Solar News Roundup - 12/04/2018

By Sushma Raj
December 04, 2018
Solar News Roundup

It's hard to keep up with the latest in clean energy.

That's why we've introduced a new blog series, Solar News Roundup, to present the most important things for you to know.

Here's 5 solar and cleantech highlights for your week...


Home Solar

New FEMA Guidelines for PV System Preparedness during Hurricanes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a revised Rooftop Solar Panel Attachment: Design, Installation, and Maintenance document that provides guidance on existing code requirements as well as recommends best practices for design, installation, and maintenance of rooftop solar panels.

The document was driven by lessons learned after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and is primarily intended for architects, engineers, and contractors. It also provides helpful information for facility operators, building and homeowners as well as for manufacturers of PV panels and attachment devices.

The document suggests that adhering to the industry standards are the best ways to protect a PV system during a hurricane. It starts with getting the system fully examined by a qualified structural engineer, followed by a competent contractor’s installation and finally by completing the periodic maintenance of the PV system. Checking and fastening the array bolts, while maintaining the system, is the most suggested task for storm preparedness.

The six key issues addressed by FEMA’s document are:

  1. Planning and Designing for Rooftop PV
  2. Commissioning
  3. Existing PV systems
  4. Maintenance
  5. Preparations prior to hurricane landfall
  6. After a severe wind storm

In addition to the above issues, the document provides an overview of codes, standards, and guidelines that are related to the PV arrays.

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Battery Storage

New SMA Solar Sunny Boy Storage Inverter

SMA Solar, a German solar energy equipment supplier, is now delivering the Sunny Boy Storage unit that serves as a fully integrated storage solution providing power during Grid Outages.

Unlike other manufacturers who offer only a simple switch and number of separate components that must be purchased, Sunny Boy storage serves as a complete solution with all parts integrated into one automated backup (although you still need the battery itself).

“Sunny Boy storage with automatic backup unit is an innovative solution and provides peace of mind and a sense of security for homeowners, knowing they will have power when they need it most.”

- Nick Morbach, EVP of SMA Residential and Commercial

Features of Sunny Boy Storage battery inverter

  • Versatile
    • Can be AC coupled for new PV systems or retrofitting existing systems.
    • It is compatible with many leading high-voltage batteries.
  • Simple & Flexible
    • Quick and easy installation.
    • Comes with multiple configuration options and has the ability to expand.
  • Innovative
    • As it comes with high level of system integration, it provides unmatched monitoring and control.
    • It has three separate DC inputs that allow for maximum power and energy capacity.
  • Cost-Effective - It provides various energy management functions for many different applications.

The five key components of the integrated automatic back up unit are:

  1. A 200 Amp rated contactor
  2. An autotransformer
  3. A built-in energy consumption metering
  4. Two 50 Amp breakers
  5. SMA backup controller

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US Renewable Energy Policy 

Energy Storage Industry Urges Congress to Clarify Eligibility for Solar Tax Credit

In a recent letter to congressional leadership, energy trade and advocacy organizations strongly urged for more clarity on the eligibility of energy storage for the 30% Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) before the end of the year.

A coalition of groups led by Energy Storage Association (ESA), is calling on lawmakers for tax clarification and consider it an incentive that could help clean energy companies obtain financing, compete internationally and grow.

The groups participating in this effort along with ESA are:

  • American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
  • Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)
  • ClearPath Action
  • Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions
  • National Hydropower Association (NHA)
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“Without clear rules of the road, companies continue to face financial uncertainty in their investments. Inclusion in the ITC is a crucial step if we’re going to harness storage’s full potential.”

- Abigail Ross Hopper, president, and CEO of SEIA

 In early November, Tesla, GM, ChargePoint, and other electric vehicle advocacy groups called for Congress to continue federal tax credits supporting emissions-free car sales.

For energy storage, ESA and other groups say all storage technologies, including batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air and others, should be eligible for the ITC. This ensures technology neutrality for the companies and enables companies to choose the optimal solution to meet their needs.

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International Energy News

India to Set 23 GW of Solar in the Northern States

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), as an initiative under National Solar Mission, has launched its plan for the implementation of 23 GW grid connected ultra mega solar PV projects in the Leh and Ladakh regions of Jammu & Kashmir.

Phase I of this ultra mega solar project includes setting up:

  • 2500 MW Solar PV Capacity in Kargil Region and
  • 5000 MW capacity Leh district.
The implementing agency of these projects, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), said the tentative drawings point for 2500 MW and 5000 MW capacity projects to be located in New Wanpoh and Hisar respectively. A single tender will be issued for selecting developers who would install the solar plants and set up power evacuation infrastructure.

“We have 35 GW of installation potential in Ladakh. We will come out with a single bid of 25 GW with storage and delivery at Una.” 

- Mr. R.K. Singh, Minister of Power

In terms of capacity, this will be India’s largest tender so far.

SECI has issued many smaller tenders for mountain regions in the past including a solar-plus-storage facility in Himachal Pradesh and a tender for two 1.5MW(AC) solar power projects with battery energy storage systems of 0.75MW / 2.5MWh each at two locations in Jammu and Kashmir, among others.

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Clean Technology News

Three New Specialty Certifications from NABCEP and DOE

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the national certification organization in the renewable energy industry, announced three new specialty certifications for solar professionals.

The new certifications, developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative, reflect specialization in the PV Industry and will be offered via Computer-Based Testing along with NABCEP’s PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification exam.

The new certifications are:

The certification provides PV professionals the advanced training, knowledge, and competencies required for their job.

“As the PV industry has matured, we noticed that job specialization within the PV industry was becoming the new norm. We developed these certifications with the Department of Energy to reflect the changes in the industry and provide a way for professionals to earn a certification that attests to their level of knowledge and proficiency in their specialty.”

- Shawn O’Brien, Executive Director of NABCEP

Apart from improving the standards of the PV market, NABCEP’s certification programs would be an invaluable tool for consumers to choose skilled and knowledgeable professionals.

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Sushma Raj

Written By

Sushma Raj

Sushma is a Digital Marketing Associate at Pick My Solar. She is passionate about clean energy technologies and the renewable world. When not at the desk, she can be seen either reading or trying her hand at cooking.

More articles by Sushma Raj

What's Pick My Solar? We empower our customers to adopt clean energy through transparency and choice. Our free, no-obligation platform provides competing solutions from top providers.

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