2018: Part 1
In 2018, Array Changing Technologies returns to recognize those solutions which are helping to push more power out of solar installations large and small, aiding the technology’s growth into new regions and new markets, and contributing to the renewable energy system of the future.
With such a wealth of new modules, inverters, mounting systems, trackers, batteries, energy management systems, and PV array supporting components on offer, the feature will be spread across two issues, with a jury of industry experts set to cast its eye over the crop of submissions, and choose an overall winner in time for September.
This winner, and a select few finalists, will also qualify as candidates for the inaugural pv magazine award, to be given at the end of the year. The recipient of this award will be chosen from the top submissions to the various features running throughout the year, covering all of the industry’s major segments.
Now, a selection of some of the strongest solutions launched in 2018, many of which will be on display at Intersolar Europe in Munich, and at Intersolar North America in San Francisco. Which will turn out to have truly Array Changing potential? Only time will tell…
2018: Part 2
Once again, pv magazine put together a jury of independent experts from across the global PV industry, who picked through this year’s bumper crop of entries to select a few choice products as particularly worthy of recognition, thanks to their potential to solve problems for industry players, push more watts out of solar installations or bring down the overall cost of deploying more solar.
After bringing the four jurors together for a lively debate, the following have been selected as 2018’s Array Changing Technologies:
Joint winner: NEXTracker: TrueCapture
NEXTracker states that its TrueCapture system can increase plant yield by up to 6%. It does this by drawing from the latest meteorological forecasts on diffuse light conditions such as clouds, fog, or pollution particulates. Then its self-learning algorithm corrects panel direction to minimize production loss due to inter-row shading and clouds. Further, the system has smart panel sensors that provide real-time sensing information on each tracker row’s shading and light conditions. This approach is unique due to the incorporation of machine learning algorithms. These improve system behavior over time and let it adapt to local conditions.
Jurors were impressed by this innovation’s ability to provide a verified gain in energy production from an installation, and to maximize ground coverage, whilst compensating for terrain and other factors.
“We are delighted to be selected by pv magazine for this year’s Array Changing Technologies 2018 award,” states Dan Shugar, NEXTracker CEO and founder. “With successful field deployments running in several countries totaling hundreds of megawatts, we’d like to thank our customers for collaborating with us, and proving that our TrueCapture smart control system can produce up to 6% more energy.”
Joint winner: Ferroamp Powershare
Current electricity grids are centralized, top-down systems. But what would a bottom-up system look like? Ferroamp’s Powershare is a good example of such an approach. It is a small-scale DC nano-grid shared by a small group of consumers as a backup to the main AC grid. The Powershare nano-grid consists of small-scale generation – usually PV and/or wind – and often also batteries and electric vehicle charging stations. A number of successful projects in Sweden have shown the feasibility of the solution by connecting local office buildings in a small grid. This provides them with backup electricity in the case of a power outage, but also creates a local microeconomy and reduces their electricity tariffs. The company acknowledges that regulatory hurdles exist in many countries in which there are few distribution companies with a natural monopoly. However, the European Union’s ‘Winter Package’ has taken steps toward opening up markets for micro-grids operated alongside traditional monopolies.
Ferroamp impressed the experts with it’s solution’s ability to prepare for a future of freedom from utilities and a grid based on multiple, distributed energy sources.
“We are really excited being recognized as winner in the PV Magazine Array Changing Technologies. This will help us spread the word about our novel PowerShare technology and its' possibilities to increase the profitability and versatility of PV installations on global markets,” says Björn Jernström, CTO, Ferroamp.
Highly commended: Cobalt Energy PV-Serve/PV-Vision
Inspection services are not as sensational and headline-grabbing as some parts of the PV value chain, but are a quiet achiever in the plant manager’s arsenal. U.K.-based Cobalt Energy offers the PV-Serve and PV-Vision solutions that work together to enable night-time electroluminescence inspections, dark I-V curve tracing, and bypass diode function checks. First, PV-Serve injects a reverse current flow into a given string or module. Then PV-Vision can capture high definition video and photographs of electroluminescence. Active cells emit a bright grey or white light, while damaged or inactive cells appear darker or even jet black. Detectable defects include: mechanical stresses, manufacturing defects, potential induced degradation (PID), and bypass diode failures.
Cobalt Energy’s solution was singled out by jurors for its portability, and potential to allow plant operators to hold manufacturers and EPC providers responsible for the equipment they install.
View the full feature from the September edition of pv magazine here. pv magazine would like to thank our expert jurors for their time, and all the companies who submitted products for sharing their latest innovations with us. Until next year!
Now separated across three monthly issues, this year's feature highlights 20 innovations that are shaping the European and North American solar markets. Our expert panel has also been split into two, bringing their unique insight and knowledge to the table, and helping to select the three finalists from both sections.
The overall winner, announced in the September edition of pv magazine, is Amber Kinetics. The company's M32 Flywheel solution was singled out by the independent jury for its huge potential as a chemical free form of storage, capable of unlimited cycling and 30-year lifetime with little need for maintenance – even in harsh climates – as a truly Array Changing Technology.
June issue: 10 Array Changing Technologies Europe
July issue: 10 Array Changing Technologies North America
September issue: Finalists and overall winner