On October 22nd, Fraunhofer CSE welcomed representatives of inspection services from various towns, utilities, and solar installation companies to the MassCEC Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, MA, for the Plug & Play PV Systems Progress Demonstration. Attendees experienced a full commissioning of the system, which leverages a novel electronic permitting, inspection, and interconnection (ePI&I) process.
Broken out into two sessions, the Progress Demonstration served as a platform for solar industry experts to discuss the latest developments in the Fraunhofer CSE Plug & Play PV Systems and give recommendations on Fraunhofer CSE’s Plan for commercialization and adoption. Each session featured a status update for the project followed by a comprehensive look at the installation and commissioning process. Attendees were particularly interested in the automation of permitting, inspection, and interconnection. A key step in this process is the system self-test, during which many aspects of code-compliant installation are verified electronically. The self-test results are supplemented by specific photographs that the installer takes, and this information is packaged to form an interconnection request that is transmitted to the appropriate utility and municipality for approval.
The demonstration included two hardware systems with component technologies from our manufacturing partners: SunPower, Lumeta, Voltserver, and ConnectDER.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the Fraunhofer CSE Plug & Play PV Systems aim to dramatically reduce the soft costs of residential PV installations, targeting a goal of $1.50/Watt installed cost by 2020, down from an average of $4/W installed cost in the U.S. today. The vision of the project is to make PV systems similar to an appliance – installed quickly, easily, and safely, even by someone with no prior PV installation experience.
The holistic approach to design integrates technologies into a system architecture that reduces installation time, simplifies code compliance and automates permitting, inspection, and interconnection – thereby reducing the time and removing the uncertainties in those processes that increase soft costs.
To learn more about the Fraunhofer CSE Plug & Play PV Systems, visit our webpage.