Tags from Sunny Boy

Easy, Reliable and Cost-Effective Rapid Shutdown Compliance Utilizing the SunSpec Standard

The requirements of 2017 and 2020 National Electric Code (NEC) section 690.12 – entitled Rapid Shutdown of PV Systems on Buildings – currently mean that module-level power electronic (MLPE) devices must be installed with PV systems installed on buildings, even if they are not appropriate for energy optimization reasons.  As microinverters and standard DC optimizers solutions are closed, proprietary solutions, their use locks installers into depending on a single source for equipment and replacements.

As discussed in the first blog post of this series, the SunSpec Alliance has the goal of creating industry-wide standards to resolve issues like compliance with Rapid Shutdown requirements. Their Rapid Shutdown standard allows for multiple vendors to certify equipment to an open, published standard – allowing installers to choose between interoperable devices and avoid being locked into a closed ecosystem to comply with code.

SMA rapid shutdown certified devices.

SMA has been a global leader in PV technology for almost 40 years.  SMA America will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September 2020 and has long been a technology leader: first with UL certified inverter-integrated AFCI as well as the first to achieve UL1741 SA smart inverter certification. SMA’s success is based on ensuring that it delivers safe and reliable equipment that reduces the time installers must spend on a roof installing or servicing PV equipment.  With Rapid Shutdown now requiring module-level power electronics for rooftop PV systems, SMA faced a daunting challenge to provide a fully code-compliant solution that also minimizes reliability impacts, while ensuring optimal energy yields. The SunSpec rapid shutdown standard provided a perfect complement to SMA’s ShadeFix optimized residential and commercial string inverters to achieve this goal.

The functioning of the SunSpec rapid shutdown process is very straightforward.  Two components are required – a transmitter and some number of receivers.  The transmitter is responsible for imparting the SunSpec rapid shutdown power-line signal onto the DC conductors that go between the array and the inverter.  The receivers are responsible for detecting the signal on those conductors.  While the signal is present, the receivers do nothing. When the signal disappears, the receivers are responsible for lowering the array voltage below the code limits within the code specified time after rapid shutdown is “initiated”. They isolate their modules from the string they are part of, without breaking the string, and provide a low, “standby” voltage on their output conductors if the SunSpec signal is absent. This power-line communication signal is a “keep-alive” signal that does not require any additional wired or wireless communications channel between the array and inverter. It is important to highlight that the SunSpec certified receivers do not perform any power conditioning function or transmit information about the array operation, thereby allowing them to be very simple and robust devices.  This is important, as there may be many hundreds of these devices scattered throughout the harshest environmental conditions of a single large commercial rooftop installation. Time spent servicing failed MLPE devices is time not spent installing. rapid-shutdown-cert_vert-color

SMA America has integrated a transmitter certified to the SunSpec rapid shutdown standard into both our residential Sunny Boy US-41 and commercial CORE1 US-41 inverter lines. This transmitter, when enabled during commissioning, begins to impart onto the DC conductors connected to the array the SunSpec rapid shutdown “keep-alive” signal.

SMA’s approved SunSpec certified rapid shutdown receiver can support most residential and commercial module choices, meaning only this part needs to be sourced when using either SMA’s residential or commercial string inverters. This makes stocking and allocating inventory as easy as possible for installers and equipment distributors. Furthermore, SMA’s string inverters do not require the SunSpec shutdown receiver units to function, so if the PV system does not require rapid shutdown (e.g. a ground mount) then the receivers are simply not installed. Commissioning with SunSpec shutdown is fast since there is no detection step required for these MLPE or a layout map creation step for module-level monitoring.

The SMA inverter-integrated SunSpec transmitters are configured to stop broadcasting the “keep-alive” signal whenever the inverter senses a loss of utility voltage and frequency on its AC terminals. A first responder will shut off utility power to a site as an initial step to fight a fire, so this means the rapid shutdown “initiator” – loss of AC power – is something that would be done even if that responder has no formal training on how to recognize and utilize rapid shutdown equipment on a PV system.

Finally, the existence of the SunSpec rapid shutdown open standard means that multiple vendors can provide receiver devices that mirror trends in the PV module market. More devices with a wider range of options and sizes are available to installers than SMA alone could reasonably provide, and module manufacturers can even build the receiver capability within their module’s junction box directly. These devices (and the installer installing them) are not dependent on an SMA inverter to ensure rapid shutdown code compliance, simply another certified transmitter, inverter-integrated or stand-alone.

The existence of the SunSpec rapid shutdown standard has allowed SMA America to improve its ShadeFix optimized string inverters to provide the industry’s fastest-to-install, most reliable and cost-effective solution for any PV system needing to achieve 2017 or 2020 NEC 690.12 compliance.

 

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Tech Tip: Installation of the TS4-R-F Line of SMA-Compatible SunSpec Certified Rapid Shutdown Receivers

In our latest Tech Tip video, SMA Solar Academy Senior Technical Trainer Mike Mahon demonstrates how to install the TS4-R-F line of SMA-compatible SunSpec certified rapid shutdown receivers.

These devices, when paired with the SMA US-41 line of Sunny Boy or CORE1 inverters, provide easy-to-install, reliable, module-level shutdown to meet all the 2017 and 2020 NEC requirements.

The Tech Tip video covers the installation of SMA’s TS4-R-F unit—the first SunSpec certified shutdown receiver tested to ensure full compatibility with the Sunny Boy US-41 and CORE1 US-41 lines.

To learn more about all the benefits of the TS4-R-F line, watch this video or visit the webpage.

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SMA Solar Academy and SMA Sunbelt Partner to Bring In-Depth Trainings to Florida Installers!

SMA will host three days of training at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida from February 18-20. If you are in the Southeast and are interested in learning about residential, commercial and off-grid solar and storage, then you don’t want to miss these seminars with the best resources in the industry!

SMA Solar Academy Training

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Tech Tip: Watch a Step-by-Step Tutorial on the Installation and Commissioning of SMA’s Cellular LTE Modem Kit

In our latest Tech Tip video, SMA Solar Academy Senior Technical Trainer Mike Mahon demonstrates how easy it is to install and commission the Cellular Modem expansion kit for the Sunny Boy US PV inverter.

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Interconnect Your Residential and Commercial Projects Faster with Less Risk

Don’t get left behind when mandatory compliance of California Rule 21 Phase 2 and 3 goes into effect on March 22, 2020.

SMa commercial solar project. View from top.

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Power Up Your Business with SMA’s Trusted Dealer Program!

SMA’s new PowerUP Trusted Solar Energy Dealer program is a select network of installers and integrators closely associated with SMA. This four part blog series will look at all the benefits you can enjoy as an SMA partner.

Colleagues having casual discussion during meeting in conference room.

 

Competition is fierce and keeping your business on top of mind of your customers can be difficult.

As SMA trusted partners, PowerUP members receive valuable pricing, training, service and marketing benefits that make doing business simpler. In addition, these installers generate third-party credibility with buyers, facilitating an easier sales process and a more supportive installation experience.

The program uses an exclusive set of discounts, incentives and support functions to grow sales.

Direct SMA Rebate: Recognizing Brand Loyalty

PowerUP Dealers receive preferential pricing on standard products and will receive monthly rebates on product sales. These will improve flexibility and overall profitability. More promotions and incentives may be offered to further enhance the value of your SMA system.

Best in Class Inverter Warranty: + 5 Years Warranty on Sunny Boy Inverters

As a PowerUP Dealer, you can receive a 5-year warranty extension on Sunny Boy inverter purchases. This extends your total inverter warranty to a best in class 15 years! Coupled with a 25-year warranty on TS4-R module-level devices as part of our Power+ Solution, SMA PowerUP Dealers will have a comprehensive product backstop that reduces lifetime product costs.

Tell SMA What You Want to Sell: Provide Input on Next-Gen Products

By completing product development surveys, you’ll have a chance to share valuable feedback regarding SMA products including what types of products and updates you would like to offer to your customers.

Are you interested in learning more? Visit https://www.sma-america.com/powerup/installer and stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series where we’ll outline more PowerUP member benefits!

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Solar Spotlight: False Bay School Goes Solar With the Best in Class

Diesel generators that ran for 12 hours a day powered the school located on Lasqueti Island in British Columbia, Canada, from its construction in 1953 until 2016, when a community effort turned a solar dream into reality.

False Bay School Goes Solar With the Best in Class

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Are you Ready to Achieve Compliance of California Rule 21 Reactive Power Priority Requirement?

Tech Tip Sunny Boy for CA 21

CA Rule 21 Phase1 new requirements will include a Reactive Power Priority setting starting Thursday, July 26.  UL has certified SMA inverters as compliant with this new regulation.

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Part 3: With SMA, Users Stay One Step Ahead in the Integration of PV Plants

In part two of our three-part series, we covered the support features that our Sunny Tripower three-phase inverters and Sunny Boy single-phase inverters have that implement proactive responses to grid requirements. Frequency Ride-Through and Voltage Ride-Through in particular are crucial for the definition of operation ranges of the inverters and the expected response for different levels of anomaly in the voltage or natural frequency of the grid.

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Tech Tip: How to Easily Achieve California Rule 21Compliance with the Sunny Boy-US

 

Penetration of distributed energy resources (DER) such as PV has increased rapidly over the past few years resulting in concerns about grid reliability.

 

California’s Investor owned utilities (IOUs), through California Electric Rule 21, are now requiring that inverters come equipped with several new safety features and advanced grid functionalities. The new rule establishes specific requirements for generation facilities to be connected to a utility’s distribution system. This regulation has been in effect since September 2017, and although it only applies to California, other states across the nation are expected to adopt measures like this in the future.

Fortunately, smart inverters like the Sunny Boy-US contribute to the stability of the grid and use unique autonomous functions that allow you to fully comply with UL 1741 SA standards.

Watch this Tech Tip to learn how to utilize these grounbreaking functionalities! You will see how easy it is to use a single file package to configure the Sunny Boy to be in full compliance of CA Rule 21’s phase 1 requirements.

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Part 2: With SMA, Users Stay One Step Ahead in the Integration of PV Plants

In part one of our series, we described the challenges that arise with the growth and increased penetration of distributed energy systems. A viable approach to overcome these challenges is to improve the operation characteristics of the inverters.

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With SMA, Users Stay One Step Ahead in the Integration of PV Plants

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. 

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