SPI Day 3: solar tools, solar modules, electrical panel upgrades, future inverters, more!


pv magazine USA appreciates the hard work, and personal energy, that so many professionals put into making Solar Power International in Salt Lake City such a great show. Getting a chance to focus on the gear, shaking the hands of the names you know from the phone, and figuring out what’s going to fit in your project the best is the meat. And there’s a lot of meat.

That’s CEO Suvi Sharma of Solaria in front of his company’s PowerXT 370 Wp residential solar module. The all black module is really a challenge to photograph – but that’s the purpose. The company also released their AC solar module with an Enphase microinverter. Had a great talk with Sharma at the show, and a full article is coming.

Hukseflux USA makes Pyranometers to help you understand explicitly what the solar resources are at your site, and to compare your performance measured from hardware versus what it potentially could be. If you find that this hardware and your modules aren’t lining up, you’ve got something to investigate – is it dust? Funky hardware? Bad wiring? A bad meter? You’ll find out soon enough…

I’m going to review Span’s hardware soon. I’m very interested in the evolution of home electric panels. I saw their booth a bunch of times, but didn’t get to talk to them. So far, their website and their PR isn’t really giving out much detail, so be patient while I get a hold of what’s going on inside of this.

Good tools matter, really they do. I spent time at SPI on the Quality Roundtable, and my portion of the presentation was about fires (thermal events is the technical term). The root causes circled connectors and the folks making the connections. Rennsteig Tools makes some of the best crimpers I’ve touched. Of course, having solid tools is only a part of the equation.

That’s a 250 kW inverter down there. And those individual blades are 42 kW each. Team Brek Electronics is the designer. It’s not available today, but one day it – or something like it – will be. The unit uses a silicon carbide based composite architectures. The company’s Department of Energy American Made Challenge page goes into a bit more detail. Also, the team members – literally – wrote the book on the physics of power electronics.

LG has launched new solar modules at higher efficiencies, had a cool solar rooftop for a car on display – and also launched their own AC solar modules with their own microinverter (not Enphase’s they said). Looks thin and sleek, but you’ll never actually see it in real life – as it’ll be hid under your modules.

I really like including a picture of ground screws, because I imagine that if I had one of these as a child, I’d have done something really cool with it. Unit is manufactured by American Ground Screw.

That there is a SolarEdge 40 kWh commercial energy storage product that is projected to come to the U.S. market in May of 2020. The unit was noted as being both compatible with AC and DC coupling. SolarEdge bought South Korean battery manufacturer Kokam, and is continuing to sell utility scale products labeled by Kokam, and expanding the facility towards 2 GWh/year in manufacturing capacity. We’re going to have a story on them based on an SPI interview soon enough.

Well folks, that’s what I got for you. I hope you learned something, saw some new hardware, or just enjoyed the pretty pictures. SPI Salt Lake City 2019 was a great show me for, and I look forward to visiting Anaheim, California for the show next year.

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