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The 7 Things to Know About Chilicon Power Microinverters
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The 7 Things to Know About Chilicon Power Microinverters

All microinverters are the same, right? Not really. There are distinct differences when you consider not just making power

All microinverters are the same, right?

Not really. There are distinct differences when you consider not just making power but how energy can be managed and controlled. Let’s walk you through them.

 

1.    Many microinverters work by measuring voltage. Chilicon micros work by sensing current. This is a real important distinction.An example would be in using one branch circuit, you could use the current limiting feature in our Cortex Gateway and install 20, 350-Watt solar panels on one 30-amp circuit. This will allow you to install a 7kW system and not need to install a sub-panel.

2.    Other competing products in the marketplace today require you to identify the specific panel manufacturer and the number of cells in each panel before you purchase their microinverters. This causes youto be extra sensitive to your panel selection. And often you can specify a solar panel in your original design and then need to change the design, due to things like the distributor running out of inventory.

And now you need to also find a new microinverter to match a 72 or 96 cell solar panel. By using Chilicon and our dual microinverter, you only need to think about stocking one, microinverter. The Cortex Gateway’s intelligence and sophisticated and flexible architecture allows you to use any solar module. This saves you time and the hassle of stocking multiple microinverters and makes the distribution channel also flexible in their ability to get you products with this versatile micro-gateway combination.

3.    Clipping. This is a widely debated topic in the solar industry, especially as it relates to microinverters. Often we get excited when a larger wattage solar panel comes to the market. We are excited to tell our clients we have the highest power panel for them. But what if the microinverter you install is going to clip the wattage? You end up throwing away all the extra power. With Chilicon micros, you don’t have to.

We can install 2, 420 Watt solar panels on one dual micro. 840 watts packs massive power in a small footprint. Now you don’t have to throw away all of the extra power, saving your clients even more money.

4.    Residential and commercial. Often micros are primarily focused on the residential market. Why, because often installing one micro to one solar panel on larger installations becomes cumbersome. But Chilicon Power’s dual micro is ideal for small commercial.

With the ability to have a 208V system built into the microinverters, you have the flexibility for small commercial projects that are also rapid shutdown compliant. And our Cortex Gateway will support up to 255 micros on each. Our commercial clients range from small ground mount systems to small Hilton hotels.

5.    AC coupling in more ways than one. This is going to be the future of new systems and existing ones. Being able to send AC power to things like a battery or a generator are essential. So if you are looking for a solution that works for on grid or off grid, you want everything in one box.

Synchronizing to storage and dialing in set points are easy when you pair our micros with our gateway. This is especially relevant as utilities are not interested in net metering and or no export situations. Add in the future ofTOU applications and you have a scalable microinverter topography that is flexible to meet your clients’ needs.

6.    Getting on and off the roof rapidly can make all the difference in making money on a project or not. Add in the training elements for field personnel and removing complexity and having simplicity eliminates confusion. But it all starts with the design. When you use Chilicon micros, from the design, procurement to installation will free up precious hours in your business.

When you stack all the positive benefits of having one microinverter and gateway to design, procure and install, there are savings across the company. We’ve been told it shaves a minimum of 2 hours off each installation. Most people don’t count all of the indirect benefits from the office team on the engineering and purchasing. Think about what harvesting an extra 2 + hours on each solar project would mean to you?

7.     It is often an overlooked benefit of Chilicon Powers product lineup to gloss it over in the current world we live in today. People in the USA often associate anything electronic or virtually all things solar, to be imported outside of the boundaries of the country. This assumption that great products need to be manufactured overseas is a myth we can dispel. We believe manufacturing inCalifornia is a strength.

Creating local jobs and providing timely support and fast deliveries aren’t just ideas, but a reality.

Seeing products made here not only instills a sense of pride, but proof that things made in the USA can also be competitive with products overseas. Onshoring will strengthen our communities and increase the skills across a host of multi-disciplinary fields needed to manufacture world-class products in the decades to come. We welcome you to be part of this revolution. Give us a call today to help you power your community with locally made microinverters and gateways.

Your clients will be glad you did.

About product

Microinverters CP-720

Overview

Chilicon Power CP-720 inverter performance leads the industry with sustained power production of 720 watts AC which provides well scaled output power compatibility for 60-cell (series), 72-cell (series), 96-cell (parallel), or 128-cell (parallel) modules up to 860W DC. Grid-interactive conversion occurs with a CEC rating of 96% with peak efficiency of 96.6%. The inverters are Rule-21 compliant and can provide reactive power on demand.

Reliability is provided through design that has all components rated to at least 200,000 hours service lifespan (or about 50 years of operating time). Firmware provides high frequency grid monitoring to ensure safe operation during any anomalous events. Surge protection to 6000VAC is integrated and the inverter enclosure and inputs are galvanically isolated from the grid connection to provide the ultimate safety barrier.

Magnetic component optimization and on-line adaptive switching techniques maximize efficiency and reduce cost. Chilicon inverters have been designed ground-up to provide reliability, efficiency, and lean construction to provide customers with the best possible inverter solution for their power generation project.

The Power Line Communication (PLC) technology was developed from the ground up and offers the best robustness of any PLC system, vastly superior to the competition. It is so robust that the Gateway can be installed anywhere in the house. This saves on installation costs.

General Features

  • 25 year standard warranty
  • 60-cell, 72-cell, 96-cell, 128-cell module compatibility in the same device.
  • 240VAC and 208VAC
  • UL1741SA-Rule-21, IEEE std 1547, IEEE std C62.41.2, CSA C22.2 NO. 107.1 & CISPR 22 Class B
  • NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown Compliant
  • Designed and manufactured in California, USA

Technical Overview

  • Efficiency: 96% CEC, 96.6% Peak
  • Output Power: 720VA Max
  • Recommended max input power: 2 x 430 W

Features

  • Robust and secure adaptive rate communication
  • On-line switching optimization
  • Wide-band harmonic suppression
  • MPPT Range: 57 - 82V (240V); 48.5 - 82V (208V)
  • Remote firmware upgrade
  • Reactive Power from 60% leading to 60% lagging

Reliability by design:

  • No electrolytics
  • Thermal management without potting

Resources

About product

Microinverters CP-250E

Overview

Chilicon Power CP-250E inverter performance leads the industry with sustained power production of 289 watts AC which provides well scaled output power compatibility for 60-cell and 72-cell modules up to 350W DC STC. The CP-250E has extended input voltage range and supports 72-cell (CP-250E) modules. Grid-interactive conversion occurs with a CEC rating of 96% with peak efficiency of 96.6%. The inverters are Rule-21 compliant and can provide reactive power on demand.

Reliability is provided through design that has all components rated to at least 200,000 hours service lifespan (or about 50 years of operating time). Firmware provides high frequency grid monitoring to ensure safe operation during any anomalous events. Surge protection to 6000VAC is integrated and the inverter enclosure and inputs are galvanically isolated from the grid connection to provide the ultimate safety barrier.

Magnetic component optimization and on-line adaptive switching techniques maximize efficiency and reduce cost. Chilicon inverters have been designed ground-up to provide reliability, efficiency, and lean construction to provide customers with the best possible inverter solution for their power generation project.

The Power Line Communication (PLC) technology was developed from the ground up and offers the best robustness of any PLC system, vastly superior to the competition. It is so robust that the Gateway can be installed anywhere in the house. This saves on installation costs.

General Features

  • 25 year standard warranty
  • 60-cell and 72-cell module compatibility with same device (CP-250E)
  • 240VAC and 208VAC
  • UL1741, IEEE std 1547, IEEE std C62.41.2, CSA C22.2 NO. 107.1 & CISPR 22 Class B
  • NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown Compliant
  • Designed and manufactured in California, USA

Technical Overview

  • Efficiency: 96% CEC, 96.6% Peak
  • Output Power: 285W Max (Ext. Range Enable)
  • Recommended max input power: 350W

Features

  • Robust and secure adaptive rate communication
  • On-line switching optimization
  • Wide-band harmonic suppression
  • MPPT Range: 22 - 38.5V
  • Remote firmware upgrade
  • Reactive Power from 85% leading to 85% lagging

Reliability by design:

  • No electrolytics
  • Thermal management without potting

Resources and links

About product

Cortex GATEWAY

Overview

The GATEWAY monitoring system communicates with Chilicon microinverters, consumption monitoring clamps, and other smart home devices. It can be cloud interconnected or can run stand-alone. The GATEWAY provides a 7" 800 x 480 LCD Touch Screen making it informative and easy to use. Commissioning of the solar array's configuration occurs on the gateway screen and site configuration is automatically posted to cloud.chiliconpower.com when a customer enables cloud interaction. There is no need to use a laptop to connect the customer's site to the cloud since registration details are filled out on the touch-screen directly. PV array topology is also organized on the touch screen which enables single-step setup and verification of the system.

Powerline communication with the GATEWAY uses a sophisticated multi-rate, error-resistant, and encrypted powerline communications technology to connect to each microinverter without additional wiring. In addition, every inverter is part of a mesh network where each one can also act as a repeater, thereby extending the range and ensuring reliable communication in any situation.

In addition to the power line communications interferace to inverters, the GATEWAY also has a Z-Wave (908 MHz) wireless interface that enables power consumption monitoring via current clamps placed in any utility panel. Ethernet and WiFi are integrated in every gateway.

Features

  • Plug & Play setup
  • Wi-Fi Enabled for easier installation
  • Communicates over existing electrical wires
  • Remote-control login
  • Secure Encryption to retain privacy
  • Multi-rate, Error-Resistant Technology
  • 255 microinverters per Gateway
  • Stand-alone mode for privacy

Home Automation - Home Security

In addition to solar monitoring, the Gateway is also capable of being the home security center of the home controlling Z-Wave sensors and Sirens. The Gateway Home Security center is fully featured with user management, status, arm away, arm stay and loggin of any relevant information to the security of the home. This enables installers to sell new features and differentiate themselves further to win more contracts.

Privacy & Security

The GATEWAY can optionally work in complete stand-alone mode where no data is transfered to the cloud. This means complete privacy of your data since it remains on your GATEWAY at home or in the office. Exporting data to the Cloud server ensures full data backup on a regular basis.

The security of one's power generation and consumption data is important (since it is an indication of occupancy and type of devices that you may be running in your home or office). All of our data transfers from the microinverters to the GATEWAY and from the GATEWAY to the Cloud are securely encrypted.

Resources

zWave Device Compatibility

  • Aeon Labs Home Energy Meter Gen5, ZW095-A
  • Aeon Labs Siren Gen5, ZW080-A17
  • Aeon Labs Door/Window Sensor Gen2, DSB29-ZWUS
  • Aeon Labs Range Extender/Repeater Gen 6, ZW117-A01 (908.42 MHz)
About product

CSIP Aggregator Server CP-1000

Overview

The GATEWAY monitoring system communicates with Chilicon microinverters, consumption monitoring clamps, and other smart home devices. It can be cloud interconnected or can run stand-alone. The GATEWAY provides a 7" 800 x 480 LCD Touch Screen making it informative and easy to use. Commissioning of the solar array's configuration occurs on the gateway screen and site configuration is automatically posted to cloud.chiliconpower.com when a customer enables cloud interaction. There is no need to use a laptop to connect the customer's site to the cloud since registration details are filled out on the touch-screen directly. PV array topology is also organized on the touch screen which enables single-step setup and verification of the system.

Powerline communication with the GATEWAY uses a sophisticated multi-rate, error-resistant, and encrypted powerline communications technology to connect to each microinverter without additional wiring. In addition, every inverter is part of a mesh network where each one can also act as a repeater, thereby extending the range and ensuring reliable communication in any situation.

In addition to the power line communications interferace to inverters, the GATEWAY also has a Z-Wave (908 MHz) wireless interface that enables power consumption monitoring via current clamps placed in any utility panel. Ethernet and WiFi are integrated in every gateway.

Features

  • Plug & Play setup
  • Wi-Fi Enabled for easier installation
  • Communicates over existing electrical wires
  • Remote-control login
  • Secure Encryption to retain privacy
  • Multi-rate, Error-Resistant Technology
  • 255 microinverters per Gateway
  • Stand-alone mode for privacy

Home Automation - Home Security

In addition to solar monitoring, the Gateway is also capable of being the home security center of the home controlling Z-Wave sensors and Sirens. The Gateway Home Security center is fully featured with user management, status, arm away, arm stay and loggin of any relevant information to the security of the home. This enables installers to sell new features and differentiate themselves further to win more contracts.

Privacy & Security

The GATEWAY can optionally work in complete stand-alone mode where no data is transfered to the cloud. This means complete privacy of your data since it remains on your GATEWAY at home or in the office. Exporting data to the Cloud server ensures full data backup on a regular basis.

The security of one's power generation and consumption data is important (since it is an indication of occupancy and type of devices that you may be running in your home or office). All of our data transfers from the microinverters to the GATEWAY and from the GATEWAY to the Cloud are securely encrypted.

Resources

zWave Device Compatibility

  • Aeon Labs Home Energy Meter Gen5, ZW095-A
  • Aeon Labs Siren Gen5, ZW080-A17
  • Aeon Labs Door/Window Sensor Gen2, DSB29-ZWUS
  • Aeon Labs Range Extender/Repeater Gen 6, ZW117-A01 (908.42 MHz)
About product

Modular Trunk Cabling

Overview

The trunk cabling portion of a microinverter system is extremely important since it directly impacts labor costs at an installation site. The Chilicon modular trunk and branch cabling system incorporates industry standard 10 AWG VNTC tray cable with a UV and cut resistant outer jacket. Each 'modular' component of the the 4 conductor cableplugs together right on the job site. For the first time, you can mix landscape and portrait mode PV module layouts side-by-side on the same string. In addition, the trunk cable is 'Self-Terminating' as shown in the figure below. There is no longer a need to procure 'termination caps' for the end of each microinverter string.

The trunk cable's 10 AWG cabling enables use of 30 A OCP devices (typically a 2 pole circuit breakers). This means that 20 CP250e devices running 289W output can be wired on a single 30 A string in 240V split phase mode, or 18 CP250e devices running 277W output can be wired on a single 30A string in 208V three phase mode. In the case of the 720W output, CP-720 device, 8 inverters (16 modules) can be wired to a 30A breaker in 240V split phase mode, or 7 inverters (14 modules) in 208V three phase mode. See the CP-250E Datasheet or the CP-720 Datasheet for detailed current and voltage scaling information.
see self-terminating layout
Click here for a more detailed Diagram of the modular trunk cable components and a self-terminating layout. Note that wiring for CP-720 twin inverters has special considerations. Examples of common configurations can be found in CP-720 Wiring Diagram Examples.  Note that to land the MTC cable in a JBOX, the MALE end of any cable (MTC-1.025, MTC-1.7, MTC-2.15) can be cut and have its wires stripped back. Chilicon also stocks a HR-1.7 cable with pre-cut ends.

Integrated Grounding

Chilicon Power inverters feature Integrated (DC isolated) Ground. Because the DC circuit is isolated and insulated from ground, these microinverters do not require a Grounding Electrode Conductor (GEC) connected between each microinverter. This means you don’t need to attach a separate copper grounding conductor to each microinverter or worry about a continuous run to ground.

Electrical code requires two types of grounding conductors: the Grounding Electrode Conductor (GEC), which is used between the grounding electrode and the point where a normally current carrying conductor is intentionally bonded to ground and the Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC), which grounds noncurrent carrying metal parts of the system, such as the racking and module frames. Because Chilicon Power microinverters have DC integrated (isolated) ground, they do not require a GEC. However electrical code still requires that exposed metal in the array be grounded (NEC 690.43 and 250.136(A)). This requirement is met for the microinverter because the ground conductor internal to the modular trunk cable acts as the EGC. It may be met for racking and modules with use of an EGC or WEEBs to provide bonding to this ground system.

Trunk Cable Part Numbers

  • MTC-1.025  (1.025 meter modular trunk cable)
  • MTC-2.15 (2.15 meter modular trunk cable)
  • MTC-1.7 (1.70 meter modular trunk cable)
  • MBC (0.65 meter modular branch cable)
  • MTC-HR-1.7 (1.7 meter open ended home run cable for JBOX connection)

Accesories

  • T6 Male Cap (Covers Open T Junction Socket)
  • T6 Female Cap (Covers Open T6 Male Plug)
  • AC-TOOL (Modular Trunk Cable Unlocking Tool)
  • DC-TOOL (DC Connector Unlocking Tool)
  • Tape-Roll  (10' Silicone Self-Adhesive Tape Roll -- Secures T6 Caps; Recommend one roll per every 4 T6 caps)
see cables schemes