Solar Builder

SEP-OCT 2017

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 29 supplier, which results in savings in both product sourc- ing and installation. In addition, purchasing solar mod- ules with MLPE pre-installed ensures turnkey func- tionality and shortens installation time. "By incorporating MLPE in the module, we elimi- nate the need to install separate boxes on modules, reducing labor costs," says Gautam Ghose, senior product marketing manager at Trina Solar. "This enables efficient design and also reduces shipping, inventory tracking and storage costs." Trina Solar is currently working with Maxim and Tigo, but says it is pursuing other partnerships as we speak. The integrations are available in the compa- ny's Trinasmart, Trinaswitch and Trinapeak models. System owners receive the same type of design and efficiency benefits with smart modules that have embedded power optimizers as with the add-on power optimizers. The power optimizers offer MPPT per module, which allows for flexible instal- lation design with multiple orientations, tilts and module types in the same string. 2. Safety No fretting about meeting any Rapid Shutdown requirements. A smart or AC module is ready to com- ply right off the bat. 3. More monitoring, less mismatch Incorporating MLPE into the module at the outset ensures module-level monitoring in each system to help pinpoint system performance issues, resolve those issues and minimize downtime over the life of the system. "Using smart modules offers a variety of benefits, such as faster installation for labor savings, simplified purchasing and inventory, and easier site logistics," says Lior Handelsman, VP of marketing and product strate- gy at SolarEdge. "With the optimization in Trinasmart and Trinapeak, you increase the energy produced by your PV system by minimizing mismatch losses caused by partial system shading or the varying degradation rates of individual modules," says Parjanya Rijal, product marketing man- ager at Trina. If problems are discovered, each manufacturer notes the simpler serviceability for field replacement in addi- tion to the more granular degree of optimization. The strategy here is to maximize the energy produced from each cell in a module and increase durability by elimi- nating hotspots. For example, the NeON ACe provides an integrated web-based solution. Monitor power generation through the internet, anywhere and anytime and utilize an auto- matic problem diagnosis function. With the LG AC Module mobile app, it's possible to set up all monitor- ing configuration steps. 4. Install flexibility Tigo seems to work with every company on both the module and inverter side to ensure smooth integration of its Flex MLPE TS4 Platform. Tigo emphasizes the importance of selective deployment with its Flex MLPE TS4 platform because different functionalities can be used together in the same system by using dif- ferent TS4 covers. "Diodes, monitoring and safety (TS4-D, TS4-M and TS4-S) can be selectively deployed on any size system," the company notes. "Predictive IV is a feature of the TS4-O and TS4-L, which uses analytical data about the module itself to predict optimal performance con- ditions. This data is used in conjunction with Tigo's impedance matching technology, allowing for selective placement only on shaded modules." Optimization also enables wiring flexibility: Longer strings, uneven string lengths, layouts and orientations, shade mitigation and so on. "For example, a residential customer might combine strings of modules of different lengths or tilts. Customers can also have modules at different orienta- tions on the same string," Rijal says. In addition to fitting more modules into tight spaces, one can easily add additional panels in the future as power needs increase. These features boost the aesthetic and technical advantages of rooftop solar. When working with SolarEdge inverters, SolarEdge power optimizers automatically maintain a fixed string voltage, allowing installers even greater flexibility with longer strings and strings of different lengths in order to design optimal PV systems. This means more mod- ules can be installed on the roof for increased system size and longer strings for decreased BoS costs.

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