Hardware and Services Brief: Cold rated lithium ion, fencing, a creative installation in Miami, more!


Fortress Fencing’s CEO Jason Truesdale as been at it for more than 18 years. The standard product they’ve installed for solar EPCs is a six foot tall chain link fence, with a top tension wire and 1″ tall three string barbed wire. To provide pricing, Truesdale will need a site plan with the fencing path and gate locations.

Goldin Solar installed 14 kW at the Miami Children’s Museum a few years back and it’s a joy to look at. Goldin noted some of the challenges required to install an aesthetically and technically viable system for the unique and fully customized space:

  • The support beams to which panels are mounted are all at different heights, so each beam-to-beam connection is at a different angle. As a result, each set of panels had a unique set of clamps manufactured at the correct angle for their pair of horizontal beams. Ensuring the correct clamps were attached to the correct beams was an organizational difficulty.
  • The aluminum rails to which the panels are mounted are not aligned down the length of the wall. Thus, to align the panels themselves such that the cells matched from row to row, the rails were attached to the panels at alternating positions as shown in the photo below.
  • Since the panels had varying orientations relative to the sun, this project was an early application of microinverters in lieu of the typical string inverters which were the standard at the time.

Source – Goldin Solar

Lithium ion batteries perform differently in the cold. There’s constant chatter about EVs on this topic. Massachusetts company KiloVault has developed a film to warm the battery: “CHLX batteries use KiloVault’s internal heating technology to continue charging at subzero temperatures. As the ambient temperature dips below freezing (32ºF/0°C), the charging current is rerouted through a heating film in the battery, allowing it to maintain an internal temperature above freezing. Once this is accomplished, the battery can resume normal charging.” It wasn’t noted on their website what the electricity cost of the warming is. Source – KiloVault

Containerized medium voltage gear for 4.6 MWac solar projects. While it’ll probably still take 16-24 weeks for them to build it in the factory, at least installation will be fast. “SMA America has launched the Medium Voltage Power Station (MVPS) to the Americas market. Four power classes, up to 4.6 MW, of the new utility solution will be available. This solution is the first time a fully containerized, turnkey system has been offered stateside.” The system is designed to work best with the SMA Sunny Central UP inverter series. Source – SMA

S-5! product offerings have greatly expanded over the years, and we’re now at the point where it is default to assume we can attach to any roof – versus the historical challenges. The company had a roof with two unique metal products (built by a metal roofing company) installed.

First, was a non-standard standing seam – “S5!-T Mini clamps were selected to attach the solar panels to the facility’s new 238T symmetrical standing seam roof system. Featuring a two-piece design to allow easy installation anywhere along the length of the panel seam, S5!-T Mini clamps are specifically designed to fit profiles with a “T” shaped seam configuration like the 238T.” And second was a trapezoidal shaped Multi-Rib Panel roof system that used S-5!’s RibBracket II. Source – S-5!

There’s been a lot of talk about upward pressure on module pricing and any Chinese manufactured components in general, due to ongoing coronavirus challenges. PV InfoLink is just starting to see something – but not much.

There are a lot of variables that might be affecting those in the field though. Takes a few weeks for volume to move across the oceans, product that was already manufactured before the Chinese New Year and was in the supply chain moving about. As well, distributors having their own inventories are to be absorbed. However, the largest project developers, with the capital in the bank and the performance clauses in their contracts, do have project managers looking down the supply chain months in advance – and they will use their credit to lock up volume on the oceans and in warehouses.


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