaving) or for a time of poor solar production (allowing increased self-consumption), such as a solar eclipse!
Imagine how easy it would be to give the sun a break if you could work with customers to program a Sunny Boy Storage to offset their household’s demand during this event?
SMA will host a nationwide roadshow for the Sunny Boy Storage later this year. Like the path of totality of this eclipse, the roadshow will not visit all states, so keep your eyes peeled for stops near you! And in the meantime, make sure you don’t look at the sun without proper eye protection.
In the second installment of our three-part Sunny Boy US Sunny Portal Registration series, we covered the final step to register the Sunny Boy US using the Plant Setup Assistant tab on the Sunny Portal homepage and now the plant can be viewed and customized.
Once To the PV System is clicked, the new plant will be displayed in Sunny Portal. The PV System Overview page is the default landing page, and shows a dashboard view above a production curve for the system. If this is a Power+ system, the lower part of this screen will show module level information.
Click on the To the PV System button to view the plant in Sunny Portal as shown in Figure 1.
The seven standard pages listed on the left under the plant name are created by default and are viewable by all users of the plant. The Configuration tab below it is only available to Installer or Administrator level users of the plant. Three of these pages are commonly used: PV System Properties, Report Configuration and User Management.
User Management is only accessible to Administrator level users, and is used to add or delete users from the plant. Figure 2a and 2b show the details of adding a user; Click on Add User and enter the email for the user and select the appropriate access level. The differences between these levels are explained in Version 1.3 of the Webconnect Plants in Sunny Portal – User Manual. This manual can be accessed via the User Manual link at the bottom of the screen.
Report Configuration allows the activation of up to three Daily Info, Monthly Info and Event Reports. Any of these reports can be sent to multiple emails, and can be tailored for what information they contain and when they are sent. Click Edit to adjust active reports or to activate additional reports.
The PV System Properties page allows for adjustment of the plant name, changing the plant password (remember this changes the on-site Installer password too!), and where an image for the plant can be loaded. Click Edit to make changes or load an image. Maximum size is 500kB and can be JPG, GIF or PNG. The new plant image is shown on the PV System Profile page.
Pages from the Webconnect plant can be made public on Sunny Portal or embedded in other webpages. To enable this, click on the Configuration button at the bottom of the page to expand the window as shown in Figure 4 for the PV System Profile window.
Clicking the box to the right of Approval will allow anyone to find this page when searching on Publicly Available Plants in Sunny Portal. Only those pages that are released will be viewable. The URL to the right of URL of the Page is a link that can be placed in the HTTP code of another webpage to allow viewing of only the contents of the pane of that Sunny Portal window. The plant page list to the left and the Configuration buttons are not viewable. This function allows for easy embedding of Sunny Portal data so it can be viewed by a large number of people without them being added to the Sunny Portal plant directly, or making any pages publicly viewable.
While we have shown Sunny Portal as it appears on a computer, there are apps for Sunny Portal for iOS and Android operating systems to allow for easy access to Sunny Portal information while on the go.
SMA inverters with Webconnect technology and Sunny Portal allow for easy viewing of PV system data as well as remote monitoring of the status of the plant. No wonder it is the largest PV monitoring site in the world (according to “Global PV Monitoring 2016–2020: Markets, Trends and Leading Players”, GTM Research and SoliChamba Consulting).
What if an inverter was smart enough to monitor its own vitals, know when something irregular might be happening and call for help all on its own? Now our Sunny Boy-US residential line of inverters can, reducing service costs for installers while improving security for system owners.
Sunny Portal Registration for Sunny Boy US With Webconnect: Entering Plant Specifics & Linking Power+ Solution Components
In the first installment of our three-part Sunny Boy US Sunny Portal Registration series, we covered the first three steps to register the Sunny Boy US using the Plant Setup Assistant tab on the Sunny Portal homepage.
After you’ve entered the PIC and RID codes from the side of the connection unit and the inverter(s) have been identified by Sunny Portal, you’re ready to move on. Steps 4 to 6 in the registration process are not needed and are automatically skipped.
In Step 7, at the bottom of the screen shown in Figure 1, it is now possible to link Power+ Solution components so the Sunny Portal plant can display module level data. If you are linking a plant from Tigo’s portal to the Sunny Portal plant, click “here” in the Tigo components section. You will be asked to enter your Login ID and Password for the Tigo portal. Once you have entered this information, you will see a list of all systems associated with that account. Choose the correct system. If there is only one active plant it will be linked automatically. The System ID and number of TS4 components will be shown in the Tigo components section. In addition, the address and time zone fields will be populated automatically.
Sunny Boy Only
If there are no Power+ Solution components in the system, fill in the address and time zone fields.
Select the checkbox for Automatic updates (it can be turned off once the plant is created), and if using Sunny Places, enter the email for the user. Note that this email will be added to this Sunny Portal plant with User (Standard) access.
Finally, enter Specific Annual Yield which can be found from a design program like Sunny Design. Once a design is completed, the Overview tab will show Specific energy yield as shown in Figure 2. For that specific design, the value is 1702 kWh/kWp. This value will be used by Sunny Portal to benchmark the system’s performance against the expected yield.
Once all the required values are entered, click on Next to review the settings in Step 8 as shown in Figure 6, and click Finish to configure the system in Sunny Portal.
This process may take a few minutes, and the process will be displayed as shown in Figures 4a and 4b. When completed, a screen like that shown in Figure 5 will be displayed.
Click on the To the PV System button to view the newly created plant in Sunny Portal.
In the next installment of our three-part Sunny Boy US Sunny Portal Registration series, we’ll go over how to personalize the plant in Sunny Portal.
Looking for an additional resource? Watch our Tech Tip video on Registering a Webconnect System in Sunny Portal.
Our newest Sunny Boy inverters are equipped with Webconnect/Speedwire functionality. When registering a plant in Sunny Portal using Webconnect, the process is the same as the previous generation of Sunny Boy string inverters. Registration is very straightforward – use the Plant Setup Assistant tab on the Sunny Portal homepage (www.sunnyportal.com) – see Figure 1. Make sure you have the PIC and RID codes from the inverter – they are printed on the side of the connection unit.
Click Next on the first page, then on Step 1 of the Setup Assistant, enter user name/ password if you already have an account on Sunny Portal or create a new account – see Figure 2. It is recommended that you use a generic company email for all your plants such as firstname.lastname@example.org so that the account is not tied to a specific employee’s email address.
Create a new PV system name and a password for the plant in Step 2, then select Next – see Figure 3. Note that if the Sunny Boy inverter was configured using the built-in user interface during commissioning, then the password entered in this step must match the Installer password selected during that process. If the passwords do not match, then Sunny Portal will not be allowed to access the inverter data. Conversely, if no password was selected during commissioning, the password chosen in this step will now become the installer-level password for the user interface of the plant.
In Step 3, enter the PIC and RID codes from the side of the connection unit and select Identify – see Figure 4 for an example of what is shown after the inverter is successfully identified by Sunny Portal. Enter additional PIC and RID codes for more inverters or click Next to continue to Step 4. Note that the maximum number of inverters per Webconnect PV plant is four.
In the next installment of our three-part Sunny Boy US Sunny Portal Registration series, we’ll go over how to enter the plant specifics and make sure your Power+ Solution components are incorporated correctly.
Looking for an additional resource? Watch our Tech Tip video on Registering a Webconnect System in Sunny Portal.
Check out our latest video in which technical training specialist Alejandro Avellaneda shows how to install Secure Power Supply with the newest Sunny Boy 5.0/6.0-US. Installing SPS with these inverters will ensure that grid-tied systems have daytime power in the event of a grid outage. Be sure to check back regularly for more Spanish language tech tips and blog posts – we will offer more content in Spanish in the coming weeks and months!
In our latest tech tip video, technical training specialist Alejandro Avellaneda demonstrates the simple step-by-step installation of the new Sunny Boy 1.5/2.5 solar inverter, which is an ideal and simple solution for small residential PV systems. Be sure to check back regularly for more Spanish language tech tips and blog posts – we will offer more content in Spanish in the coming weeks and months!
Designing systems with the new Sunny Boy-US just got easier and faster courtesy of the Quick Design Reference Tool. Simply input basic module criteria along with a few key system details to determine string design and inverter selection recommendations in a simple, easy-to-use and printable format.