Fraunhofer Institute for Sustainable Energy Systems created a Plug and Play self-configuring system which will decrease the total amount of time needed when installing a complete PV system. The first demonstration carried out for the benefit of the public was held in Massachusetts, USA, in order to showcase the Fraunhofer ISE system. It was completed within an hour, including certification and permits needed.
Fraunhofer Plug and Play system design to cut install time
- Using lightweight solar molecules which are frameless, allowing for better mobility onsite and less transport costs overall;
- By allowing for a faster Plug and Play connection, the process simplifies the overall interconnection process, which eliminates the need for manual wiring;
- An electronic system is integrated within the Plug and Play model, automatically checking for faults as well as certifies the installation once completed. This reduces the need for specific specialists to manually inspect the PV system installation.
The only component within the connection system that needs an actual electrician is the part where the PV system connects to the electric meter on the property of the house. A normal electric car charging adapter is utilized as an interface between the two connections.
These frameless solar molecules are pasted directly onto shingled roofing and are developed to withstand a wind capacity of up to 110mph. Concerns raised with the Fraunhofer plug-and-play module is the fact that it might cause increased heating problems. This is due to the molecules are in direct contact with the roofing, causing there to be no airflow path underneath the panel itself.
New Fraunhofer technology seen not to be ideal for all circumstances
In certain instances, the tilt of the roof creates an awkward angle that may not be optimal for the Fraunhofer plug-and-play system; as such it will produce less power than its capacity has available.
As the figures stand, the cost of solar within America is unjustifiably high when compared to the current rate of $1.50/watt, where approximation of rates concerning installation costs within the country are around the US$3-4 per watt, including “soft costs” like permitting, admin fees as well as installation accounting for half of the total system rate.
If you’re looking at installing the Fraunhofer Plug and Play system, it is best accomplished through accredited Fraunhofer ISE professionals who have been trained and equipped to use the safety equipment needed for the installation process.
As the design of the system has been created with simplification in mind, it’s easy to operate and in the near future homeowners as well as property managers themselves may be able to complete the installation of the Fraunhofer ISE Plug and Play system in their own right (Note: the electricity meter connection will still need the assistance of an electrician).
High cost of solar installs in the USA creates the need for Fraunhofer design
The good news remains that the rest of the world does not have to deal with the exorbitantly high prices of a PV system which is the case in the US. Inventions such as Fraunhofer ISE’s innovative plug-and-play system are the beginning of a greater contribution in bringing down the costs of PV systems especially in Australia.
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Such developments must be lauded, as creations that improve and simplify the installation process are record breaking efficiencies paving the way for solar power to make its mark on the world.
Photo by: Martina Oefelein on Flickr