Solar Builder

MAY-JUN 2018

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 | 31 2. The second key is the work done with PG&E and UL to create a testing standard that proves the system is only using the grid to power a few electrical components and not charging the battery or sending electrons back into the grid. Au: "The NEM program, the [self-gen- eration incentive program] SGIP and ITC, have a common theme: If you're going to participate, you cannot take the energy from the grid and sell it back. You have to have 75 to 100 percent of the power gener- ated from a renewable energy source. To do that, you need meters to show how much of the PV is being produced and how much is being put on the grid. "That's not an integrated solution. You literally have to split everything out and have to put a meter there for added cost. And then to govern that, there is addi- tional labor and time required. We wanted to do everything natively. We took our Self-Powered Controller and put it inside the battery, so we're talking to the battery and to the inverter, which is on our native SCADA platform. "Two weeks ago the utilities and PUC came in and said we could start moving forward with this. This is a true milestone for us. We said we will take on the extra burden of creating a power plant — a renewable base load — and we're going to get it approved by utilities." 3. NX F low isn't generating more power, but completely smoothing out production over time. But, because of the modularity and the system's tracking algorithms and analytic capabilities, more production is possible too. Au: "You no longer have clipping loss. A lot of guys design DC:AC ratios north of one. In our case, any time you go north of one, it gets stored and could be used in the later part of the day. That's why we called our RFP Decapitate the Duck because the energy is stored and shifted to later times when the head of the duck [curve] would pop up. "We can go out and apply for an SGIP type program and can put more than 1 MW of PV panels out there because a flow battery actually falls into the fuel cell cat- egory. All we care about is nameplate rat- ing. So we have a UL listed inverter with guts that are 30 kW but de-rated to 15 kW. So, instead of 40 tracker rows, we have 60 tracker rows and take a lot more of the energy produced in the day, store it and then release it later in the day when the sun sets." Taken together, this easily deployed, modular power plant could be a founda- tional building block for the next era in large-scale distributed generation. For the full chat and to become a Solar Builder Buzz subscriber, head to this link: Chris Crowell is the managing editor of Solar Builder.

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