Fronius launches first inverter with telecom-based shutdown command

Fronius USA has announced the solar industry’s first inverter with integrated SunSpec Communication Signal for Rapid Shutdown over Power Line Communication, a new solar industry standard published last week. The new Fronius Symo Advanced enhances both rooftop and fire-fighter safety.

The new product will reduce both hard and soft costs, since traditional shut-off boxes and wiring will be eliminated, said Richard Baldinger, the head of marketing for the company. Communication for the device is carried over the system power lines, rather than the separate wiring used in traditional shut-off boxes.

Orders will be taken ahead of mid-2018 commercial availability, aimed at helping installers comply with the January 2019 date for required compliance with NEC 2017 rules for array shutdown, Baldinger said. The new technology will enable communication between modules, add-on boxes for inverters or optimizers, and with any component on the roof, he said.

This industry standard is a multi-vendor and multi-device communication specification for inverters, modules, and string combiners to support NEC 2014, NEC 2017, and UL 1741 module-level rapid shutdown requirements.

At the same time, Fronius is launching its new second-generation Rapid Shutdown Box that can act as a combiner box, replacing a standard junction box, keeping the number of system components low. Shipping of the Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box Duo for up to 2 strings starts immediately and the Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box Quattro for up to 4 strings starts shipping in November.