RenewSys, India’s first & only integrated manufacturer of Solar PV Modules & its components i.e. Encapsulants, Backsheets, and PV Solar Cells, became the first Indian company to launch the production of five Bus Bar (BB) Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Cells.
The 5BB cells, part of RenewSys’ RESERV range of solar PV cells, will be manufactured using world-class European PV cell equipment. Greater efficiency of power output will directly impact the feasibility and scale of solar projects. Additionally, RenewSys has been investing in R&D and improving its manufacturing facilities towards fueling the growth of the solar power sector in India.
Increasing the number of Bus Bars (BBs) in a photovoltaic cell lowers the series resistance and thus increases the current. Eventually, the PV cell power increases, which improves the overall module performance. Apart from the advanced technologies such as PERC, PERT and IBC, increasing the number of Bus Bars, is an attractive technology development to produce solar panels with higher efficiency.
“We work towards ensuring that our products are high performing, commercially viable, and future-ready. RenewSys recognizes that quality raw materials, commitment to R&D and competitively priced products are crucial to the solar industry, affecting the performance and success of PV solar power systems. The launch of 5BB cells and modules will significantly improve the performance of solar PV systems,” says Avinash Hiranandani, Managing Director, RenewSys India Pvt. Ltd.
RenewSys will start commercial production of its 5BB Solar PV Panels/ Modules from July 2017 onwards. 5BB cells are expected to noticeably improve the panel/ module efficiency when compared to solar panels/ solar modules that use 4BB or 3BB cells. The additional Bus Bar in conventional silicon solar cells (with respect to 3BB/ 4BB) facilitates a uniform distribution of stress, making 5BB cells more durable.
Avinash Hiranandani mentioned, “While we are excited to announce these developments, we hope that the government will support companies like RenewSys that have made significant investments based on the Government of India’s pro local manufacturing policy.”
RenewSys had recently completed the ramp up of its 100 MW cell line. The factory reached leading-edge industry-level cell efficiencies at full capacity at the end of April 2017. Of the new Indian market entrants which started setting up cell production in 2016, RenewSys is the first to reach full production. The cell production line has been commissioned with the help of Solsol, a leading German consultancy and engineering company specialized in PV device and production technology.
Dr Stephan Wansleben, CEO of Solsol, adds “One cannot stress enough the importance of high performing, reliable products. RenewSys has quickly established itself as one of India’s dependable technology leaders among PV Solar Cell and PV Solar Panel manufacturers.”
Commending the team at Solsol for their support Hiranandani says, “Solsol is a great technology partner with a vast project experience. They helped us reach competitive productivity in the shortest possible time.”
Canadian Solar today launches the super-high power Series 5 and Series 6 PV modules to celebrate Canada Day. These new modules will join the HiKu, BiHiKu and HiDM portfolios, expanding the range of high-power, high-efficiency mono facial and bifacial solar modules.
Series 5 portfolio – HiKu5, BiHiKu5: HiKu5 and BiHiKu5 use LeTID (light- and elevated temperature-induced degradation) mitigation technology and have power classes of up to 500 W. Available in both monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells, the LeTID of the HiKu5 is 50% lower than the industry standard, according to Canadian Solar.
Series 6 portfolio – HiKu6, BiHiKu6: HiKu6 and BiHiKu6 (bifacial) offer power classes of up to 590 W and module efficiency of up to 21.3%.
Series 5 portfolio – HiDM5: HiDM5 expands upon the HiDM product line, manufactured in Canadian Solar’s Guelph factory in Ontario. Using shingled cells, the HiDM5 will be available in power classes of up to 405 W.
“Since I founded the Company in Canada 19 years ago, I am proud that Canadian Solar has become a leader in the development and deployment of the latest solar technologies. As reflected in today’s announcement, our commitment is to develop leading technology that will deliver more solar energy more cost-effectively,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Canadian Solar. “Our HiKu, BiHiKu, and HiDM product ranges have always been at the forefront of PV module technology, and the launch of the new Series 5 and Series 6 modules is another important achievement as we continue to provide powerful, efficient and high-quality solar solutions.”
The new products will be backed by competitive warranties and Canadian Solar’s commitment to high-quality customer service.
Why the admirers? Quality hardware built by a company with a reputable track-record in manufacturing DC appliances for over 80-years. Proving a superior design, many of the critical elements which make the Fronius Primo solar inverter have succeeded for the best part of a decade.
A beautiful sentiment to proven technology, but a lot has changed as solar energy takes the main stage becoming a key feature in modern residential energy supplies. Therefore, how does the Fronius Primo compare against today’s best-known inverter specification?
Internal cooling is fan regulated ramping up to a max 65 dB (A) and considered a likely point of failure. The Fronius Primo remains a worthy candidate for reliable outdoor installation with a robust IP65 dust & water rating. Battery compatibility is available via an AC coupled, or a compatible DC-coupled battery such as the SolarWatt Matrix.
Features for greater installation flexibility include; WiFi and Ethernet communication, inbuilt DC isolator, Fronius supplied rapid shut down capabilities with the Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box (if required) and in-depth monitoring insight with additional Fronius devices such as the Fronius Smart Meter. Shadow management is enhanced by more than just dual MPPT array inputs with Fronius’s Dynamic Peak Manager onboard. Additional product support is available from installers to end-users with remote firmware updates possible, plus advanced monitoring data access.
With the technology evolution of inverter information access from almost anywhere, a multifunction LED interface is the new standard of interpreting essential operation locally. LCD graphic interfaces are a common point of failure within inverter design and often expensive to repair. For those seeking module-level monitoring or optimisation capabilities, the Fronius Primo range has no manufacturer-supplied option. To support such a feature a 3rd party device such as Tigo is required.
Primo Features; SUPERIOR.
LCD graphic interface.
WiFi & Ethernet inbuilt.
No manufacturer supplied module-level optimisation options.
Fronius Primo inverters perform better in colder climates. The operating temperature range is outstanding for below-freezing conditions down to -40°C. For areas subject to constant heat the Fronius Primo’s upward temperature range is less than ideal, limited to only 55°C (131°F), derating from the 97% efficiency after 40°C (104°F). Weight is a little excessive at 21.5kg, almost 10kg heavier than leading inverter weight specifications.
The maximum noise emission from the Fronius Primo range is 65 dB(A). Excessive in comparison to a new expected average of 25 dB(A) or less. Even though essential performance traits lag some of the best known, the Fronius Primo range provides VERY GOOD performance criteria.
Primo Performance; VERY GOOD.
97% European weighted efficiency.
Min temperature range -40°C (-40°F).
Max temperature range of +60°C (140°F).
Temperature derating 40°C (104°F).
Weight 21.5 kg (47.3lbs).
Noise emission max 65 dB (A).
The base Fronius Primo inverter guarantee is a 5-year parts and labour warranty. However, when purchasing through selected Fronius partners, end-users can enjoy a solid 10-year warranty upon redemption after installation.
An approach which provides greater assurance that the product is installed to manufacturer specifications and the warranty has worth. Offering such, end-users can be assured one of the most reliable warranties available. This recent warranty program has skyrocketed Fronius to the pinnacle of the Solar Review Guarantee Inverter Assessment Criteria for OUTSTANDING guarantee assurance.
Primo Guarantee; OUTSTANDING.
10-year parts warranty.*
10-year service warranty.*
*Authorised installer network with additional end-user benefits.
A cut above most other manufacturer-supplied monitoring options. See the full Fronius Solar.web monitoring software review for more insight
SolarEdge Technologies is one of the world’s fastest-growing solar inverter manufacturers and currently ranked as the third-largest inverter manufacturer globally behind Chinese electronics giants Sungrow and Huawei. The company with headquarters based in Israel supplies a wide range of inverters for residential, commercial, and small utility-scale solar installations, along with a range of optimizers and smart energy solutions.
Founded in 2006 SolarEdge is rather unique among Inverter suppliers as they do not manufacture conventional string solar inverters but what the company refers to as ‘intelligent inverter systems’ using power optimizers to maximize power generation at the individual panel level.
SolarEdge systems have long held a large market share in the US and India but only recently has popularity started to surge in Australia. European sales have also grown rapidly as both customers and installers realize the benefits of individual panel-level monitoring to help reduce the impact of shading and performance issues. Despite the higher upfront cost and added complexity, many installers are pushing the advantages of optimized systems due to the many advantages explained in detail below.
How The SolarEdge System Works
Traditional string solar inverters convert DC power from one or more strings of panels to AC, which depending on the numbers of panels and several other factors, results in a wide range of operating voltages. The string inverters track the voltage and convert the DC to AC at the maximum power point (MPP) of the entire string. This generally works very well unless there is partial shading, dirty cells or issues with one or more panels which results in the whole string power being reduced.
SolarEdge Inverters on the other hand operate at very specific voltage point (typically 380V). They work by using DC power optimisers connected to each solar panel. The optimisers work much like a maximum power point tracker (MPPT) and can either boost or reduce the panel voltage to deliver the required voltage to the inverter. If several panels are shaded or under performing resulting in low voltage or current, the other panel optimisers can compensate (up to a point) for the poor performing panel and provide the optimum string voltage.
SolarEdge optimisers are in effect DC to DC converters which work together to deliver the optimum string voltage to the inverter for maximum power.
Of course there are some limitations to the SolarEdge system. For example, if multiple panels are shaded or under performing the optimisers can only compensate so much (as they have a limited range) before whole system performance is reduced. I should also mention power optimisers cannot generate additional power during bad weather or when most of the panels are dirty, or shaded, sorry they aren’t magic!
SolarEdge DC Power Optimisers
Optimisers along with micro-inverters are generally known in the industry as MLPE or Module Level Power Electronics, which as the name suggests consists of electronic power conversion units attached directly to individual solar panels. MLPE’s offer a range of benefits including power optimisation to ensure every panel is performing at it peak power output, plus panel level monitoring to provide real time power generation data from every panel in a solar array. Using this, under performing panels can also be highlighted and assessed for issues.
Due to the vast array of different solar panels available on the market with different power ratings (from 250 to 450 Watts) and various operating voltages, SolarEdge has produced a wide range of optimizers designed specifically for the many different types of panels and configurations. See the full details here.
Range Of Solar Inverters
The compact HD wave residential inverters are available in a large range of sizes from 2.5kW to 10kW (single-phase). Like most inverter manufacturers SolarEdge has followed suit and removed the display screen to help increase lifespan and reduce faults. The range of larger-scale 3-phase commercial inverters keeps growing with a wide range of inverters from 15kW through to 82.8kW and larger 100kW units in the pipeline.
Residential Inverter Range
Single-phase from 2.5 to 10.0kW – HD wave – Data sheet
3-phase range from 5.0 to 8.0kW (New) – Data sheet
Shading is one of the most common problems with standard string inverters and rooftop solar installations. However, with an optimised system if one or more panels is even partly shaded the optimisers bypass or compensate for the shaded panel/s without effecting the output of the other panels in the string.
Besides shading there are many other reasons (listed below) why individual panels or strings can underperform or reduce performance. Even minor issues can become more problematic over time as PV systems age and can develop hotspots due to individual cells degrading at different rates. Different panel degradation rates (typically 1-2% in the first year and 0.4% per year after) can result in 5-6% mismatch over life of the system.
Listed below are main factors which can result in reduced system performance on old or newly installed systems.
Shading – Trees, buildings, poles, wires, antennas, or rooftop structures
Panel mismatch – manufacturing tolerances
Panel damage – micro cracking, hot spots or water ingress
Temperature difference – thermal mismatch at different times of the day
Soiling – Dust, snow, bird droppings or birds
PID – Potential voltage and current leakage issues
PID issues in particular can be very difficult to assess without using expensive specialised equipment, however with the aid of individual panel level monitoring the SolarEdge system makes it much easier to identify Potential Induced Degradation issues as they develop.
Additional Optimiser Benefits
The SolarEdge system offer additional benefits to solar installers in regards to flexibility in design layouts as described below. One important benefit is when it comes to replacing old or faulty panels on systems in the future it is often very difficult to find the same size or model panel, optimisers overcome this as they can function will multiple panel sizes and models on the same string. For example you can replace an old 260W panel, which are no longer available with a 300W panel, and each panel will still operate at its maximum power point.
Added benefits of SolarEdge Optimisers
Multiple orientations one on string
Different panels on one string – ideal for upgrading old systems
Maximise roof space – shading in winter less of an issue
Can install parallel strings of unequal lengths
Monitoring at the individual panel, string and inverter level.
Remote troubleshooting via the monitoring portal
In addition to the individual panel level monitoring and power optimisation, SolarEdge optimisers offer a great safety advantage by reducing the DC cable voltage to 1 volt per panel in the event of a grid or inverter shut down. Strings of solar panels can be dangerous (during the daylight) as the DC voltages are usually 300-600 Volts, which can be hazardous in the event of a fire or an emergency.
High DC string voltages in combination with damaged connectors, faulty isolators, water ingress or corrosion can potentially lead to an arc fault resulting in a severe damage to the panels or in the worst case a rooftop fire. SolarEdge inverters also incorporate built in art fault detection (UL1699B) to help mitigate the chance of arcing.
Added safety – during installation and commissioning, before the inverter is switched on, the voltage is reduced to a safe level with the DC string voltage corresponding to the number of panels in the string. ie. 12 panels = 12 volts DC.
SolarEdge offer a 25 year warranty on all power optimisers and a leading 12 year warranty on all inverters with optional extensions of 20 or 25 years. Of course a warranty is only useful if the company is around in the future to support it and SolarEdge is doing very well so this would not be a problem.
Some of our solar professionals have noted warranty claims can be problematic with SolarEdge and generally take longer to resolve than other manufacturers.