Alencon to Present PV Plant Optimization Technology at PV O&M USA 2017

Alencon to demonstrate solutions for optimizing PV plant production at North America’s premier PV O&M conference

Alencon Systems will showcase its range of solutions for optimizing the performance of commercial and utility scale PV plants at PV O&M USA 2017 on November 2 and 3, 2017 in San Jose, CA. Alencon’s String Power Optimizer, the SPOT, is the PV industry’s most powerful and versatile string-level DC-DC optimizer for large commercial and utility scale applications. 

Alencon’s SPOT offers a number of applications for increasing the amount of kilowatt hours (Kwh) harvested from a PV plant.  The SPOT can be retrofitted into older PV plants suffering from a great deal PV panel mismatch due to uneven panel degradation, mismatched panels replaced over time, interrow shading or a myriad of other factors. The SPOT improves PV yield in such plants by offering more granular, string level maximum power point tracking (MPPT) into plants with central inverters with a single MPPT for each array.  Additionally, the SPOT can improve the safety of existing plants by adding arc and ground fault detection while at the same time making O&M more cost effective to deliver by isolating each string in a plant, making it easier to detect exactly where faults occur. Additionally, as plants age and older 600 volt inverters inevitably fail and need to be replaced, the SPOT can be a great solution for bridging the gap between those older 600 volt strings and newer 1,000 or even 1,500 volt inverters by matching the voltage from the older strings to the requirements of the newly replaced inverter.

Alencon’s SPOT is also an excellent tool for integrating Solar and Storage, either in a new plant or as a retrofit to an existing plant.  The SPOT allows PV and storage (batteries) to be coupled on the DC-side.  DC coupling, as this technique is known, can be much more efficient than AC coupling because it is less expensive, more efficient and allows for the claim of the investment tax credit (ITC) on the storage element of Solar plus Storage projects, be they new construction or just storage retrofits.

“In light of the current cloud hanging over our industry with the uncertainty surrounding the Section 201 Solar Trade case, PV plant owners and developers need to consider the most effective way to deploy their capital to earn the highest rate of return in this period of uncertainty,” says Alencon President Hanan Fishman.  “One way to hedge against the uncertainty of the outcome of the Section 201 Solar Trade case is for plant owners to invest in improving the performance of their existing fleet. Alencon has developed a suite of solutions to allow PV plant owners to get more from their existing PV fleet.”

Galvanic Isolation: Alencon’s Unique Solution for Better PV Plant Performance

Alencon’s SPOT provides complete galvanic isolation between PV strings and the inverter. This unique feature makes the SPOT an incredible tool for O&M because any arc or ground faults that occur with a PV string can be isolated from the rest of the solar system. Additionally, arc and ground faults can be quickly traced to the exact PV string where they are occurring which means maintenance can be more efficiently deployed and repairs can be safely done on one string while the rest of the PV plant continues to produce power.

The PV-IoT™ for Performance Monitoring and Control

In addition to providing a number of energy production enhancing features such as granular MPPT, galvanic isolation and voltage step up, the SPOT is also a very unique PV plant performance monitoring tool.  The SPOT offers continuous, wireless communication to a central aggregator, so the performance of a PV plant can be studied down to the string level.  The SPOT is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) ready device. By applying the PV-IoT, the Photovoltaic Internet of Things, the SPOT allows PV plant owners to assure their assets are operating at peak performance.

More on Alencon

Alencon’s solutions for ALternative ENergy CONversion provide high modularity and scalability for systems from several megawatts to several-hundred megawatts. By helping to dramatically reduce balance of system costs, and increase power production through new inverter and energy harvesting technology, Alencon helps advance the state of the art and increase the financial viability of solar power.  Headquartered in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, has been building PV power conversion hardware since 2009, drawing on the combined decades of power electronics experience of its engineering team.