SMA Simplifies Off-Grid PV Design with New Configurator Software

Customizable Solution Saves Time, Reduces Costs

ROCKLIN, Calif. and TORONTO, March 29, 2012—SMA has introduced its Off-Grid Configurator, a customizable solution that helps solar professionals design the ideal off-grid photovoltaic (PV) system. This intuitive software analyzes each design aspect, from sizing the PV array to preparing a final cost analysis, thereby providing the user with comprehensive planning assistance that saves time and reduces costs.

"Designing and planning off-grid PV systems can be challenging and time consuming," explained Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America and president of SMA Canada. "Whether it's for a small residential system or a large hybrid plant, the new SMA Off-Grid Configurator helps solar professionals design off-grid and backup systems quickly and easily."

The exact level of assistance provided by the Off-Grid Configurator is decided by the user. Project details (such as location data, consumption and AC/DC system components) can be manually defined or selected from the software's comprehensive databases of location-specific climate information, prefabricated load profiles, PV modules, inverters and batteries. The intuitive software then presents an optimal system configuration, designs the generator operation, and determines the ideal combination of Sunny Island battery-based inverters. Using this data, a system simulation is performed and a financial analysis is prepared to calculate the system's cost effectiveness. All results are displayed graphically and can be printed as Microsoft® Excel or Word documents or as a PDF.

The Off-Grid Configurator is the latest addition to SMA's North American off-grid product line, which includes the US series of Sunny Island inverters and the recently introduced SMA Multicluster Box. The Sunny Island is equipped with best-in-class grid and battery management functions. 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 a generator) or switch off designated loads. Furthermore, it extends overall battery life by implementing optimized charging strategies.

Ideal for systems up to 110 kW, the Multicluster Box is an off-grid AC distribution hub that 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. The Multicluster Box is pre-wired for operation and 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 its reverse current monitoring and emergency operation of the generator, while its NEMA 3-rated enclosure ensures all-weather durability.

SMA also offers Sunny Design software for grid-tied PV systems.

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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