Solar Power International 2019

Salt Lake City, Utah

SPI was held in Salt Lake City for the first time this year – and it was a hit. The weather was clear, the city welcoming, and displays impressive as always. It’s a great way for us to stay on top of the latest developments in the industry. This year Andrea Belford, Product Manager, and Jay Galasso, CRO, made the trip to capture what’s new.

As you can see above, SPI 2019 – in Salt Lake City this year – had some beautiful clear sunny skies. Just what Solar loves!

And what does Jay love? A good workout – of course! This helped get him in shape – before we walked the show floor for 2 days straight.


What new and exciting things did we see at the show ?

Solar Panels

Half Cell Technology and Bifacial Modules for higher efficiency/output

From manufacturers such as Q Cells, Trina, and REC Solar.

Half Cell technology lowers modules internal current, reducing resistive losses, and increasing efficiency. It improves shading tolerance, and performs better in hotter temperatures. Upper and lower cells in the module are connected in parallel.

Bifacial Modules have solar cells that are active on both the front and back, making them capable of converting light from all directions into power, for up to 25% more yield. The use of glass on the front and back of the module allows for optimal protection against mechanical loads and more extreme environmental factors. These are ideal for ground mount applications that may have sand or gravel on the ground reflecting back up into the panel.

Energy Storage and Hybrid Inverters

The NEW Sol-Ark 12K Inverter with SimpliPhi AccESS unit = 22.8 kWh of Storage – WOW!

Each year at SPI, the Energy Storage section keeps getting bigger and bigger. It was all the buzz this year! With Utilities planning behind-the-meter energy storage programs for both residential and commercial customers, the cost of Lithium Ion batteries coming down, and more natural disasters happening each year….this market is growing exponentially.

Sol-Ark unveiled their new 12kW Inverter at their booth at SPI, as well as did SimpliPhi in their AccESS unit at their booth. Sol-Ark’s new 12K inverter has parallel stacking, 12kW of continuous power with a 20kW 5 second surge, split-phase or three-phase operation, generator support, and can support grid-tied and off-grid applications.

SimpliPhi AccESS units include their Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) batteries in a NEMA 3R outdoor-rated enclosure, pre-wired and pre-programmed with the inverter, for a plug-and-play option for battery backup and off grid applications.

Outback Power SkyBox – can now STACK – for up to 10kW of power!

Outback’s 5kW SkyBox – like Sol-Ark – is also a pre-wired hybrid inverter system, that is easy and fast to install. Compliant with California Rule 21 and Hawaii 14H grid support requirements, SkyBox is now also stackable, making sure customers won’t have to worry about having backup power for their most important household loads.

Outback also has Integrated Battery Racks for 48V systems that includes all the interconnects, cabling, and overcurrent protection – ideal for a plug-and-play option to go with the SkyBox.

Also at the show, Outback unveiled their New 1000 EnergyCell XLC High Capacity Lead Carbon 1230Ah Battery Rack shown on the left. At almost 30 kWh of useable storage capacity, and over 4000 lbs, this beast offers a 10-year cycle life, and a 17-year standby life. While advanced energy storage solutions like Lithium-Ion continue to grow in popularity, customers often like the option of reliable Lead-Acid technology due to lower upfront cost, recyclability at end of life, and the fact that no BMS is required. The advanced carbon technology of this battery extends the life of the battery and increases efficiency.

SolarEdge Stor-Edge Inverters and Lithium Battery – Coming Soon in 2020!

SolarEdge StorEdge Inverters are another DC-coupled option, allowing you to be connected to the grid, and to have backup power when the grid goes down. Coming soon in 2020 are StorEdge Inverters in 3.8 up to 11.4kW capacities. Also, a new 10kWh/5kW lithium battery that will only initially work with their inverters. (Surprised? No – we weren’t either 😉 )

NEW Off-Grid Products 

Midnite Solar ROSIE Inverter/Charger – Coming soon in 2020

Midnite Solar is joining the scene with their own hybrid inverter – meet ROSIE – named after Rosie the Riveter of course! It will be available in a 2800 Watt 12V version, as well as a 4000 – 5000 Watt version for 24/48V RE applications. It can be used for Grid Tie Battery Backup, AC Coupled, and Off Grid systems.

NEW Grid-Tie Products 

New SMA SunSpec-Compliant Sunny Boy US-41 Grid Tie Inverters 

The new -41 Inverters have an integrated SunSpec transmitter for use with the new TS4-R-F module-level shutdown device – no external SunSpec transmitter and/or power supply needed. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to comply with NEC 2017 680.12, which is now enforced in most states. 

In addition to compliance with NEC 2017, the new inverters are compliant with California Rule 21 Phase 2 and UL 1741. The new Sunny Boy-41 also offers simple, selectable country codes for region-specific smart inverter functionality in areas such as Hawaii, California and the Northeast. SMA will continue to offer an optional cellular modem and revenue grade meter.

SMA’s proprietary Secure Power Supply function has also been restored with these new Sunny Boy models. Homeowners can once again access up to 2,000 watts of daytime power (ie. when the sun is shining). Secure Power Supply is easily installed, taking only a few minutes, and works with the TS4-R-O module-level shutdown units.

At the end of a long few days checking out the latest and greatest in Solar in Salt Lake City…..the question is – which EV will be giving us a ride to the airport ??….See ya’ll next year!

EV Test Drive – Electric Vehicles from leading manufacturers were available just outside the Salt Palace Convention Center.