YC1000 Native 3-phase microinverter enables Cleaveland/Price to become energy independent with a 673kW solar array

 APsystems powers massive 3-phase array at Pennsylania’s Cleaveland/Price plant

When your customers are electrical utilities, you tend to think of power on a grand scale.

So no surprise the new solar array at Pennsylvania’s Cleaveland/Price switch manufacturing plant will take its place as one of the larger solar arrays on the local grid: 673kW.

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“We knew that the project would take a lot of manpower and planning. However, we also knew that Cleaveland/Price could engineer a system that was efficient enough to be energy friendly while saving costs on a regular basis. Our long-term goal is to produce 100 percent of our electrical energy consumption, using solar power at a substantially lower cost,” said Trish Conboy, Cleaveland/Price marketing director. “We will see success in being energy independent, while being environmentally friendly. Cleaveland/Price will be capable of manufacturing with substantially lower energy costs. This will result in sustained company growth and lower product costs to customers.”

Cleaveland/Price manufactures a range of high-voltage switch products for power utilities nationwide. The company’s sprawling manufacturing complex sits in a glade off forested Route 993 in Trafford, Penn., east of Pittsburgh.

The idea for solar came less than a year ago, Conboy said, when Cleaveland/Price realized solar power costs less than purchased power, regardless of Pittsburgh’s cloudy conditions.

“Most people in the Pittsburgh area assume that solar will not work,” she said. “The fact is, solar does work in Pittsburgh and can cost less than what utilities charge for power.”

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The first step was construction of a new standing-seam roof, covering most of the plant’s eight-building layout and providing the ideal platform for an expansive array.

Cleaveland/Price engineers designed the 2,245-module array themselves, and will handle the final electrical hookup. Local contractor Don Miller, Inc., was hired to complete the installation of modules and microinverters, which began in late September and should be completed by mid-autumn.

The array features Neo Solar Power 360W, 72-cell monocrystalline modules.

APsystems YC1000 microinverters were chosen for their true 3-phase power handling and multi-module design. Each unit will handle three modules, simplifying the installation.

Steve Cleaveland, company principal, said the APsystems units also offer low-voltage startup, an advantage over string systems and boosting solar harvest.

“It only takes 22V to start up the microinverter to produce AC, so it is ideal for Pittsburgh’s cloudy and low-light days,” he said.

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Cleaveland/Price’s engineering expertise also led to an innovative racking solution, with a combination of off-the-shelf and custom-fabricated parts.

Microinverters are installed on “bridge” brackets between two Power Wide Clamps, with modules connected using a power bolt in combination with a power clamp, both from Solar Connections International. Cleaveland/Price’s own CNC team fabricated the 748 connecting “bridge” brackets in-house.

When completed, the array’s first phase will power about 30 percent of the facility’s demand. The second phase will power the remaining demand, while the final phase will power the warehouse.

Thanks to Pennsylvania’s net-metering allowance, the array should allow Cleaveland/Price to “bank” power on weekends and evenings when the facility is closed.

“We designed or purchased all equipment,” Conboy said. “This resulted in a low-cost solar array, with a less than four-year return on investment. This includes the 30 percent first-year federal tax credit on renewable energy.”

LEADER IN HIGH-VOLTAGE SWITCHES
Cleaveland/Price has been serving the power utility industry since 1975, when founder Chuck Cleaveland started supplying parts for switches that had been discontinued by electrical giant Westinghouse.

Being engineers, the Cleaveland/Price team began improving on the original designs and manufacturing its own product line. Over time that led to a full portfolio of custom switches and components rated up to 345kV, for a variety of utility applications.

Their reputation for reliability has been a major factor fueling their growth. No matter where you live in the United States, you may well drive past a Cleaveland/Price product at some point during your day.

The Cleaveland/Price solar field will be among the larger grid-tied arrays on the local West Penn Power system. It will join other high-profile commercial solar arrays in a growing regional market.

A 1.9MW solar field developed by Crayola powers that company’s crayon factory in Easton, Penn., while Lincoln Financial Field, home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, boasts an 11,000-module, 3MW array. Among utility-scale projects, Community Energy’s 6MW Keystone installation in Lancaster County provides clean power for an estimated 950 homes.

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As a state, Pennsylvania has climbed five places to No. 19 in total solar capacity nationwide, thanks to the completion of 38.8MW worth of new projects in 2016, the Solar Energy Industries Association says. An estimated 568MW will be developed in Pennsylvania over the next five years, SEIA projects.

Cleaveland/Price manufacturing plant
Location: Trafford, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Capacity: 673kW
Modules: Neo Solar Power 360W, 72-cell monocrystalline
Number of modules: 2,245
Microinverters: APsystems YC1000 true 3-phase
No. of microinverters: 748
System designer: Cleaveland/Price
Installer: Don Miller, Inc.

APsystems to deliver micro-inverter technology to Subsol in France

SUBSOL selects APsystems’ micro-inverter technology for a large scale social housing project supplying solar energy to more than 680 homes in the metropolitan area of Vienne, France.

More than 280 residential and small commercial roofs with an average power of 8 to 9 kWp will be equipped with innovative micro-inverter solutions from APsystems.

  LYON, France – 18 September 2017 – APsystems, the world leader in microinverter technology for the solar industry, today announced that it has been selected by SUBSOL, a design office and developer of roof integrated solar power plants, to be its partner in providing micro-inverter solutions for over 12,000 sqm of solar roofing, an unprecedented project in the metropolitan area of Vienne, Isère, France. A portfolio combining individual and collective multi-residential social housing projects and some small commercial public buildings will be able to provide approximately 2MWh/year, equivalent to the annual consumption of 680 households.

“It is a project put into place by the mayor, financed by local authorities and citizens, and developed above all to bring added value to the territory. SUBSOL is committed to these socially responsible projects and wishes to develop awareness of energy efficiency among tenants.” Said Jean-Baptiste Rouquerol, CEO of SUBSOL.

“We chose APsystems because of its extensive range of micro-inverter solutions, making it possible to easily address single-phase residential projects as well as small commercial buildings with a native 3-phase microinverter solution. The fact of having a local team to support us throughout the project, from the study phase to the ongoing installation phase, has reinforced our decision to work with APsystems.”.

The project is scheduled for completion by July 2018 at a rate of 45 installations per month. Thanks to APsystems’ complete solution that includes 1 micro-inverter for 2 or 4 panels, cables and accessories and an ECU communication gateway used to commission the system, enabling access to online energy monitoring anywhere, anytime via the EMA portal, the installation team, an average of 3 people, is able to complete an 8 or 9kWp installation in only 2 days, ensuring that each site meets its completion date.

“We are delighted to take part in such an avant-garde project. The innovation not only comes from the business model it is based on but also from the social dimension it carries. Solar energy in urban and built-up areas allows room for more innovative, safe and productive solutions, such as APsystems microinverters. We are convinced that this solar operation in Vienne will be a great success, and that it will be a source of inspiration for other cities,” said Olivier Jacques, Executive Vice President, APsystems.

See related coverage articles in the specialized European press :

Photon here

PES Solar here

PV Europe here

Renewable Energy Magazine here

Smart Software for fewer truck rolls

By Larry Busby, Technical Services Manager at APsystems USA

For a PV installer, there’s nothing worse than having to return to a jobsite. Except, of course, having to do it more than once. We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter, not harder,” but you would be surprised how often solar installers get in a truck and roll out to a jobsite to adjust or repair something that probably could have been fixed remotely back at HQ. Many software-savvy solar installers are boning up on best-practices to better utilize the systems and information already available to them—most of it right at their fingertips—to save both time and money.

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For solar arrays, the most critical software typically lies within the power conversion devices, gateways and interconnected online monitoring platform provided by the inverter manufacturer. The online platform not only monitors the performance of the system, but also tracks a profusion of data points simultaneously and stores that information in the cloud. By checking certain performance specs, settings, activity and historical data, installers can quickly troubleshoot and fix common hitches or, at worst, narrow down the problem that’s plaguing a PV system.

Every inverter monitoring interface is a little different, but much of the information and tools available are typically the same. With an MLPE system like microinverters, you’re able to drill down to the PV panel level to see what each module is producing at any given time. When troubleshooting a system issue, or perhaps if you see a PV panel which is reporting low or zero watts, first try rebooting the system remotely if your monitoring platform offers that capability. With some systems, a reboot may help the interface identify the issue or it might reset the array to its default parameters in case an unusual grid event threw a monkey wrench at it. It could also spur the system to begin downloading recent updates which may have stalled when the system encountered the issue. You may even consider rebooting more than once.

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If you’re still troubleshooting the issue, check the DC side of your system. For a microinverter system, you want to be sure each inverter is reporting at its minimal operating range (such as 16V) incoming DC from the panel. Next, check your AC output. If your system shows it registering 0V or 120V, the inverter may not be sensing the grid or enough volts from the grid to register as a 230V grid connection. Without an identified grid connection, the inverter will not convert energy, so if you see this as an issue with multiple sequential inverters, it could be a cable or connector problem. If it applies to the entire string or array, the problem could be a loose wire in the junction box, or a tripped or off breaker.

With a low wattage problem, you can drill down to the panel level online and check the voltage. If it’s registering under its minimal operating range, it’s likely a panel problem and not the inverter. You may still have to visit the site, but at least you know what you’re replacing and exactly where it is on the array which saves you time troubleshooting. When you hit the site, unplug the suspect panel from the inverter and take a live load DC voltage and current reading. If your panel is reading below its minimum startup voltage and 0 current, then the panel is the culprit and needs replacing.

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Also, don’t underestimate the value of historical data. Looking back over a system’s history—especially that of a single panel—may allow you to identify recurring issues that seem to affect that particular panel. Perhaps a chimney shadow hits the panel at the same time each day. You can look back through the production history to see if it occurs often, or if you have multiple installations in a particular area, you can check each of those when you see unusual grid activity to see if and how it may be affecting your other sites.

Understanding what the site metrics are telling you will give you better insight into what’s happening at a job site. Learning what you can do to troubleshoot an issue online can not only save you a truck roll, but also significantly reduce your time identifying the problem if you do have to drive to the site. Most importantly, if you do need to hit the job site, remember that safety is paramount and to always turn off the AC before doing any work on the roof.

APsystems at the JF4S 9th PV Briefing and Networking @ Intersolar Europe

APsystems  participated in the 9th ‘PV Briefing & Networking Forum Europe’ on Thursday, 1 June 2017 from 10.00 am to 11.30 am at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Hall 4 Booth A4.530 in the Innovation and Application Forum.

In addition to a lively exchange of ideas and knowledge, the programme offered outstanding networking opportunities with more than 200 like-minded experts from the international solar and energy storage industry.

Olivier Jacques, APsystems’ Executive Vice President, has been a featured speaker at the panel discussion entitled Future Paths for the European Solar Business – Winning Strategies to Compete in the Market of Tomorrow,  part of the conference.

For more information on the Joint Forces for Solar 9th PV Briefing & Networking Forum Europe, click here.

 

Olivier Jacques named APsystems Executive Vice President of USA & EMEA

Extract from PES Solar website, May 10th, 2017. 

SEATTLE, Wa., and LYON, France – May 10 2017— APsystems, the global leader in advanced microinverter technology for the solar PV industry, today announced Olivier Jacques has been named Executive Vice President, USA & EMEA. Jacques is based in Lyon, France and most recently served as APsystems Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  He will report to Dr. Zhi-Min Ling, Co-founder, President & CEO of APsystems worldwide.

 

“APsystems globalization and scale have increased dramatically under Olivier Jacques’ leadership,” said Dr. Ling. “His appointment to EVP of USA and EMEA opens up new horizons for product portfolio development, go-to-market strategies, and the MLPE innovation for which APsystems is known worldwide.”

Jacques will be a featured speaker at the upcoming GTM Solar Summit, May 16-18 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He will appear at the forum “Residential Inverters – Differentiating in a Maturing Market,” at 2 p.m. May 17. See www.greentechmedia.com for information.

“I am delighted to lead APsystems’ next stage of growth across USA and EMEA, two of the most developed PV regions in the world,” Jacques said. “Synergies are becoming more and more evident as the fast-growing PV industry is maturing. We are observing convergence today with tomorrow’s winning business models, system sophistication and customer expectations. In this context, I believe APsystems is now ideally positioned within this dynamic.”

Read the full article on PES (Power Energy Solutions) Solar website  here 

Discover similar press articles in the French media here

Largest Bifacial solar PV plant in Europe has started construction in the Netherlands

Extract from PES Solar website, March 20th, 2017.

To see other articles in Dutch from dutch media, click here.

 

To see other articles in French from French media, click here.

Tempress Systems B.V., part of the Amtech Group started the construction of  Europe’s largest bifacial PV solar plant of close to 400 kilowatt-peak (kWp) capacity in the Netherlands, using n-type PANDA Bifacial modules manufactured by China-based
Yingli Solar and YC1000 native 3-phase microinverters  from APsystems. The plant is located next to the headquarters of Tempress in Vaassen in the Netherlands and is due for completion in Q2 this year.

In contrast to standard monofacial modules, PANDA Bifacial modules generate electricity from both sides. As the rear side makes use of the reflected light from the surroundings and of diffuse light, the modules can yield up to 30% more energy, depending on the circumstances. It is expected that the annual energy production of the bifacial PV plant will exceed 400 MWh.

 

Read the full article on PES (Power Energy Solutions) Solar website  here 

APsystems announces major sponsorship of Extend The Day

APsystems, the global leader in advanced microinverter technology for the solar PV industry, today announced its commitment to Extend the Day, a charity organization which gives solar reading lights to school children in disadvantaged countries with no access to electricity.

APsystems will donate $1 to the nonprofit for every microinverter purchased up to the amount of the charity’s 2017 administrative expenses for its Lights for Learning program.

“APsystems is proud to partner with Extend the Day to bring light to these children’s lives.” said Dr. Zhi-min Ling, APsystems Global President & CEO. “We firmly believe in what Extend the Day is doing around the world and are committed to helping them continue to achieve measurable results with their Lights for Learning program.

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“This foundation commitment by APsystems is extraordinary,” said Extend the Day Executive Director Jo Lonseth. “It allows us to focus on expanding our reach and building on the successful projects we already have in Kenya, Nepal and Myanmar.  Success in life for children living in disadvantaged communities often comes down to whether or not they can continue their middle school education. These solar powered lights cost nothing to operate and make it possible for school children to do homework after dark, improve their grades, and stay in school.”

APsystems first learned about the impressive work that Extend the Day is doing when the non-profit asked APsystems for help in designing a more reliable, lightweight, and inexpensive solar powered light. As a world leader in the development of innovative solar power electronic solutions, APsystems was the right choice and eagerly worked with Extend the Day to develop the ideal solution.

For more information on Extend the Day:  extendtheday.org

Come and meet the APsystems team on stand 6F48 at the Bepositive show in Lyon, 8th-10th March 2017

Bringing together over 500 exhibitors and 30000 professional visitors working in renewable energies, sustainable buildings and technologies, Bepositive has become a real meeting place  for exchanges between solar installers, manufacturers, specifiers and more.

Bepositive is held every other year and is based  in Lyon, France, a dynamic economic region open to national and international business and where APsystems inaugurated its new EMEA office in 2016. Our APsystems European team is therefore delighted to welcome you on our stand, 6F48  where we will be showcasing our best seller duo YC500i microinverters, ideal to address the self-consumption dynamic in residential, as well as our YC1000, the 1st three-phase native microinverter connecting up to 4 PV modules.

 

 

 

Come & visit us to talk with our team and get the latest information on our product portfolio including new powerful innovations for 2017 that will be unveiled at the show.

 

Date: 8th-10th March 2017

Booth# : 6F48

Venue : Eurexpo exhibition center, Lyon, France

Bombard Renewable Energy, US Nevada, gets awarded over 500kWp of commercial solar projects with APsystems YC1000 microinverters

When the state of Nevada established a pilot program to bring solar power to marginalized communities, Bombard Renewable Energy delivered.The Las Vegas based Solar PV contractor completed a string of projects for prominent area nonprofit agencies, putting the power of solar to work for citizens and agencies not often served by renewable PV resources.“Nonprofit organizations are an overlooked segment of the commercial solar market, but that’s changing thanks to solar installation leaders like Bombard,” said Jason Higginson, senior director of marketing for APsystems USA. “We’re proud to see our microinverter products supporting the good work of so many worthy nonprofit agencies.”Bombard Renewable Energy is honored for a quintet of service-sector projects in the Las Vegas area, including:

  • HELP of Southern NevadaAn 81kW mix of rooftop arrays and solar carports supports an agency that assists families and individuals attain self-sufficiency through direct services, training and resource referrals.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Southern NevadaAn ambitious 242kW system provides nearly all the power needed for this facility, whose mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as caring, responsible citizens.
  • Las Vegas Rescue MissionRooftop arrays and solar carports totaling 125 kW support the mission complex that provides care, support and meals to the homeless and addicted population.
  • Veterans VillageA 48kW rooftop array powers an important regional center providing transitional and permanent housing for United States veterans in need.
  • Ronald McDonald House CharitiesThe 28kW shade structure supports the center’s mission of providing temporary housing for families who travel to Las Vegas to receive critical medical treatment for their children.

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The projects were built through Nevada’s Low Income Solar Energy Pilot Program, established by the state legislature several years ago to benefit low-income customers, including, without limitation, homeless shelters, low-income housing developments and schools with significant populations of low-income students.

Bombard Renewable Energy contracted with NV Energy for the engineering and construction of the projects, said Bo Balzar, Bombard Renewable Energy Division Manager.

Bombard chose APsystems’ YC1000 true 3-phase microinverters for the installations.

“Superior durability combined with a comprehensive warranty and exceptional design flexibility made APsystems the obvious choice for our projects,” Radford said. “APsystems is the only microinverter technology we found which supports both 60-cell modules at 240V and 72-cell modules at 208 and 480V 3-phase systems.”

What are the advantages of Microinverters going into 2017

Start early, work late – low-light production at either end of the day is just one more advantage of solar microinverters over conventional string systems.

Learn about the many others in “What Are the Advantages of Microinverters Going Into 2017,” a feature in Solar Power World’s 2017 Renewable Energy Handbook. Read it here