Start-Up Announces Rooftop Solar Tracker
Although tracking systems are prevalent in the ground-mount solar market, a California-based start-up has announced a new dual-axis solar tracker designed and built specifically for the commercial and industrial rooftop sector.
Edisun Microgrids Inc., a company created at technology incubator Idealab, has launched its new PV Booster tracker system. Edisun claims that by continuously facing solar modules toward the sun, the dual-axis system increases the energy production by 30% and yields 20% better economics versus conventional fixed-tilt installations.
Bill Gross, CEO of Edisun Microgrids and founder of Idealab, said PV Booster brings “the proven economic benefits of solar trackers from the ground to the rooftop, enhancing returns, as well as opening the market to a large and underserved customer base.”
According to the company, the system has a low wind profile, and its embedded intelligence automatically retracts modules at night and during periods of high wind. Furthermore, Edisun says the trackers are powered by a brushless, low-voltage motor that consumes less than 0.01% of the total installation energy generated and uses a battery backup unit to maintain operations when grid interruptions occur.
The company says PV Booster is now available to customers, including rooftop owners, project developers, installers, distributors and region-specific partners.
UL Publishes Long-Awaited Inverter Standard
Following months of anticipation, global safety science organization UL has published a new inverter standard update that is expected to significantly help with solar integration onto the grid – UL 1741 Supplement A (SA).
UL has also announced a new Advanced Inverter Testing and Certification Program, which the group says will utilize UL 1741 SA to test and certify inverters and other utility-interconnected distributed generation (DG) equipment for grid-support functions, enabling smarter, safer, reactive grid interconnection.
“Brownouts or blackouts have demonstrated the far-reaching impacts of utility grid instabilities,” said Jeff Smidt, vice president and general manager of UL’s energy and power technologies division. “We are pleased to now publish the latest updates via UL 1741 SA for grid-support utility-interactive inverters to meet the current market need for a more stable utility grid.”
As UL explains, advanced inverter testing is smart, reactive control of DG for support of ongoing modernization of grids utilizing increasing levels of DG and renewable energy resources. UL says traditional utility interconnection requirements (IEEE 1547) require DG devices to disconnect when the grid is experiencing stability issues. The UL 1741 SA specifies the test methods needed to build the foundation enabling DG devices to stay online and adapt their output and overall behavior to stabilize the grid during abnormal operation, rather than simply disconnecting.
The State of California previously announced that inverters installed in the state will be required to comply with the Rule 21 grid-interconnection requirements within one year of publication of the UL 1741 SA. Other states are considering adopting similar installation requirements, especially in areas with high levels of DG and solar penetration.
In other news, UL has also acquired energy engineering services and advisory firm AWS Truepower – a move UL says will expand its global renewable energy portfolio by strengthening full lifecycle solutions for wind and solar energy sectors.
AWS Truepower is an Albany, N.Y.-based company providing renewable energy services through five business units covering project advisory, performance engineering, due diligence, information services and grid solutions. Its service portfolio complements UL’s current renewable energy offering focused on testing, inspection and certification, as well as performance verification of solar, wind and energy storage systems.
AWS Truepower’s employees will join UL and remain with the company. As of press time, AWS Truepower is expected to continue operating under its current brand name “for the time being.”
Companies Launch Solar+Storage Financing Programs
Two companies have separately announced new solar-plus-storage financing.
Tabuchi America has launched the GEOSmart SolPower Program, a 20-year loan program and lease option that the company says will provide $300 million in financing for residential solar-plus-storage installations.
To design and offer the program, Tabuchi joined forces with the Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA), a nonprofit energy-efficiency and renewables advocate. EGIA delivers financing and discounted business and training solutions to contractors, manufacturers and distributors. Just as new financing and incentive programs are driving a booming residential solar market, the GEOSmart SolPower Program helps meet growing demand for home energy storage by providing new financing choices to homeowners, according to Tabuchi.
Under the GEOSmart SolPower Program, customers receive financing directly from EGIA’s GEOSmart Financing Clearinghouse to cover the installation of PV systems and Tabuchi smart inverters and batteries. EGIA provides financing at fixed annual percentage rates from 10 years at 1.99% and 20 years at 4.99%, as well as options for no down payment and no prepayment penalty. The loan covers materials, installation and development up to 100%, and loan term options are 10, 12, 15 and 20 years. Tabuchi says participants in the program own the system and all tax and solar incentives directly, without using their homes as collateral.
“The market is full of interest in solar-plus-storage, but high upfront costs and the complexity of seeking out separate solar and storage systems has been a roadblock for too long,” said Harumi McClure, chief operations officer and president of Tabuchi America. As of press time, the GEOSmart SolPower Program is available in 17 U.S. states.
Separately, Sharp Electronics Corp.’s energy systems and services group is now offering financing for commercial and industrial solar PV systems coupled with its SmartStorage energy storage solution.
The company says its new program is dedicated to $0 down financing for solar projects integrated with Sharp’s SmartStorage behind-the-meter energy storage system and is available to developers and integrators, as well as end users. During its initial phase, program funding of $25 million is expected to support the deployment of more than 12 MW of hybrid systems within the next 12 months.
“Financing is a critical piece to the advancement of the energy storage industry,” said Carl Mansfield, general manager and founder of the energy systems and services group.
According to Sharp, the SmartStorage system is designed to work synergistically with solar as part of an integrated hybrid energy solution.