SkyBox Hybrid Inverter AC Coupling update from OutBack Power leverages existing solar arrays to provide backup and energy management
Faced with extreme weather events and unexpected and planned power outages, flexible energy storage solutions provide solar array owners with backup power from batteries when the lights go out. Recently, OutBack Power™ released an AC coupling firmware update to its SkyBox™ hybrid inverter. AC coupling is ideal when users have an existing solar PV system and want to add batteries for backup and time-of-use energy management.
“The SkyBox hybrid inverter is a fantastic solution for owners of grid-tied PV systems,” said OutBack Power™ trained installer Jason Rutland, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at United Electric and Solar in Camarillo, California. “SkyBox does not require much of the existing grid-tied system be replaced compared to what is required with a DC-coupled solution. That is one reason why I believe we are going to see more demand for the SkyBox AC Coupling function as we experience more outages in our region.”
Public Safety Power Shutoffs last year left millions of California residents in the dark, with little or no notice. While many households and businesses expected their solar panels to power their buildings when the grid was down, they now understand the reality that they need a capable backup battery system to supply power during these shutoffs in order to realize the full potential of their solar power system. By adding a SkyBox™ hybrid inverter and energy storage to an existing grid-tied PV system, owners can keep their arrays and even enlarge them, meet new code requirements, and power their buildings with clean energy.
Since last year, new solar customers in California have been put on Time-of-Use rates with peaks in the evening when solar production is declining. In addition, new National Electric Code (NEC) requirements took effect in California and other regions in 2017. Notably, new rapid shutdown requirements are now being enforced, raising the cost of replacing an existing inverter and/or PV array.
OutBack Power’s SkyBox™ hybrid inverter with AC coupling provides the solution to both problems. Once the SkyBox™ hybrid inverter and batteries are installed, an icon appears on the SkyBox screen whenever a new firmware version is ready for installation. The user can simply press the icon and follow the simple on-screen instructions to install the firmware. A true hybrid energy system, SkyBox™ hybrid inverter provides both reliable energy back-up in the face of utility shutdowns and helps customers navigate new pricing structures and electrical codes with their existing arrays intact. Simply, SkyBox addresses a need in the market for energy flexibility.
“Today, many customers expect more control over how they use their power. This is essential in the event of unexpected power shutoffs, or rate-changes,” said Paul Dailey, Director of Product & Market Strategy for OutBack Power™ “By providing an easy AC coupling solution for systems up to 7.6 kW, we are giving users more control of their systems, more energy savings, and more protection in the face of shutoffs.”
OutBack Power™ updates its SkyBox hybrid inverter firmware regularly to introduce new features. Past firmware upgrades include stacking, to allow two SkyBox™ hybrid inverters to be used in the same system, drop-down battery presets for streamlined installation and external current measurement which enables energy management for the whole home. This last feature eliminates external charge controllers and communication boxes, significantly cutting solar and energy storage installation time and cost. For more information on the SkyBox™ hybrid inverter, visit http://www.outbackpower.com/products/item/skybox.
About OutBack Power Technologies, Inc.
For over 18 years, OutBack Power Technologies, Inc. has been the recognized leader in the design and manufacture of battery-based renewable energy systems. With the regulatory and incentive landscape changing almost daily, consumers are rapidly moving away from simple grid-tied systems and towards intelligent, battery-based designs that blend energy independence with smart home technology that is good for the budget and the environment.
Now part of EnerSys, OutBack Power Technologies, Inc. is backed by the resources and expertise of the global leader in stored energy solutions. Whether the application is village micro-grids in Africa, rural electrification projects in Latin America, remote off-grid cabins in Alaska, or a suburban home in California, OutBack Power Technologies, Inc. has set the bar for delivering advanced renewable energy power conversion electronics and energy storage. For more information, visit www.outbackpower.com.
EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, manufactures and distributes reserve power and motive power batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions to customers worldwide. Motive power batteries and chargers are utilized in electric forklift trucks and other commercial electric-powered vehicles. Reserve power batteries are used in the telecommunication and utility industries, uninterruptible power supplies, and numerous applications requiring stored energy solutions including medical, aerospace and defence systems. EnerSys provides highly integrated power solutions and services to broadband, telecom, renewable and industrial customers. Outdoor equipment enclosure products are utilized in the telecommunication, cable, utility and transportation industries, and by government and defence customers. The company also provides aftermarket and customer support services to its customers from over 100 countries through its sales and manufacturing locations around the world. For more information about EnerSys and its full line of products, systems and support, visit www.enersys.com.