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News, Solar, Solar Inverter

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?

Design

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.

Fronius

Primo Design; VERY GOOD

  • AC Coupled battery compatibility.
  • No change for the last 5-years.
  • Fan Cooled.
  • Major internationally recognised award.
  • TÜV Reihnland certified.
  • Standard
  • IP 65.

Features

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.

Fronius

Primo Features; SUPERIOR.

  • 2 MPPT.
  • LCD graphic interface.
  • WiFi & Ethernet inbuilt.
  • No manufacturer supplied module-level optimisation options.
  • Manufacturer supplied module-level rapid shutdown options.
  • Manufacturer supplied expanded monitoring options.
  • Nominated shadow management protocol onboard.
  • Remote access firmware updates.

Performance

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.

Fronius

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).

Guarantee

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.

Fronius

Primo Guarantee; OUTSTANDING.

  • 10-year parts warranty.*
  • 10-year service warranty.*
  • *Authorised installer network with additional end-user benefits.

Software

A cut above most other manufacturer-supplied monitoring options. See the full Fronius Solar.web monitoring software review for more insight

Fronius

Primo Software; SUPERIOR.

  • Fronius Solar.web
  • iOS & Android app.
  • Alerts & fault diagnosis.

source: https://review.solar/fronius-primo/

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Renewable, Solar

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

How+SolarEdge+System+works+diagram

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
  • StorEdge Hybrid inverter 5.0 & 6.0 kW – Data Sheet (New 3.0 kW)
  • StorEdge battery interface for self-consumption – Data Sheet

Commercial Inverter Range

Benefits Of Power Optimisers

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

Safety Benefits

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.

Warranty

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.

Source : https://www.cleanenergyreviews.info/blog/solaredge-inverter-optimiser-review

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Energy Power, Solar, Solar Panel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aggressive push for ‘Make in India’ to bolster domestic manufacturing and make it’s economy ‘self-reliant’ in the post-pandemic era is a welcome opportunity for India’s solar energy sector. Supply disruptions from China due to coronavirus outbreak and subsequent shortage of solar components and modules have impacted India’s ambitious energy target of achieving 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.

However, despite making significant progress in solar power generation since 2014 and emerging as the world’s third-largest solar market, India’s domestic solar equipment manufacturing industry has not been able to capitalize on the opportunity. India imports 80 percent of components from China required for its solar energy production. This raises an important question: does India have the core competence, capital and capacity required to offer domestic manufacturing of solar at a scale that could substitute for its massive imports?

India is energy deficient. According to the World Bank, 200 million people in India still lack access to electricity. India’s energy consumption is set to grow 4.2% a year by 2035 -faster among all major economies. Its share of global energy demand is expected to double- from 5% in 2016 to 11% -by 2040. As the dependence on non-fossil fuel sources such as coal and oil is projected to decrease significantly by 2030, low-carbon sources, led by solar photovoltaics (PV) is expected to meet more than half of the new increased energy demand. Moreover, India under its climate action commitment has pledged to generate 40% of its power from non-fossil sources by 2030. Yet, while India’s annual demand for solar cell manufacturing is 20 GW, its current average annual capacity is just 3 GW. Therefore, any further delay in domestic solar manufacturing and production will have severe ramifications for the country’s energy security and economy.

While India’s annual demand for solar cell manufacturing is 20 GW, its current average annual capacity is just 3 GW. Therefore, any further delay in domestic solar manufacturing and production will have severe ramifications for the country’s energy security and economy.

There is an urgent need, therefore, for India to devise a policy framework aimed at creating a diversified domestic manufacturing industry for a solar module as well as ancillary products, that could significantly reduce its import dependence, ensure a self-sufficient, sustainable and affordable energy access and generate greater employment opportunities.

India was one of the largest exporters of the best-in-class modules until 2011, with domestic manufacturers, including Bhel, Tata Solar, Moser Baer, Indosolar, and Lanco, pioneering the industry.  However, the lack of consistent government policy and financial support to match the scale, quality, and low price of Chinese imports, have undercut the growth of India’s solar technology and manufacturing. An aggressive strategy for the long-term development of the industry in line with the National Solar Mission that addresses price competitiveness, profitability, feasible finance, and capacity gaps is an immediate imperative. The sustainable domestic manufacturing industry can save USD 42 billion in equipment imports by 2030, provide equipment supply security, and create 50,000 direct and 125,000 indirect jobs in the next 5 years.

Solar cell manufacturing process is a technology and capital intensive. In the value chain of solar PV manufacturing that involves polysilicon, wafer, cell and module assembly, most Indian companies are engaged in later processes of module assembly. India’s has no technological expertise in capital intensive processes of silicon and ingot production. With 246 patents, India’s competence in solar technologies remains critically low as compared to leading solar manufacturing country China with 39,784 patents. There are incremental changes in technology at frequent intervals in the process of manufacturing, that require capital and know-how to absorb. As the cost of acquiring technology is high, India must incentivize and step up its own research and development of cost-effective, indigenous, next-generation solar panel manufacturing technology.

Solar cell manufacturing process is technology and capital intensive. In the value chain of solar PV manufacturing that involves polysilicon, wafer, cell and module assembly, most Indian companies are engaged in later processes of module assembly. India’s has no technological expertise in capital intensive processes of silicon and ingot production

As the process of manufacturing demands a multi-tiered workforce with specialized skill sets such as design and manufacturing engineers, building system specialists, modelers, and assembly line workers, analyzing skill gaps at each level of the value chain and devising focused capacity building measures will be a key step. While MNRE’s National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) is engaged in R&D, testing, certification, and skill development, it remains focused on solar energy generation. A joint collaboration between NISE and leading technical education institutions such as IITs, ITI, Council of Indian Scientific Research, National Skill Development Council could help develop skill development programs particularly focused on building India’s solar manufacturing capacity.

However, any attempt to set up solar manufacturing facilities would entail high upfront costs. In India, a major financial disadvantage for setting up of industries is the high rate of interest. The cost of debt in India is 11% or highest in the Asia-Pacific region, compared to 5% in China. Setting up a specialized financing institution on the lines of IREDA that can invest in equity or debt of domestic solar manufacturing companies and support guarantees for debt taken from other financial institutions will open up new sources of financing for the manufacturing industry.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan has certainly opened up a huge opportunity for India’s solar ambition. However, it is also time for the government to implement the urgently-required reforms on the ground!

Source: https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/why-india-needs-to-nudge-domestic-manufacturing-for-solar-industry-67388/

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Energy Power, Solar, Solar Inverter, Solar Panel, solar parks

With this, the carmaker’s total solar power capacity has increased to 6.3 MW. The plant—developed in ‘carport’ style—will cover an area of 32,985 square meters and work as a roof for the cars parked underneath in addition to meeting the internal energy requirements of the Gurugram facility.

India’s leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki has announced commissioning of a 5 MW ‘captive’ solar power plant at its Gurugram facility in the state of Haryana.

The plant—set up with an investment of more than Rs 200 million—is developed in carport style covering an area of 32,985 square meters. While the solar panels generate clean energy, these will work as a roof for the cars parked underneath. The power generated from the solar power plant will be used to meet the internal energy needs of the Gurugram facility.

The solar power project will produce 7,010 MWH of power annually and offset 5,390 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, for the next 25 years.

This is the second grid-based solar power plant for Maruti Suzuki, which had set up its first solar power plant of 1 MW at the Manesar facility in 2014. The Manesar solar power plant was further expanded to 1.3 MW in the year 2018. With the latest project, Maruti Suzuki’s total solar power capacity has increased to 6.3 MW.

Talking about the company’s green initiatives, Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, said in a company statement, “We are committed to enhancing sustainable manufacturing and to achieve self-sufficiency in many of our functions. The new solar power plant will complement our efforts to adopt environment-friendly technologies and lower the carbon footprint. We are consistently exploring new ways to harness the abundantly available clean resources and implement them in our business operations.”

Source: https://www.pv-magazine-india.com/2020/06/08/maruti-suzuki-commissions-5-mw-solar-power-plant-in-gurugram

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Energy Power, Renewable, Solar, Solar Inverter, Solar Panel, solar parks

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh – which had commissioned an aggregate 3.53 GW of solar capacity as of May 31 – will set up the new plants to ensure nine hours of daily free power supply to the agricultural sector.

The state government of Andhra Pradesh has approved the planned development of 10 GW of solar capacity to meet the energy requirements of the agricultural sector. The project is aimed at providing nine hours of daily power supply to farmers, the Press Trust of India reported.

Separately, the State Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, also approved the establishment of an Integrated Renewable Energy Project (IREP).

Integrated Renewable Energy Project

“As part of the IREP, 550 MW of wind power, 1200 MW of pumped storage hydel power plant and 1000 MW of Solar power will be set up,” PTI quoted Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah.

The proposal to set up 10 GW of its own solar power generation projects was floated by the state government in February this year as it has been incurring more than Rs 10,000 crore to meet the agriculture subsidy, lift irrigation power charges and aquaculture subsidy every year.

The subsidy has been on a continuous rise over the years with the increasing cost of power supply and also an increase in the number of agricultural pump set connections.

Source: https://www.pv-magazine-india.com/2020/06/12/andhra-pradesh-approves-10-gw-solar-projects-to-power-farming/

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