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Canadian Solar Introduces “Smart Solar Panels”

Thomas Schueneman | Monday October 17th, 2011 | 2 Comments

Intelligrated Solar PanelCanadian Solar will introduce their new line of “intelligrated” solar panels at the Solar Power International conference that kicks off today in Dallas. Starting with the CommercialAC three-phase AC version for commercial installations, the new grid-ready solar panels offer inverter integration and performance monitoring.

The “intelligrated” design combines Canadian Solar’s ELPS high-efficiency panels with integrated new sequenced inverter technology that simplifies system design, offers module-level control, and eliminates the need for central or string inverter and module or string sizing.

Intelligrated InverterThe inverter components are built with new “hot spot suppression” technology eliminating the need for diodes, making the integrated inverter design more reliable and rugged than typical microinverters. The “plug-and-play” design simplifies on-the-spot system modification and reduces the cost of system design and labor.

The CommercialAC Intelligrated panels will be available in early 2012, with subsequent plans to introduce Intelligrated products for all market applications.

The integrated ("intelligrated") inverter simplifies system design and installation

“Colorful path to parity”

Dr. Shawn Qu, CEO and founder of Canadian Solar, says the new intelligrated solar panel build on ten years of innovation from his team. Despite the “industry turmoil” solar has experienced the past three quarters, Canadian Solar has been a consistent leader in the industry with quarter by quarter growth.

“The global solar market demands constant innovation,” say Qu. The industry will continue to adapt and innovate in a growing market, where often a dizzying variety market forces, policies, rebates, and regulations make for, as Qu describes it, a “colorful path to parity” for solar.

Dr. Qu has no doubt that solar will get there, no matter how colorful the path. With innovative new products like the Intelligrated series of solar panels, Qu intends Canadian Solar will always be at the head of the pack.

Those attending the conference in Dallas can get a sneak peak at the new solar panels by stopping by the Canadian Solar booth (2516 in Hall C).

 

 


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  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kent-kernahan/4/b50/516 Kent

    “Built with new hot spot suppression technology that eliminates diodes” is a very bold claim, if they are talking about removing the safety devices “bypass diodes”

    I believe many standard micro-inverters and power optimizers leave the bypass diodes in for reasons of safety and the ability to pass rigorous IEC and UL testing.

    Recent studies have documented that IEC 61215 10.16 and IEC 61215 10.12 can insert new microcracks into solar cells in finished modules. These tests are designed to verify that a solar module will safely withstand an outdoor environment.

    In general, the literature seems to document that surface microcracks do not have much effect on module power output, however, microcracks have been documented to reduce breakdown voltage and influence the formation of new hot spots.

    I have seen many papers on module aging that document significant charges in both hot spot and IV characteristics in field aged solar modules.

    In light of their effect on hot spots, I understand that some high quality module manufactures have decided to use modules subjected to IEC 61215 10.16 and/or IEC 61215 10.12 as pre-aged modules for UL1703 (hot spot) certification. This is to verify that modules will continue to operate safely over their production lifetime.

    What little published literature there seems to be on the topic, such as USPTO published application numbers 20100152917 and 20100332167 do not seem to address the kind of changes a PV cell undergoes as documented in papers on aged PV modules.

    I wonder how they are doing it?

    Cheers,
    Kent Kernahan

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kent-kernahan/4/b50/516 Kent

    Update, based on the pictures above.

    I have to give it up for enphase, as the inventor of the Array Converter, founder and president for three years that is not easy to do. (Array Converter aka sequence inverter aka ArrayPower)

    Their current implementation looks Superior to a 100x technical advantage of US 7,929,326.

    Over the weekend pictures of the Array Converter aka “sequence inverter” aka “ArrayPower” unit were published that appear to confirm it is so much larger than an enphase unit, it could apparently contain an enphase entire unit.

    This is an extraordinary achievement by enphase.

    Forgive me for waxing technical.

    Energy storage that lasts 25 years may be one of the most expensive and space consuming parts of a power conversion design. You cannot shrink energy storage the way a transistor can go into a custom chip. Energy Storage does not follow Moore’s law.

    The enphase unit is single phase aka split phase. This means that at times it puts out zero watts (when the single phase grid crosses zero and at other times it puts out 400W when the grid is at its peak. It has to do this while all the time drawing a constant 200W from the solar panel at mpp. In other words, it has to store power when the grid is low and then move the stored power in time to give it back when the grid is high. Power x Time is energy which has a unit of Joules.

    The enphase design is storing about 0.4J (avg of 100W for avg 4ms). If this were expressed in kWh, the enphase unit is moving the equivalent of 2kWh back and forth. These are probably conservative numbers since larger energy storage also reduces ripple on the PV making mpp more accurate.

    Array Converters are three phase and put out balanced power. This means the only power they have to move is out to the phases and since the power across all three phases is constant, it only has to store the power for one internal high speed switching cycle. That cycle was 30us (0.000030 sec) when I designed it.

    An Array Converter should only need to store 0.006J (200W for 30us). or 0.022kWh back and forth.
    Source: US 7,929,326 and math.

    That is fundamentally a 100x storage advantage to Array Converter over enphase and yet the enphase unit is smaller.

    This says to me that if enphase had had the advantage of Array Converter technology, their three phase implementation would be between 2/3 and 1/2 the size and cost of their single phase implementation.

    Array Converter may have a technical advantage, but enphase has more than made up for that with superior execution.

    enphase should be vigilant however, execution can be fixed and after $22M invested, I doubt the VCs will let this one go.

    With respect,

    Kent Kernahan