Low cost Module Level Control (MLC) technology improves photovoltaic array performance and increases safety

TwentyNinety has launched Active Array™, a low cost wireless application which offers improved performance and increased safety for arrays of photovoltaic (PV) modules. Designed and developed by TwentyNinety, it offers module level control, giving unique management, control and safety benefits for the manufacturer, the installer and the end user.

TwentyNinety, developer of enabling technologies for the renewable energy generation industry, has launched Active Array™, a low cost wireless application which offers improved performance and increased safety for arrays of photovoltaic (PV) modules. A hardware and software solution designed and developed by TwentyNinety, Active Array provides module level control, offering unique management, control and safety benefits for the manufacturer, the installer and the end user. The wireless technology greatly reduces hardware cost and simplifies installation, while providing sophisticated control and monitoring at module level.


The TwentyNinety Active Array system enables the tracking of performance at PV module level, identifying problems to allow early intervention, optimising architecture and monitoring warranty data. It identifies and isolates a poor performing or shaded module, and thus improves string performance. Richard Pitkin, Managing Director of TwentyNinety Limited, explained, "Independent calculations we have commissioned have estimated that, over the lifetime of a PV array, use of the intelligent monitoring and control provided by Active Array will give up to a 20% performance gain compared to an ‘untended' PV array installation."

Fire and electrical safety are key concerns with installations of photovoltaic modules. Active Array tackles these issues head-on by providing remote data and control over every module. Intelligence at the module level gained wirelessly by the Active Array system provides a complete picture of the PV array, enabling the early diagnosis of potential problems and providing the ability to bypass a module remotely without requiring access to unsafe environments.
In an emergency situation, the user or fire officer can remotely isolate any individual module, string of modules, or the whole array. Overheating caused by electrical problems within a junction control box causes the module to be isolated automatically, immediately reducing a fire risk. Unlike a standard PV module, the default state when the Active Array component is installed is OFF: thus installers are no longer working with ‘live' devices. Each module can also be turned OFF under remote user control or via a physical switch.

Each module is assigned a unique identifier which can be used by manufacturers and suppliers for product tracking, quality control/audit, warranty management and supply chain logistics. For the end user, the continual logging of performance data at module level by Active Array's monitoring software provides detailed information for maintenance engineers, for warranty tracking as well as providing key data for integrated energy management.

More information about TwentyNinety can be obtained at www.twentyninety.com

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