Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 49

This issue covers:

New Seaward tester provides quick & easy diagnosis of EV charging point problems

The growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids puts even more emphasis on the ability of the power charging infrastructure to operate effectively and safely at all times.

To meet this need, a new easy to use specialist test and diagnostic tool has been introduced that is capable of carrying out comprehensive validation and fault finding on all types of AC electric vehicle charging and supply equipment (EVSE).

The Seaward hand held EV100 tester carries out all of the tests to ensure that EVSE operates correctly and safely at the time of installation and as part of any ongoing periodic maintenance schedules, in accordance with IEC 61851.

As well as carrying out basic field tests, more detailed diagnostic data from the charge point is retained in the unit and can be transferred to a mobile Android app using NFC wireless communications. This comprehensive technical data can then be quickly sent to a specialist engineer or head office location for full remote fault diagnosis and records management purposes.

The lightweight and handheld EV100 simulates all of the commonly used charging cable ratings to quickly and easily verify the correct response from the EVSE.

An extensive set of tests and measurements are automatically carried out and displayed at the press of a button, including output voltage, maximum available charging current, earth loop impedance and RCD trip time. Insulation tests are also carried out on the EV charging cable to verify safety for users.

Importantly the new tester can confirm the presence of correct mains supply and earthing connections on single or three phase systems without the need for additional equipment or the dismantling of the charging point to access internal conductors.

For diagnostic testing, the dedicated EV100 tester also simulates a number of vehicle faults and measures the EVSE response, including disconnection time and the amplitude, frequency and duty cycle of the PWM signal.

The comprehensive simulation, test and diagnostic functions of the new EV100 means EVSE maintenance checks and fault finding can be undertaken quickly and cost effectively – helping to ensure that EV charging points remain operational and fit for purpose at all times.

More at

EV100 EV charge point tester


Top 20 US solar cities

A combination of federal, state, and local initiatives, coupled with an expanding solar sector, has enabled the USA to experience continuous growth in its adoption of solar as a viable and economically feasible energy source.

By the end of 2014, the country had a cumulative total of some 20,500 MW of solar electric capacity, enough to power about 4 million average US homes with solar, more than three times the capacity of just a few years ago.

The latest edition of Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America, includes a listing of the top solar cities in the US by overall solar capacity, as well as on a per capita basis (watts installed per person).

According to Shining Cities, 20 US cities account for 6.5% of all solar PV capacity in the country based on figures that include the combined rooftop and utility-scale solar installation capacity inside the city limits, using just 0.1% of the land area in the US.

At the top of the list is Los Angeles (170 MW installed), followed by San Diego (149 MW), and Phoenix (115 MW). The next city, Indianapolis, is not usually associated with PV hotspots, but had 107 MW of installed solar capacity at the end of 2014, which earned it the number four spot on the list.

For the full listing see here

We’re at Solar Energy UK

The Seaward Solar range of electrical safety, performance measurement and O&M test equipment for solar PV systems will be on show at stand J44F at the Solar Energy UK show, held at the NEC, Birmingham, on 13-15th October.

Among the products on display will be the new EV100 EV charge point tester, multifunction solar PV installation testers, advanced irradiance meters, power analysis tools and certification software.

The Solarlink Test Kit includes all the test and datalogging capabilities needed to measure the electrical safety and performance of installed PV systems in line with MCS MIS 3002 and IEC 62446.

The kit combines the comprehensive electrical commissioning test capabilities of the PV150 solar installation handheld tester with the advanced Solar Survey 200R multifunction PV survey meter.

View all of our Solar products here

Watch a short video about the PV150


UK government proposes tariff cuts

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is proposing to cut the feed-in tariff (FiT ) rates for solar PV installations by as much as 87%.

Publishing the outcome of the long-awaited feed-in tariff review, the government is proposing deep cuts to all bands from 1 January 2016.

In addition to the cuts to the tariff rate, DECC is also looking to enforce default degression each quarter which would see FiT support for some scales of solar end on 1 January 2019.

DECC is also proposing to change the indexation of the feed-in tariff scheme, moving it away from retail price index (RPI) to consumer price index (CPI). The department argues that CPI is a more appropriate way of compensating investors for inflation.

The government has also noted a number of concerns about the structure of the export tariff under the FiT, most notably the gap between the export tariff and market prices for FiT installations.

DECC has outlined a number of proposed changes such as removing the export tariff for >50kW projects, lowering the export tariff and annually reviewing the export tariff. However, it does not intend to make any changes to the export tariff yet and is seeking feedback on its proposals first.

The full story is here

System integration to slash solar PV prices

New solar PV market analysis predicts that Global solar PV system prices will decrease by 40% by 2020. The PV Balance of Systems 2015 report: Technology Trends and Markets in the U.S. and Abroad, says that average global solar PV system installed costs will fall from $2.16 per watt in 2014 to $1.24 per watt by 2020.

The research claims that, although costs will continue to vary by region and market segment, a combination of balance-of-system innovations will drive cost reductions across the board and ultimately fuel the global solar market to move well past 100 gigawatts by 2020.

PV balance of systems (BOS), are all non-module costs including hardware costs and soft costs consisting of operations and services. These costs have come down tremendously by between 39% and 64% between 2007 and 2014, depending on market segment and geography.

The source of the report, GTM Research, says that PV system integration will be the primary push toward more economically competitive solar. Further details are available here.

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