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Build A Better (Smaller) Inverter - Win A Million Bucks

 

Shrinking solar inverters - Little Box Challenge
Google wants to see the size of inverters shrink - and will award a million dollars to the person or team that comes up with the best design.
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An inverter in a grid connected solar power system is the largish box separate from the solar panels that takes the DC current produced by the modules and converts it to AC; suitable for use in the home or for exporting to the mains grid.†
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In an off-grid solar system, the solar inverter performs a similar function, but converts the DC power from a bank of deep cycle batteries.
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Google's "Little Box Challenge" isn't looking for slightly smaller inverters, but a unit that is around the size of a notebook computer - a reduction of more than 10 X in volume of standard solar inverters today.
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While microinverters are already available, these are module level electronics and rated to up to just a few hundred watts. Competition participants will need to develop a kW-scale inverter with a power density of at least 50 Watts per cubic inch.
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Why?
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"We expect that the innovations inspired by this prize will have wide applicability across these areas, increasing efficiency, driving down costs, and opening up new uses cases that we canít imagine today. It also doesnít hurt that many of these improvements could make our data centers run more safely and efficiently."

Interested parties need register their team by September 30, 2014. By July next year, a technical approach and testing application must be completed. In October 2015, 18 finalists will be selected and the winner will be announced in January 2016.
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Google will not require any IP (intellectual property) or licenses to be granted to it, except a non-exclusive license that it says will be used only for the purpose of testing the inverter and publicizing the prize. The company says it may also choose to make public "some or all of the teamsí high-level technical approach documents".
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Related:
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Not All Solar Inverters Are Equal
Microinverters Vs Power Optimizers
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No deposit solar

 




Spotlight On Solar Mounting Systems At Clean Energy Week

 

Solar panel mounting systems
Good quality and properly installed mounting frames are a crucial part of a solar power system; but this critical element is sometimes not given the attention it deserves.

The new CEC best practice mounting system framing list was launched at a Clean Energy Week event on Wednesday.†
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The list will help installers choose a framing system that has "clear install instructions and has a valid engineering certificate that includes a declaration from the engineer. This will reduce the use of non-compliant framing systems," says the CEC.
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One of the concerns regarding some mounting systems brought into Australia is the lack of clear detail for installers. Some installation manuals are also incomplete; leaving installers to "wing it" in certain scenarios - a less than ideal situation when a substantial investment and consumer safety are involved. While imported systems may have been signed off by a structural engineer; that engineer may not be based or trained in Australia.
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One of the mounting systems on the CEC's best practice list is the Australian designed and manufactured SunLock range.
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Robust, fast to install and compliant with relevant standards including AS/NZS1170.2:2011/Amdt 2:2012; the engineering and compliance certificates that accompany the highly detailed installation manual are supplied by Australian registered structural engineers. The SunLock continuous professional development (CPD) course has also been accredited by the Clean Energy Council.
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For installers, the SunLock system provides a strong, economical and easy to work with product to help ensure the job is done right.†For the end-consumer, it offers peace of mind.
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Given the concerns associated with some imported mounted systems, consumers should be asking a prospective installer "what brand of mounting system will you be using?" - and doing their own due diligence on the product identified.
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Further information about the SunLock range can be viewed on the SunLock web site. SunLock is available for purchase from Apollo Energy (wholesale) and Energy Matters (retail). SunLock is part of the Energy Matters group of companies.
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No deposit solar

 





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