Tech Talk: The Benefits of Micro Inverter Multigate Technology

From on 08/20/2013 in Category Technology with 17 Comments
Sunny Boy 240-US and Sunny Mulitgate

SMA knew there was a better way. We recognized the shortcomings of current micro inverters and worked diligently to develop a new system that can deliver on the promise of quality, reliability and the high standards that customers have come to expect from us.

SMA invested years of engineering and research to offer the most reliable micro inverter on the market.

SMA invested years of engineering and research to offer the most reliable micro inverter on the market.

The cornerstone of this new approach to micro inverter system design is the separation of critical components into two key pieces: the Sunny Boy 240-US and the Sunny Multigate-US. While the Sunny Boy 240-US performs the traditional power conversion function under the module, the Sunny Multigate-US optimizes system reliability and elevates energy production.

What is a Multigate?

The backbone of SMA’s new micro inverter system is the Sunny Multigate-US. Housed in a separate, environmentally protected enclosure, the Multigate is the interface between the micro inverters and the utility grid. Most importantly, the Multigate is a communications hub for free module-level monitoring.

The Multigate is housed in a protected service box that is easy to access.

The Multigate is housed in a protected service box that is easy to access.

Why is the Multigate Separate from the Micro Inverter?

The Sunny Boy 240-US contains up to 50 percent fewer components than competitive micro inverters. Critical components were removed from an extremely hot roof environment under the module and placed in the Multigate, an easy-access service panel on the side of the home.  This design exposes fewer components under the module to heat stress, so the micro inverter system is able to realize greater energy production and reliability.

Homeowners and installers have worry-free access to free module-level monitoring and reports from any device with internet connection.

Homeowners and installers have worry-free access to free module-level monitoring and reports from any device with internet connection.

 

How has SMA Improved Micro Inverter Communication?

Micro inverter installers would agree that communication related issues are the number one cause of service calls. Traditional micro inverters send information to a monitoring portal using public bandwidth, resulting in interference and unreliable communication.  In many instances, filters must be installed just to obtain clear data communication which increases system cost.

The Multigate addresses these concerns by using a private band power line, sending data directly to the customer’s router via an Ethernet cable. Once it is connected to the Internet, module-level reporting is sent to SMA’s free monitoring site www.SunnyPortal.com. This free PV system monitoring service can send customized reports via e-mail or text message to homeowners and installers.

Custom module level performance reports can be sent to homeowner or installers

Custom module level performance reports can be sent to homeowner or installers

How has Service Been Made Easier?

The finishing touch for the Multigate is a win-win for both installers and homeowners.  Diagnostics and system re-commissioning can now be performed outside the home at the location of the Multigate, as opposed to competitive products that require entry into the home.

There is no longer a need to block-out a time slot with a homeowner for a service call, eliminating frustrating scheduling and missed work for the homeowner. There is also a reduction in time spent on the roof troubleshooting because SMA’s Sunny Explorer can be used to diagnose potential issues right at the Multigate.

Making the Right Investment

SMA’s Sunny Boy 240-US and Sunny Multigate-US system offer all of the valuable benefits of micro inverter system technology including flexibility, simplicity and module-level optimization. Additional technical innovations set this system apart with a superior cabling system, increased communication reliability, reduced component count and highly configurable monitoring options.

 

Would you like more technical training on the Sunny Boy 240-US/SMA Multigate-US? Join us for a free webinar or attend one of our hands-on training sessions. Click here to view the SMA Solar Academy schedule.

Click here to watch the Sunny Boy 240-US / Multigate-US video.  

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 3 votes

The Author

avatar

My Title:
Senior Technical Training Specialist
My Focus:
The complete SMA America product line including troubleshooting, design, installation and Code best practices
My Hobbies: Photography and brewing my own beer

Tags

Related Posts

17 Comments

  • avatar

    Mouli Vaidyanathan

    08/22/2013 at 4:18 am

    Has SMA micro inverters available in the market.

    Reply »
  • avatar

    faazil fairooz

    03/23/2014 at 9:48 am

    Cant find any document on the multigate system. Is it possible that the sunny boy 240 system to be integrated into a three phase design

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      03/24/2014 at 11:35 am

      Hello Faazil,

      It is possible to put the Sunny Boy 240 micro inverter system in a three phase AC installation, however you will have to check with your AHJ to find out what their policy is on power imbalances. If you do not install the breakers in sets of three across all three phases, then the inspector might have an issue with that.

      Something to consider though, if you are installing a larger system (>12kW) then I would recommend our Sunny Tripower, it is a much more cost effective solution with a better ROI than using micros in commercial applications.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Jack D

    09/01/2014 at 4:05 pm

    I understand that it is a better idea to remove components from the microinverter for reliability and cost reasons. It would be helpful to know what functions are moved from the inverter to the multigate.
    Thanks, Jack

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      09/02/2014 at 11:25 am

      Hi Jack,

      The Multigate controls the PV system’s communication functions, grid monitoring and other proprietary features that enabled us to reduce the part counts in each micro inverter. By separating the functions, both the inverter and system communication abilities become more reliable and ready to perform long-term.

      Thanks for asking,
      Justin

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Mohamed

    09/21/2015 at 1:53 pm

    I found a new product in the market that does both grid freed and backup simultaneously does Sma have the same product

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      09/21/2015 at 3:10 pm

      Hello Mohamed,

      We have our Sunny Island battery inverter, which can do both functions when paired within a Sunny Boy system and a battery bank. A Sunny Island/Sunny Boy system can be grid tied, export extra energy from the solar array and, when needed, perform full backup services during a grid outage. For customers looking to get into the backup area without the cost of batteries and extra installation requirements, our Sunny Boy TL-US with Secure Power Supply is a grid-tied inverter that can offer up to 1,500 watts of backup power during grid outages without batteries.

      Hopefully one of these will work for what you’re looking for. Please let me know if you have further questions on either inverter solution.

      Thanks,
      Justin

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Mohamed

    09/21/2015 at 1:53 pm

    I found a new product in the market that does both grid freed and backup simultaneously does Sma have the same product

    Reply »
  • avatar

    MIke NG

    11/03/2015 at 9:41 pm

    I notice that SMA micro inverter are about 240W range, what if I have a 310W panel since many companies are not producing 240W anymore.

    Would it burn the micro inverter ? would output still be limited to 240W?

    thanks

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      11/04/2015 at 8:29 am

      Hi Mike,

      As long as the module is not exceeding the voltage for the Sunny Boy 240, which is 45V, the inverter will output a max power of 240 watts without issue.

      Thanks,
      Justin

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Giancarlo

    05/05/2016 at 4:04 pm

    It is posible to connect a SB-Multigate-US to a tri-phase supply grid? what are the risk or the implications?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      05/05/2016 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Giancarlo – the Sunny Boy 240 system is not compatible with three-phase systems at this time. It’s only designed for split phase 240V systems.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    John Van Dyke

    07/09/2016 at 8:54 am

    I have an installed multigate system in Mexico. 12 panels, Year 2014, using a “new” micro inverter for Latin American power. It simply has not worked, and no one seems know why. The vendor was not knowledgeable as it turns out. It is in a rural area and it was difficult to get the bi-directional meter installed. A year later, it became apparent the system would not work as it is. One proposed solution, put in a single inverter, toss the micro inverters and rewire. Other factors, no reliable internet connect to multigate, 3 phase, 2 phase used with multigate, industrial 3 phase voltage regulator (necessary) between breaker and main panel. I am not versed in electrical, a real disadvantage. What to do?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      07/11/2016 at 7:00 pm

      Hi John –

      Thank you for reaching out to us. I have shared your information with our Service Line and a technical expert will be in contact soon.

      Best,
      Justin

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Reza

    08/13/2016 at 5:59 am

    Hi.
    Is it possible to connect SB240 to grid without using Multigate?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      08/16/2016 at 11:08 am

      Hi Reza –

      Thank you for your question. The Multigate is always required for the Sunny Boy 240 microinverter system.

      Best,
      Justin

      Reply »

leave comment

 characters available