Archives from Category Responsibility

Storm Warning: Is Your Renewable Energy System Ready for a Hurricane?


Hurricane Dorian is gone but the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is certainly not.  SMA gets many questions about how best to prepare and deal with the aftermath of hurricanes. Here, we provide you with answers to the most common questions.

Hurricane as seen in radars

Photo credit: NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

FEMA released a report in 2018 concerning solar systems robustness to hurricanes. The primary recommendations are to ensure correct wind-loading calculations are done during the design phase, good quality control is enforced during constructions, and that annual checks of the entire array’s module clamps are done. Right before a storm strikes, it is also recommended to ensure gutters are cleared and all objects that could be flying debris impacting the array or balance of systems components are cleared or secured.

While some microinverter manufacturers emphasized the report’s comment that microinverters “have a greater chance of allowing undamaged panels of a PV array to continue to produce electrical power”, they conveniently ignored the fact that all microinverters will provide ZERO power if the grid is down.

The only UL-listed, grid-tied PV inverter that can safely provide power without batteries during a grid outage is the SMA Sunny Boy.  The ground breaking Secure Power Supply (SPS) feature of this inverter line has been around since 2013 and can provide up to 2,000 watts of silent, emissions-free pure sine wave AC power as long as the sun is shining.

After Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, dozens of SPS outlets were retrofitted onto Sunny Boys to allow customers to unlock this feature as the utility outage stretched into months. After Hurricane Irma passed through Florida in 2017, some folks realized their grid tied system was useless without utility power – see this News 6 Orlando video, which talks about the only grid-tied PV system without batteries that can work in grid outage. They mention an investment of $275 for the SPS hardware, which does not include the Sunny Boy inverter.SMA Energy system - Backup Use Case

Now, for those customers focusing on energy management that would also like to expand their utility-independent operating capability, the SMA Energy System has the nearly identical Backup Lite feature! The main difference is that the 2,000W is available as long as the battery has energy.

Going even further, the SMA Energy System for whole home backup has the Automatic Backup Unit accessory for the Sunny Boy Storage.  This setup allows homeowners to power larger 240VAC loads and have access to all of their PV system’s output, without the utility grid.

This means that the customer used as an example on the video has an additional option. As the SMA Energy System is AC-coupled, it can be retrofitted into already existing PV systems, and these are not limited to SMA PV systems.  With the PV able to cover loads and recharge the battery, many hours of utility-independent run time are achievable.

Don’t wait for another storm threat to get ready. Visit our website for the latest information on SMA’s residential solar and storage solutions!

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Solar Chat: Meet Dave Rosenfeld from the Solar Rights Alliance

I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Rosenfeld recently at an event held by CALSSA in California State Capitol. Dave has spent most of his career “helping the little guy stand up to powerful interests” and is currently the Executive Director of the Solar Rights Alliance. 

In this interview with Dave, we discuss everything you need to know about this non-profit organization, why they are advocating for solar stakeholders in California, and how you can join their efforts.

Dave Rosenfeld - Solar Rights Alliance

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SMA Joins California State Senators Wiener and Nielsen on the Announcement of SB 288

SB 288 is a bipartisan legislation that protects the rights of all consumers to invest in, generate and store their own energy from the sun and other sources of renewable energy.

SMA America at the State Capitol SB 288- Solar Bill of Rights Press Conference


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Solar Professionals Take Over the California State Capitol in Support of Energy Storage

During California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA) Lobby Day 2018, SMA America teammates joined hundreds of solar workers from all over California in support of SB700 – a bill that would extend incentives for residential and commercial energy storage systems.


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SMA Joins CALSSA to Educate the Capitol Community at the Clean Energy Fair 2018

Yesterday SMA America joined the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) for the 2018 Clean Energy Fair in an effort to inform the capitol community about the value of distributed energy resources.

2018 Clean Energy Fair

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SMA Secure Power Supply Provides Post-Hurricane Power

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.

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SMA Sunny Bear Flash Dances the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In accepting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from SolarEdge, SMA Sunny Bear took the donation drive to the next level by recreating the iconic water scene from the 1980’s move classic Flash Dance. The video was filmed overnight behind the SMA Service Center in Rocklin, California.

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Pay it forward: Helping K12 Solar spread their wings

K12 Solar and SMA

Velocity Venture Capital’s 2014 Entrepreneur Showcase will pit entrepreneurs against each other for the most valuable prize of all: funding. Bring in American Idol style voting and coaches for each team of entrepreneurs and this contest is one that can have a profound effect on business.

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Sunny Bear spreads joy all the way to India

Vismay and Sunny Bear, who is wearing a sweater, during their trip to London.

Excitement for solar is alive and well in New Delhi, India, fed by the life and times of Sunny Bear and his best friend, Vismay. But just a few weeks ago, things were not so sunny. During a family trip from Vismay’s home in New Delhi to London, the unthinkable and unexpected happened: Sunny Bear went missing.

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SMA helps local kids smile, donates Sunny Bears to UC Davis Children’s Hospital

It was nothing but smiles and excitement as the SMA van pulled up, loaded to the top with teddy bears in search of new friends. The small idea to bring joy to area children turned into a big donation recently, as the SMA team

Sunny Bear joins a new family at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

Sunny Bear joins a new family at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

donated nearly 2,000 teddy bears to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

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GRID Alternatives comes to SMA America’s backyard for a solar install

GRID Alternatives helps bring the power of solar to low-income families who need it the most—those who are often the least likely to afford it. When we heard they partnered with a family in Roseville, California, just down the road from SMA America’s headquarters, we jumped at the chance to help our neighbors.

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Tracey’s Place of Hope

For the past 14 years, Raiders great Fred Biletnikoff and his wife Angie have dedicated their lives to helping adolescent girls who are facing the same hardships their beloved daughter Tracey tried to overcome. The Biletnikoff Foundation extends their arms to girls struggling with mental health and substance abuse problems to help them get on the road to a full, healthy recovery.

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