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Product News

Solar Power Technologies Brings Clarity to the Performance of Large Scale Solar Assets

Introducing the next generation of monitoring and optimization solutions, the Clarity system

AUSTIN, Texas, September 26, 2011 – Solar Power Technologies Inc. is pleased to introduce the Clarity system, an intelligent suite of hardware and software solutions that provide an unprecedented level of insight and control to maximize the performance of commercial and utility scale solar sites.

The Clarity system includes optimization and monitoring hardware products that can be deployed at the string or panel level to maximize energy harvest and innovative wireless communications and infrastructure products that enable scaling to the largest utility sites. The Clarity system also includes a suite of cloud-based software management tools, the Intelligent Array, that deliver clear and concise actionable information by analyzing array performance, diagnosing impairments and precisely identifying remedial action to improve financial performance of solar assets.

The unique design of the Clarity system enables optimizers and monitors to be interchanged within an array and scaled from full array coverage down to the string level or selective coverage based on site specific concerns or financial requirements. The Clarity system can pinpoint array performance problems down to the panel level with an accuracy of 0.5 percent, providing 10 times more accuracy and 10 times more granularity than large-scale monitoring systems on the market today.

“A common concern of large site owners and their operations and maintenance (O&M) partners is the  lack of detailed insight into the factors affecting array performance and a fear that the costs of maintaining large systems at peak performance could become prohibitive over time,” commented Ray Burgess, CEO of Solar Power Technologies. “The Clarity system provides a solution to these concerns, by building intelligence into the array, so that it informs you what, where and why intervention is required in order to maintain peak potential. The Clarity system heralds a new era in commercial and utility scale array performance management.”

The new Clarity system will be on display at Solar Power International in Dallas, Oct 17-20 (Booth #114) and is available immediately for customer installation.

Key elements of the Clarity system include:

  • The Clarity Monitor - A low cost monitoring and communications device that can be installed at the PV panel level or at the string level. Panel level monitoring continually measures individual panel performance providing an unprecedented insight into the DC performance of an array. By delivering real-time assessment of panel degradation, site owners will also be informed of panel or wiring damage, blown string fuses, encroaching shade conditions and the need for array or sub-array cleaning to maximize energy output.  String level monitoring gives site owners a flexible and cost-effective option to gain valuable insight about the output of every string.
  • The Clarity Optimizer - A high performance buck-boost DC power optimizer which provides automatic mitigation of panel and string level mismatches that would otherwise impair overall performance. Compatible with all leading brands of central inverters, the Clarity optimizer is fully autonomous in maintaining each panel at its maximum power point, adjusting overall DC bus conditions to maximize power production and monitoring panel and string performance. Clarity optimizer technology can deliver significant instantaneous power gains in areas where severe mismatches occur due to temperature gradients, shade, panel soiling or poor orientation.
  • The Clarity Gateway – The gateway to an innovative wireless mesh network that will scale to the largest arrays envisaged in the world. The Clarity wireless gateway can maintain real-time communication with over 5000 monitors or optimizers, equivalent to over 1MW of PV capacity. Multiple gateways can be added to scale to larger sites, enhance performance or provide fault tolerance. The communications network is constantly gathering real-time performance data from monitors and optimizers as well as providing centralized control options such as commissioning and selective or emergency shut-down.
  • The Intelligent Array – A first-of-its-kind suite of cloud based software tools that convert the data generated from the array into meaningful and actionable information for site owners and their maintenance teams. Beyond the typical visualization and dashboards, the Intelligent Array is constantly analyzing the site and executing sophisticated diagnostics to recommend O&M intervention with very specific details of what, where and why, based on user defined business rules.

The combination of the Clarity system hardware and the Intelligent Array management tools will revolutionize the way large-scale assets are designed, built and operated, by providing unprecedented insight and intelligence to maintain these valuable assets at optimal performance for their full active life.



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