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Thread: How are you all addressing Rapid Shutdown?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    How are you all addressing Rapid Shutdown?

    Hello,

    I am just curious how other PV business's have been addressing the Rapid Shutdown requirement. We use Sunpower ACPV whenever possible and that takes care of it, but when that is not in the customers budget what do you do?

    We have been installing more Solaredge for this reason. But it is funny because we used to only install Solaredge when it was a partially shaded site. Feels wasteful installing all those optimizers in full sun.

    So what is the best option for a lower budget array with FULL sun? What have you all been using? I have used the SMA rapid shutdown box a few times but found it kind of a pain to work with. Anything else?

    thanks for the input.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbartmasse r View Post
    Hello,

    I am just curious how other PV business's have been addressing the Rapid Shutdown requirement. We use Sunpower ACPV whenever possible and that takes care of it, but when that is not in the customers budget what do you do?

    We have been installing more Solaredge for this reason. But it is funny because we used to only install Solaredge when it was a partially shaded site. Feels wasteful installing all those optimizers in full sun.

    So what is the best option for a lower budget array with FULL sun? What have you all been using? I have used the SMA rapid shutdown box a few times but found it kind of a pain to work with. Anything else?

    thanks for the input.
    I feel your pain. For the time being on commercial jobs we sometimes put the inverters on the roof with less than 10 feet of DC in conduit outside the array, but when the 2017 NEC starts being enforced we won't be able to do that anymore. We install a lot of SPR ACPV, a bit of SolarEdge, a few Enphase, and the occasional SMA RSD box (but as you say they are a pain).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Pretty much it's all SolarEdge or Enphase.

    I have not used it but Power-One also makes a rapid shutdown box.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    About 90% of our systems get SolarEdge. We've had bad experiences in the past with Enphase products and we've heard rumors about the financial stability of Enphase from residential installers we're friendly with so we avoid using them.

    There are a smattering of inverter specific rapid shutdown boxes on the market like Solectria and Fronius. SolarBOS has a rapid shutdown box that is inverter agnostic. Come 2019 I betting module manufactures will begin replacing the bypass diodes with the Maxim optimizers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by BandGap1.1eV View Post
    About 90% of our systems get SolarEdge. We've had bad experiences in the past with Enphase products and we've heard rumors about the financial stability of Enphase from residential installers we're friendly with so we avoid using them.
    ...
    Funny you say that, I have found Enphase to be somewhat more reliable than SolarEdge since the latter came on the scene. (They are both very reliable.) It's true that Enphase's 2nd generation inverter had issues but that is years in the past now.

    I've heard rumors about the financial stability of every single solar manufacturer there is. Well, except those who do a lot of other things, e.g. several large Korean conglomerates.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BandGap1.1eV View Post
    Come 2019 I betting module manufactures will begin replacing the bypass diodes with the Maxim optimizers.
    Let's hope something like this is workable. Right now, the Maxim cell string optimizers don't send or receive data, as far as I am aware. So today's versions of the cell-string-level optimizers can't do squat to help you comply with rapid shutdown. Presumably that is part of their technology roadmap, but the people I've spoken to at Maxim always seem clueless about Code issues, including rapid shutdown.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Clinton, WA
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    64
    We are starting to use solar modules with the Tigo j-box covers that have rapid shutdown built into the module. We also use Enphase, Solaredge, and the SMA and Solectria rapid shutdown combiners. I just specified some Solarbos rapid shutdown equipment on a commercial job, but we didn't get the job. Solectria makes a rapid shutdown unit for their commercial 480V TL inverters, and the tech video on it that I watched indicated that it would work with other manufacturers' inverters as long as the DC capacitors weren't too big. I know a lot of companies do it, but I don't like the idea of installing the inverter on the roof next to the array. I am thinking that the module manufacturers will all have rapid shutdown addressed with module level electronics in a few years.

  8. #8
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    May 2016
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    New York
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    Pass-through contactor boxes or getting the AHJ to sign off on keeping combiner boxes/string inverters within 1' of the array.

    Come 2019 I don't see an alternative to MLPE.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    After 20+ years it will be interesting to see if these tightening RS measures will have had any effect on the safety and reliability of installed PV systems.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggunn View Post
    After 20+ years it will be interesting to see if these tightening RS measures will have had any effect on the safety and reliability of installed PV systems.
    My gut says that arc-fault protection and advanced ground-fault detection provide the most meaningful benefits in terms of safety. Arc-fault detection is really a must have safety measure; rapid shutdown is nice to have.

    All of these measures—arc-fault protection, highly sensitive ground-fault protection, and rapid shutdown—have a negative impact on reliability. Nuisance trips go up; potential points of failure go up. The real question is whether the promised O&M improvements—more granular detection and identification of field failures—offset these reliability impacts. In other words, is more data a good thing or a PITA.

    Over time, I bet a lot of these safety features migrate to the product safety standards, which will simplify the Code.

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