New SMA Multicluster Box Makes Rural Electrification Simple, Scalable

Solar Leader Introduces Preconfigured AC Distribution Hub for Off-Grid Renewable-Energy Systems

ROCKLIN, Calif. and TORONTO, March 20, 2012—SMA is taking orders for its Multicluster Box, an off-grid AC distribution hub that manages a variety of renewable and combustion generation sources for large-scale Sunny Island multi-cluster systems. Now available for the North American market, the SMA Multicluster Box features a preconfigured design that simplifies the installation of off-grid renewable-energy systems, providing users with superior design flexibility and making rural electrification simple and scalable.

Ideal for systems up to 110 kW, the Multicluster Box offers simple connection of multiple renewable-energy sources, back-up combustion generator, and electrical loads into one battery-supported AC grid. It allows two, three or four three-phase clusters, each consisting of three Sunny Island inverters, to be connected in parallel.

"By dividing the inverter capacity into clusters, the system becomes extremely flexible with respect to performance," explained Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America and president of SMA Canada. "This design scheme is highly scalable, thanks to the parallel connection of multiple clusters. Subsequent expansion of the off-grid system is also easy to implement, making it ideal for rural electrification."

The Multicluster Box is pre-wired for operation and can accommodate various generator, load and renewable energy generation plant sizes. It contains load shedding, Sunny Island and generator contactors and circuit breakers, as well as an additional circuit breaker for the PV, wind or hydro-electric system. Safety is enhanced due to the Multicluster Box's reverse current monitoring and emergency operation of the generator, while its NEMA 3-rated enclosure ensures all-weather durability.

The Multicluster Box is paired with SMA's US series of Sunny Island battery-based inverters. The Sunny Island is equipped with best-in-class grid and battery management functions, including monitoring. As system manager, it collects real-time data and makes intelligent decisions based on battery state of charge, state of health, electrical loads and generation capacity. At times when the batteries are discharged and there is little generation capacity, it can activate a back-up energy source (such as the generator) or switch off certain consumption loads. Furthermore, it extends overall battery life by implementing optimized charging strategies.

The SMA Multicluster Box is assembled in SMA's production facility in Denver.

About SMA
SMA Solar Technology AG is the global market leader for solar inverters. The SMA Group generated sales of €1.9 billion in 2010. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented in 19 countries on four different continents. The Group employs a staff of over 5,300 worldwide, plus a number of temporary employees which varies on a seasonal basis. The multi award-winning product range covers solar inverters for roof systems, major solar projects and off-grid systems, enabling SMA to provide a technically optimized inverter solution for all size categories and system types. Its range of services is complemented by a worldwide service network. The highly flexible manufacturing plants for solar inverters in Germany and North America have a capacity of approximately 11.5 GW a year. The SMA Group also operates a manufacturing plant for electromagnetic core components in Poland. Since 2008, SMA has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and also in the TecDAX index. In recent years, SMA has received numerous awards for its excellence as an employer and achieved first place in 2011 in the federal "Great Place to Work" competition.

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