Renusol Says The Time Is Right For East-West Mounting

Renusol America has introduced a ballasted east-west racking and mounting system intended for flat commercial rooftops in North America.

The Renusol EW system follows the launch of a similar product in Europe last year and suggests that such a configuration is approaching mainstream levels of acceptability.

“We decided to go the east-west route instead of a more traditional south-facing system because the east-west system has several advantages,” says Bart Leusink, CEO of Renusol America. “You get a higher density of modules on the roof than you can achieve with a south-facing system. With the cost of modules continuing to come down, you are not adding a lot of expense. And while you cut your peak in the middle of the day, you extend sun hours and overall generation.”

According to Leusink, as more areas in the U.S. move to time-of-use electricity rates, the market for east-west-facing solar panels will continue to expand. Having those extra two or three hours in the late afternoon, when usage is at its peak, is very desirable.

“The primary interest is from the Southwest, where we began to see incentives for west-facing systems,” Leusink says. “It is more important when electricity is being generated than how much peak capacity the installation has.”

From a system design standpoint, east-west installations with a lower peak capacity enable lower-capacity inverters to be specified. Instead of scaling the inverter to the peak noon output, the highest output of a string of east- or west-facing rows determines the size of the inverter. This is generally lower than what a noon-peaking arrangement would require.

Leusink says that racking and mounting structures with an east-west orientation enable the sharing of parts between paired rows of modules. On top of that, there is the advantage that the gable-like structure of the paired modules provides wind deflection as a built-in feature. This brings the cost of the mounting system down compared to the wattage that is being installed.


Larson Electronics Launches 1.2 kW Solar Generator

Texas-based Larson Electronics has released a solar-powered generator that includes four 300 W photovoltaic panels, a solar charging system, a battery bank and manual crank mast packaged in a trailer configuration.

Larson says the SPLT-1.2K-200A-19 is a 1.2 kW solar generator system that replenishes 100 amp-hours of usable battery capacity per day. The PV panels are mounted to a rotating axis assembly and can be rotated until they face inward, which protects the panels during transport. When deployed, the panels are rotated until they face upward.

In this 24 V system, each panel is terminated with a fused combiner box with a single lever-action cut-off switch. With the switch set to the “on” position, the combiner box passes power to the 80-amp-capacity OutBack Extreme charge controller, which charges a 200-amp battery bank.

The 24 V battery system consists of four 6 V batteries tied together in series and parallel. The batteries are spaced apart, strapped to the battery tray and covered with a protective shield. In order to ensure that the 50% threshold on the batteries is controlled, the solar trailer includes a system of minimum/maximum voltage sensors and relays that monitor the voltage produced by the batteries and will automatically shut off power distribution when the battery capacity falls below 50%.

All electrical components - including the combiner panel, charge controller, battery monitoring and ground fault isolation - are encapsulated in a NEMA 3R box that is bolted to the trailer.

“Our new solar-powered light mast is fully solar and requires no fuel to operate,” says Rob Bresnahan, a spokesperson for Larson Electronics. “In the event that there is an issue with the solar trailer, the operator can simply remove the SD card from the Mate 3 and send it in for analysis.”


PI Berlin Fields New Analysis Method For PV Plants

The Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin (PI Berlin) has developed an automated process that allows photovoltaic modules to be examined using electroluminescence (EL) measurements without being dismantled.

PI Berlin says up to 1,000 modules can be imaged each night using its EL technique. A software program then analyzes the test images and provides information on what measures might be appropriate to resolve module faults, including module replacement.

Each examined module is classified in a test report, allowing defective modules to be localized and replaced in the event of damage. PI Berlin says test reports help investors and operators to back up their claims to building contractors, module manufacturers and insurers. Deutsche Bank has been using the technique as a basis for managing its solar asset portfolio.

“Our test setup allows us to take high-resolution EL images of several modules at once, thus saving time,” says Juliane Berghold, head of module technology and research at PI Berlin. “These images are then analyzed and automatically evaluated by our software, which is based on our years of experience with error analysis of PV modules in power plants. This expertise also helps us to evaluate these results very quickly and recommend specific courses of action for solving problems in the plant.”


REC Certifies Solar Panels For Floating PV In North America

Norway-based REC Group has completed a series of tests to demonstrate that its solar panels are suitable for deployment in floating solar installations.

In partnership with France-based Ciel et Terre, which makes Hydrelio pontoons, REC is seeking to offer its modules for solar projects on bodies of fresh water in the U.S., Mexico and other countries.

According to REC Group, a wide range of sites are suitable, including wastewater ponds at water treatment facilities and chemical plants, irrigation storage ponds at farms or vineyards, quarry lakes, and large storage reservoirs behind dams. In drought-impacted areas, such as California, the sun-blocking shade provided by floating solar arrays can significantly reduce water evaporation. The shading effect also hinders photosynthesis in the water and, therefore, results in less algae growth on the ponds themselves.

Floating photovoltaic systems experience different dynamic stresses compared to those encountered by standard ground-mounted installations. REC Group says it has performed a battery of component and panel evaluations in real and simulated floating conditions incorporating salt spray, panel vibration, immersion and ultraviolet exposure.

Arndt Lutz, senior vice president of REC Group and managing director of its North American business, says the tests enable the company to offer performance guarantees and should help build confidence in the technology. “For many investors, solar installations on water surfaces are uncharted territory, and there are very few projects worldwide to serve as benchmarks,” he says.


Arctic Solar To Manufacture Solar Thermal Collector

Florida-based Arctic Solar Inc. will be manufacturing the Emperor XCPC external concentrating parabolic collector, developed at the University of California’s Merced Solar Lab.

The system, designed for solar air-conditioning and industrial process heat applications, pairs an evacuated tube solar collector with an external non-imaging reflector in a non-tracking roof- or ground-mount system. Arctic Solar says this combination in an east-west configuration enables the system to achieve temperatures in excess of 392°F. Each XCPC power rating is 1.07 kW at 392°F.


Luvata Releases Online Calculator For Sunwire Ribbon

Austria-based Luvata has introduced an online solar ribbon calculator designed to help photovoltaic module manufacturers optimize solar ribbon weight, ribbon length per spool and ribbon length per solar panel.

Luvata says PV module manufacturers can use the Sunwire Calculator to optimize the amount of Sunwire ribbon per spool to accommodate the speed of tabbing machines and shift changes. In addition, it provides the opportunity to further refine module materials and Sunwire ribbon for improved module efficiency and to reduce overall material costs.

The Sunwire Calculator requires a few details to determine the solar ribbon weight, the ribbon length per spool and the ribbon length per solar panel. The results are made available immediately and can be emailed directly to an email address. Users can determine the solar ribbon weight based on the copper width, copper thickness, coating thickness or the length of Sunwire depending on the number of cells and busbars per cells. R

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Renusol Says The Time Is Right For East-West Mounting




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