Tags from residential solar

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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Mitigate Risk in Residential PV with SMA and the SunSpec Alliance

Would you like to learn how to maximize the value of a residential PV system while managing risk? Join industry leaders for an informative webinar Thursday, July 9th at 2:00 PM EDT. We will cover how to effectively decrease business risks while maximizing benefits for residential PV customers. Click here to sign up.
SMA Webinar

We will highlight areas of opportunity in:

  • Energy Production
  • Reliability
  • Standardization
  • Service

This webinar will educate attendees on how the SunSpec Alliance is advancing industry standardization in rapid shutdown technology to achieve simple, cost-effective compliance with NEC 2017 requirements. Additionally, SMA experts will highlight a more effective way to optimize PV systems that produce more energy and afford system owners greater reliability.

We will also discuss how standardization can greatly reduce business risk by giving PV professionals freedom of choice among proven solutions while avoiding risks associated with proprietary supply. Service considerations are also a factor in minimizing risks for PV professionals and system owners alike.

We will examine recent advances in service technology that streamline operations for PV professionals while reducing the business risks associated with system downtime and truck rolls.

Featured Presenters

Tom Tansy, Chairperson, SunSpec Alliance

Brad Dore, Director of Marketing, SMA America

Blair Reynolds, Residential Product Manager, SMA America

For more information on the SunSpec Alliance click here or to learn about SMA America solutions visit our website.

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Out with the Old, in with the New!

Are you looking for the most up-to-date and effective way to optimize a PV system? Join SMA America and Solar Power World to learn how on June 18, 2020 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT. Click here to register!

SMA Sunny Boy with ShadeFix optimization

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New University Study Shows SMA Outperforms the Competition

Whether it’s from passing clouds, roof vents, or chimneys casting shadows, PV professionals must frequently deal with shade. But, what is the most effective way to handle it? A study by the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) now has the answer. 

String level optimization

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Effectively Reaching Storage Customers Amid Quarantine

Keeping your installation business moving forward despite ongoing Coronavirus circumstances is challenging, but not impossible.

Join us for a free webinar: Thursday April 30, 2020 2:00 PM ET

Energy Storage System

 

Chances are you’re reading this from your home office, and you’ve been impacted by Coronavirus prevention measures. We wish you health and safety during these demanding times.

The good news is that your potential customers are home as well. The better news? You know who they are and how to reach them!

Many homeowners may be wondering about their energy security as they spend more time at home, so what better time to connect with them and share the peace of mind that whole home backup power can offer?

Join us for this informative webinar where attendees will gain insights including:

  • How to leverage past PV installation customers as a resource for new storage sales
  • How SMA and BYD products together provide homeowners with the ideal backup power solution
  • The importance of sharing benefit driven content with your audience
  • Marketing best practices and resources to keep driving your sales momentum

Featured speakers:

  • Brad Dore, Marketing Director, SMA
  • Devon Wilson, U.S. Manager, BYD

Sign me up!

 

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Differentiate your Business with Help from SMA

How can you better stand out amongst your competitors while maintaining a lean operation? In this SMA PowerUP Trusted Solar Energy Partner blog post series, we have talked about the perks of being a member including: special sales and pricing benefits, exclusive training and installation assistance, as well as priority service support. But there’s more! As a PowerUP member you get exclusive resources that will boost your marketing reach and help you reach customers more effectively.

Smart home control on tablet. Interior of living room in the background.

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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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Achieve a Whole New Level as an SMA PowerUP Member!

In Part I of this blog post series, we summarized a few of the benefits in becoming an SMA PowerUP Trusted Solar Energy Partner, including special sales and pricing benefits. In this second post, we are excited to share details on our training & support benefits.

sma solar academy training

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SMA Energy System Has Been Recognized with UL 9540 Safety Certification

SMA Residential solutions

We’re excited to announce that TÜV Rheinland has certified the SMA Energy System to UL Standard 9450:2016 for the USA and Canada.

TÜV Rheinland is an independent, accredited global safety inspection organization that acts as an unbiased third-party for product testing. With the UL 9540 system-level certification, the SMA Sunny Boy Storage inverter has been certified in conjunction with lithium-ion batteries from global manufacturing leaders BYD and LG Chem.

SMA Residential solutions

Since its emergence in 2016, the much-coveted UL 9540 certification has only been achieved by a small group of energy storage system manufacturers. This prestigious certification is particularly important as it assures the highest level of safety for an energy storage system, which is typically comprises multiple components including the inverter, battery management system and the batteries themselves.SMA Energy System Seal

While the SMA Sunny Boy Storage inverter and the lithium-ion batteries have already achieved independent product safety certifications such as UL 1741 and UL 1973, this system-level certification is the first instance of these components being evaluated for operation as a combined unit according to a national safety standard. It’s also the first time in history that any product from either BYD or the LG Chem has ever been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to UL Standard 9540.

What does this mean for SMA’s customers?

It means they now have the highest level of assurance and confidence when buying the system. The requirement for the rigorous evaluation is becoming increasingly necessary for receiving incentives for the installation of battery energy storage systems, such as under the California Energy Commission (CEC) Senate Bill 1 (SB1) Guidelines. The UL 9540 certification requirement is also becoming more commonly referenced in regional building construction codes such as the California Fire Code and is a considered a best equipment installation practice by local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) such as building inspectors and fire marshals.

Even where not yet formally required, the safety certification benefits consumers, utilities, building owners, firefighters and the general public. In many circumstances, it also benefits customers and installers by expediting system permitting and approval.

The additional accolade showcases not only the SMA commitment to safety but also the versatility the company offers to clients through multiple battery options. SMA’s holistic approach of achieving certification of the Sunny Boy Storage inverter in conjunction with the BYD B-Box and LG Chem RESU lithium-ion batteries also honors the true intention of the UL 9540 Standard.

The result of SMA’s rigorous certification efforts? Complete peace of mind for our customers.

For more information on this certification click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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