Sonnen, NEXTracker named as Array Changing Technologies winners


pv magazine has named the SonnenCommunity and NEXTracker’s NX Fusion as winners of its 2016 Array Changing Technologies award. The award recognizes excellence in downstream products, and winners were selected by a jury of four industry experts.

pv magazine has published the winners of its 2016 Array Changing Technologies award. Sonnen’s pv and battery energy-sharing platform, SonnenCommunity, and NEXTracker’s integrated, modular utility-scale solution, NX Fusion, were selected as the winners.

An independent jury of PV experts from industry, government and private organizations reviewed 34 entries spanning PV modules, batteries, racking and tracking, inverters and other products, with the top 20 products examined in detail in the June edition of pv magazine.

Alongside Sonnen and NEXTracker, Delta was recognized as a runner-up for its M80H string inverter, as was Quest Renewables for its QuadPod modular PV canopy structure.

Interviews with Sonnen and NEXTracker will be published in the July edition of pv magazine, and a special digital edition of Array Changing Technologies will be available online in July.

The SonnenCommunity

Sonnen’s SonnenCommunity was chosen as a winner of the highlights due to its potential to transform the electricity system so that individuals and businesses can generate their own power and share it with their neighbors, as producer/consumers, making large utilities and dirty, centralized generation obsolete.

With both the technology and business and regulatory structures that have existed to date, this has been just a dream, but SonnenCommunity’s new software platform allows the balancing supply and demand across a network of users, allowing members to trade electricity from distributed PV and battery systems on the grid through a peer-to-peer network.

Sonnen is also offering this service at less than the cost of conventional electricity. The service is only available in Germany at present, but jurists see potential for this service to come the United States in the future.

“Overall the concept is very innovative in that it allows people to trade directly with each other,” noted one jurist. “The grid is just the means of transportation of electricity and there is a grid fee. Utilities in Europe can’t block that.”

NEXTracker NX Fusion

In our work on the Array Changing Technologies award, pv magazine staff and jurists saw a clear trend: that the most impactful products were those that focused on modular, system-wide solutions, integrating multiple components.

?NEXTracker’s NX Fusion turnkey solar plant solution was recognized by jurists for its potential impacts easing installations and reducing costs for utility-scale PV systems. The system offers complete power blocks based on 320 watt modules mounted on the company’s NX Horizon single-access tracker, combined with DC wiring, advanced string inverters, UPS and piers, as well as monitoring and control systems.

The result is a complete pre-engineered AC power system, with individual components bundled, pre-wired and pre-assembled to work together for faster installation, reduced costs and scalability.

“NEXTracker Fusion is accelerating the marketplace now, in a very timely way,” noted one jurist. “It doesn’t come across as just a better tracker, but a better system.”

pv magazine’s jury included Sunrun Supply Chain Manager Dirk Morbitzer, DNV GL Section head, Solar Engineering and Technology Elizabeth Mayo, Geoffrey Kinsey, a technical advisor under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office and Rocky Mountain Institute Electricity Systems Practice Manager Joseph Goodman.

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