Shoals Technologies Group Inc., a provider of electrical balance of systems solutions for solar, storage, and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, has introduced its patent pending Snapshot I-V solar PV health monitoring solutions.
Shoals’ Snapshot I-V is an ecosystem of products created to integrate seamlessly into a solar asset management system. The solution remotely monitors the health and performance of their PV modules over the life of the system. PV modules represent the largest single investment in a solar system, and accurate and timely performance monitoring is essential to take action in case of PV module underperformance.
Traditionally, auditing and troubleshooting of PV modules with currently available I-V curve tracing equipment requires a labor-intensive, on-site process. Electrical test equipment must be carried to the solar field and manually set up at each location while disconnecting the inverter and losing energy production.
The Snapshot I-V PV health monitoring solution allows remote performance monitoring of the PV modules at a string level, without shutting down the inverter. In addition to the PV module monitoring, Shoals’ solution also collects historical and peripheral site data, helping customers understand their efficiency levels and module utilization, both in real time and via time comparison reports.
The first commercially available solutions in the Snapshot I-V family will be Snapshot I-V Wireless Meter and Snapshot I-V Wireless Gateway.
The Snapshot I-V Wireless Meter is a module-level performance-monitoring device intended to collect and provide detailed information regarding efficiency and performance vs. manufacturers’ predicted module performance over the life of the project. Sealed in its own weather-tight enclosure, the device installs on the back of the solar module that powers it. Together with the Snapshot I-V Wireless Gateway, these devices make up a flexible system for comprehensive power plant monitoring in installations with or without combiner boxes.
The Snapshot I-V Wireless Gateway is an embedded computer with a local area network (LAN) connection and creates a powerful 2.4 GHz wireless mesh network for solar PV monitoring. The Gateway acts as the hub for the Snapshot I-V health monitoring system, collecting data from the external irradiance meter, Snapshot I-V Wireless Meters, and serves as the integration point for third-party API. The Gateway can communicate with up to 250 Snapshot I-V Wireless Meters.
“With Snapshot I-V, our customers now have the ability to ensure that their system is performing to the specifications of the PV manufacturer and benefit from warranty claims if modules are not performing up to specifications,” says Jeff Tolnar, president of Shoals. “We look forward to partnering with our customers to deploy this innovative ecosystem of PV monitoring and health solutions, enabling highly effective long-term asset management to optimize utility-scale systems.”