Solar Power International 2017 Preview

Vendor and Equipment Highlights

Produced by Solar Energy Trade Shows, Solar Power International (SPI) is a collaboration between the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). The producers predict that this year’s event will attract roughly 700 vendors and service providers and over 18,000 industry professionals, which would represent the fourth straight year of steady growth. As the solar industry has gone mainstream, trade show attendance has generally diminished, whether due to skinny margins, tight schedules or changing paradigms. But the nonprofits behind SPI have managed to reverse these trends.

Not only is there a projected year-over-year increase in attendance, SPI 2017 attendees will find more technologies and services represented on the expo floor than ever before. The event will offer dedicated pavilions or halls for energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells, a smart energy microgrid demo, software, asset management, C&I solutions, start-ups and poster presentations. Away from the expo floor, attendees can choose from general sessions, educational sessions, concurrent sessions, a new technical symposium and many networking events.

Because 4 days is never enough time to take everything in at SPI—and some people will be too busy to make the trip to Las Vegas—this article highlights 15 expo participants that provide products or services for distributed energy or large-scale power plant applications. Some of their offerings are available now or were announced in June at Intersolar North America; others will debut at SPI 2017. Each of these exhibitors represents a current trend in the industry, such as scaling and streamlining O&M services, the transition to 1,500 Vdc string inverter–based PV power plants, or the increasing emphasis on solar-plus-storage solutions. The uncertainty and market distortion created by the solar trade case also has important implications for industry stakeholders.

Distributed Energy Applications

FRONIUS USA • Booth 3943

Portage, Indiana–based Fronius USA offers string inverters for residential and commercial applications, as well as rapid shutdown solutions, online monitoring tools and smart meters. In August 2017, the company launched the second generation of its Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box. The new and improved product features a low-profile design and a NEMA 4X enclosure, allowing installers to mount it underneath modules, as well as installer-friendly features such as MC 4 connections and a generous wiring space with spring-loaded terminals. The new Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box is available in two versions, the Duo and the Quattro, which can control up to two or four PV source circuits, respectively. Both versions are 600 Vdc–rated and compatible with all Fronius SnapINverters (except the Symo 15.0-3 208). Fronius USA is already shipping the Rapid Shutdown Box Duo and will begin shipping the Quattro in November. At SPI 2017, the company will introduce the Fronius Smart Solution, a next-generation PV system platform that combines cell string– optimized modules with the company’s ecosystem of inverters, rapid shutdown boxes, and an optional smart meter and online monitoring portal.
Fronius USA / 877.376.6487 /


In addition to selling home appliances, consumer electronics and mobile phones, LG Electronics USA offers a range of high-efficiency solar modules. In July, the company launched the LG NeON R, a 60-cell, rear-contact PV module for residential applications. Eliminating electrodes from the front of the module’s N-type monocrystalline cells not only results in a seamless appearance, but also maximizes light absorption for optimal performance. The flagship model in the NeON R series has a module-level efficiency of 21.1% and is rated at 365 watts. All NeON R modules have 30 backside busbars, weigh less than 41 pounds, come in a 67-by-40-by-1.57-inch package, and are rated for use in 1,000 Vdc systems. At SPI 2017, the company will also be showing the LG NeON ACe, a 330 W–rated, 60-cell PV module with an embedded Enphase microinverter. The LG NeON ACe ships with the microinverter mounting bracket in a collapsed position, permitting optimal shipping density; once on the rooftop, installers lift up the mount to connect the trunk cable, which elevates the microinverter off the back of the module by 15 mm to allow sufficient airflow for cooling. LG Electronics’ North American product lineup offers a unique combination of features—from innovative technology and high performance to superior aesthetics and simplified logistics—that make it a compelling premium offering.
LG Electronics USA / 855.854.7652 /


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