Hardware brief: Tesla solar patents, RBI’s “Underground Surety”, solar+storage+SCADA, more!


Tesla is patenting unique ways of assembling their solar roof product – “To facilitate scalable production and easy installation of PV roof tiles, a group of tiles can be fabricated together and jointed in a rigid or semi-rigid way. Carefully designed spacers inserted between adjacent tiles are needed to facilitate the jointing of adjacent PV roof tiles. The roof module can include at least a first photovoltaic roof tile, a second photovoltaic roof tile positioned adjacent to the first photovoltaic roof tile, and a spacer coupled to and positioned between the first and second photovoltaic roof tiles.” If the company is doing whole roof replacements this will be valuable, as well, it will allow greater utilization of roof space. – Source – Electrek.co


My shop has a civil engineer in house (but mostly builds rooftop C&I btm), as such, I hear much about the challenges of land work and the complexities that can arise – RBI wants to take that risk on their shoulders: “The unknown underground risk factors or installation complications in the field can make or break your bottom line. Despite extensive on-site testing, there always remains a possibility of encountering underground obstructions in the field. This causes delays, which have a financial impact on the project, whether it be needing additional materials/equipment or time to remedy the challenges. With Underground Surety, RBI is accepting this risk and all of the costs associated with it.” Source – RBI Solar


Solar+Storage is cool, but solar+storage+SCADA and is coming from a new partnership between Power Factors, LLC and Nor-Cal Controls – “Nor-Cal’s comprehensive engineering services include full monitoring and power plant control systems as well as on-site commissioning services and training support. Their expert engineers design DAS, SCADA and MET stations, and source, configure and commission systems that seamlessly integrate with Power Factors’ cloud-based technical asset management software platform. Power Factors’ Drive platform gives owners and operators a shared system for monitoring asset performance data, providing comprehensive visibility and analysis and improved operational performance.” Source – Power Factors & Nor-Cal Controls – oh – and go visit them at Booth #2625 in Salt Lake City.


Costa Rica install with multiple SureSines, plus SimpliPhi batteries

Being a South Floridian, what occured in the Bahamas with the hurricane hurts. There will be much rebuilding with small – dependable – solar, and Morningstar will be part of it: “There’s a great story behind this hardware. Morningstar had a partner, Kyocera, that won an RFP on a large rural electrification project in Brazil, with something like 20,000 homes getting small PV electric systems for essential residential needs.  But the requirement was for an absolutely bulletproof 300W DC-AC inverter that had to be very fault and user-error tolerant, economical, and encapsulated and sealed—things lower-powered inverters aren’t known for.  So we borrowed some thermal engineering and board/topology design from our charge controllers and came up with this.  It met the requirements perfectly and they’re all in use.” – Source – Mark Cerasulo of Morningstar


Headlines this morning suggested that second half Chinese demand might be slower than the originally suggested 25 GW. Might that number have been suggested to keep module pricing strong? High end module did fall a chunk last week….


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