Utility-scale solar monitoring system tracks issues to the panel level

Solar Power Technologies Inc. introduced the Clarity suite of hardware and software products for commercial- and utility-scale solar installation monitoring and control.

September 27, 2011 — Solar Power Technologies Inc., intelligent solar monitoring and optimization supplier, introduced the Clarity suite of hardware and software products for commercial- and utility-scale solar installation monitoring and control.

Clarity comprises optimization and monitoring hardware products for string- or panel-level deployment. Wireless communications and infrastructure elements enable users to implement Clarity at the largest utility sites. The Clarity suite of cloud-based software management tools — the Intelligent Array — analyze array performance, diagnose impairments, and identify remedial actions. The system pinpoints array performance problems down to the panel level with an accuracy of 0.5%.

Also read: Improving the economic case for commercial and utility-scale solar

Optimizers and monitors can be interchanged within a solar array and scaled up or down as the site requires.

Key elements of the Clarity system include:
The Clarity Monitor: A low-cost monitoring and communications device installed at the PV panel or string level that continually measures the DC performance of an array. Catches panel or wiring damage, blown string fuses, encroaching shade conditions and dirty arrays/sub-arrays.

The Clarity Optimizer: A high-performance buck-boost DC power optimizer for automatic mitigation of panel and string level mismatches. Compatible with all leading brands of central inverters. Maintains each panel at its maximum power point, adjusting overall DC bus conditions. Corrects mismatches due to temperature gradients, shade, panel soiling or poor orientation.

The Clarity Gateway: A wireless mesh network that will scale to the largest arrays, maintaining real-time communication with over 5000 monitors or optimizers, equivalent to over 1MW of PV capacity. Multiple gateways can be added for larger sites, better performance or increased fault tolerance. Centralized control options such as commissioning and selective or emergency shut-down are integrated.

The Intelligent Array: Cloud-based software tools that convert array data into actionable information for site owners and O&M teams.

Large solar site owners and their operations and maintenance (O&M) partners want “detailed insight into the factors affecting array performance,” said Ray Burgess, CEO of Solar Power Technologies, adding that maintenance costs over time must stay low. The intelligence of the Clarity system gives users a “what, where and why intervention is required” level of control, Burgess concluded.

The Clarity system will be on display at Solar Power International in Dallas, TX, October 17-20, at Booth #114.

Solar Power Technologies Inc. helps owners/developers maximize the financial performance of large scale solar assets with a range of compatible monitoring and optimization hardware products, and a suite of web-based data management and analysis tools. Visit http://www.spowertech.com.

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