ConnectSmart App Monitors Solar Inverters

Al Presher

March 21, 2013

3 Min Read
ConnectSmart App Monitors Solar Inverters

You can expect to see a continuing wave of mobile apps for monitoring all types of industrial equipment over the next couple of years.

One example available now is the Danfoss SolarApp, which lets users directly access live production data (through a smartphone or tablet) for installations of its new DLX UL PV solar inverters.

"The new DLX product has several unique value propositions, starting with high-frequency isolation and the highest efficiency rating on the CEC website for an isolated unit," Mark Haug, director of strategic marketing and sales for Danfoss Solar Inverters A/S, told us. "But new iPhone and iPad apps are also free of charge to the customer, which allows them to view in real-time how the plant is doing using a cellphone."

Danfoss says each unit has a full-color screen with an intuitive user interface that provides ready access to graphs and diagrams that help operators make timely and informed decisions. For larger sites, a single DLX inverter can serve as a monitoring hub that provides a single point of access for onsite or offsite performance checks at any time. The DLX can be used with the Danfoss CLX Portal, a universal Internet monitoring system that provides access to key information for customers, investors, installers, and service companies.

All the user has to do is connect the inverter to the router in the home. If the app is turned on, users can view performance there, or they can use the free Web portal that connects to a Danfoss hosted service and website in Denmark. Historical information will be stored on that site for 30 years.

"Connections are managed using Danfoss' Connect Smart technology, which works quickly and simplifies the process and walks the user through the steps to set up remote access to inverter data," Haug said. "Before, the user had to manually configure the IP addresses to make the connection function properly."

Two DLX UL inverters were recently installed at Freedom Field in Rockford, Ill., producing a full load of AC energy nearly each day -- 4.4kW on the top inverter connected to 12,222V panels and 4.4kW on the bottom inverter connected to 24,220V panels. Freedom Field, a nonprofit organization, says it seeks to "increase regional awareness of renewable energy opportunities and to facilitate development and commercialization of renewable energy solutions."

These DLX UL units are available for monitoring on the CLX Web Portal and are certified for use in the US and Canada. The CLX ConnectSmart was available in Europe last year, but now it is built into the inverter, rather than requiring users to purchase a separate ConnectSmart box with a power supply and plugin. The CLX Portal also connects to the inverter using the built-in technology. The inverter is a new-generation product for Danfoss and is available in 2.0, 2.9, 3.8, and 4.4kW varieties. A 5kW model will be available by the end of the year, Haug said.

The new solar inverters are transformer-based UL and cUL-listed string inverters that deliver 97.3 percent efficiency to maximize the effectiveness of solar power applications. Galvanic isolation ensures full compatibility with all PV cell technologies. Convection cooling helps minimize noise (<37db) and ensures long life and reliable operation, even at a wide range of temperatures.

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About the Author(s)

Al Presher

Al Presher is a contributing editor for Design News, specializing in automation and control and writing on automation topics, machine control, robotics, fluid power, and power transmission since 2002. Previously he worked in the electronic motion control field for 18 years, most recently as VP of Marketing for ORMEC Systems Corp (manufacturer of PC-based servo control systems).  Previously, he worked as Editor for Plant Systems and Equipment and Appliance magazines.  He holds an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

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