Granted: March 22, 2018
A distributed energy resource (DER) may store electrical power from an AC circuit and discharge stored electrical power to the AC circuit. A DER may be coupled to the AC circuit via a plug inserted into a receptacle coupled to the AC circuit, and a load device may be plugged into the DER via a receptacle of the DER. The DER may pass AC power from the AC circuit to the load device, and may draw additional power from the AC circuit to charge an energy storage circuit of the DER. The DER…
Granted: March 22, 2018
A photovoltaic system includes voltage limiting devices that are connected in series. A voltage limiting device clips a corresponding photovoltaic string to limit a voltage of the photovoltaic string. Unclipping of clipped photovoltaic strings is coordinated by a central controller or in a distributed fashion by the voltage limiting devices based on monitored string conditions.
Granted: March 1, 2018
A solar power system may include rails, solar modules, and a plurality of clamps to secure the solar modules to the rails. An end clamp may be partially disposed inside a rail at an end of the rail. The end clamp may secure a solar module to the rail by coupling to the frame of the solar module. The end clamp may include a fastener that may be tightened to engage the end clamp and secure the solar module by holding it on top of the rail. The end clamp may establish an electrical…
Granted: February 22, 2018
A bifacial solar cell module includes solar cells that are protected by front side packaging components and backside packaging components. The front side packaging components include a transparent top cover on a front portion of the solar cell module. The backside packaging components have a transparent portion that allows light coming from a back portion of the solar cell module to reach the solar cells, and a reflective portion that reflects light coming from the front portion of the…
Granted: February 1, 2018
One embodiment relates to a method of fabricating a solar cell. A silicon lamina is cleaved from the silicon substrate. The backside of the silicon lamina includes the P-type and N-type doped regions. A metal foil is attached to the backside of the silicon lamina. The metal foil may be used advantageously as a built-in carrier for handling the silicon lamina during processing of a frontside of the silicon lamina. Another embodiment relates to a solar cell that includes a silicon lamina…
Granted: January 4, 2018
An alternating current (AC) module system includes branch circuits and a main service panel to receive power from the branch circuits. A photovoltaic (PV) supervisor is located between the branch circuits and the panel. The PV supervisor aggregates the power from the branch circuits. The PV supervisor also performs a nonredundant operational function for one or more of the branch circuits. The PV supervisor includes a gateway device to permit control of the operational functions.
Granted: January 4, 2018
A solar collection system may collect energy from the sun to generate electricity for distribution on an electrical grid. In addition to generating electricity, a solar collection system may include support devices such as motors, controllers, sensors, and other support devices to perform various tasks to allow the solar collection system to more effectively generate electricity. When the solar collection system is generating sufficient power, the support devices may be powered by the…
Granted: January 4, 2018
Systems, methods, and articles of manufacture are provided wherein inverter topologies and inverter control employ primary and secondary windings with a half-bridge circuit and an unfolding bridge circuit positioned between the second winding and an AC grid. Certain topologies may employ control circuits for controlling the bridges suitable for a phase angle of the AC grid.
Granted: December 7, 2017
An electrical assembly may include an enclosure having a base portion to attach the enclosure to a panel and a heat dissipating portion opposite the base portion, a circuit board having a first thermal interface on a first side of the board, a second thermal interface on a second side of the board, and a thermally conductive portion to provide enhanced thermal conduction between the first thermal interface and the second thermal interface, a power electronic device having a thermal…
Granted: November 30, 2017
A photovoltaic (PV) system includes a system control module that determines the presence of a microinverter chain termination end cap. The end cap includes an embedded circuit. The embedded circuit includes components having resistive, reactive, or impedance values. A signal source provides a signal through the microinverter chain. A parameter for a sensed signal detected by the system control module is used to determine the presence of the end cap using a change between the parameter…
Granted: November 16, 2017
A solar cell includes polysilicon P-type and N-type doped regions on a backside of a substrate, such as a silicon wafer. A trench structure separates the P-type doped region from the N-type doped region. Each of the P-type and N-type doped regions may be formed over a thin dielectric layer. The trench structure may include a textured surface for increased solar radiation collection. Among other advantages, the resulting structure increases efficiency by providing isolation between…
Granted: October 26, 2017
A thin epitaxial silicon solar cell includes one or more layers of doped oxides on the backside. A silicon nitride layer that serves as a moisture barrier is formed on the one or more layers of doped oxides. The doped oxides provide dopants for forming doped regions in an epitaxial silicon layer. Metal contacts are electrically coupled to the doped regions through the silicon nitride layer and the one or more layers of doped oxides.
Granted: October 5, 2017
An electric system includes a local power controller and solar panel system that includes a plurality of solar modules on one or more branch circuits. A method for commissioning the electric system includes an installer using a commissioning device to send and receive information from a remote system and the local power controller performing an automatic self-test of the electric system. The results of the self-test may be packaged with photographs and measurements of the electric system…
Granted: September 21, 2017
A solar cell module includes interconnected solar cells, a transparent cover over the front sides of the solar cells, and a backsheet on the backside of the solar cells. An encapsulant protectively packages the solar cells. The encapsulant and the transparent cover forms a top protection package that has a combined UV transmission curve and volume specific resistance that addresses polarization. The encapsulant has a relatively wide UV transmission curve.
Granted: August 31, 2017
A photovoltaic laminate is disclosed. Embodiments include placing a first encapsulant on a substantially transparent layer that includes a front side of a photovoltaic laminate. Embodiments also include placing a first solar cell on the first encapsulant. Embodiments include placing a metal foil on the first solar cell, where the metal foil uniformly contacts a back side of the first solar cell. Embodiments include forming a metal bond that couples the metal foil to the first solar cell.…
Granted: June 29, 2017
Solar tracker systems having several rows of photovoltaic strings individually actuated by respective tracker control systems, are described. In an example, a solar tracker system includes a tracker control system having a tracker controller powered by forward-fed power from a photovoltaic string, e.g., during daytime, and powered by back-fed power from a station hub, e.g., during nighttime. Methods of operating the solar tracker system to forward-feed or back-feed power to the tracker…
Granted: June 8, 2017
A solar cell is fabricated by etching one or more of its layers without substantially etching another layer of the solar cell. In one embodiment, a copper layer in the solar cell is etched without substantially etching a topmost metallic layer comprising tin. For example, an etchant comprising sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide may be employed to etch the copper layer selective to the tin layer. A particular example of the aforementioned etchant is a Co-Bra Etch® etchant modified to…
Granted: April 27, 2017
Location functionality to determine the geospatial location of a PV module is described. This functionality may be performed at the PV module site itself as well as remote from the PV module site. The location functionality may involve the analysis of data collected from the location of the PV module or modules being analyzed as well as data from locations of other PV modules, which are not being analyzed. This data, from other PV modules may be gathered, recorded, and used as a…
Granted: April 13, 2017
A photovoltaic (PV) system includes module-level power electronic (MLPE) devices that produce energy. The PV system includes a gateway to receive and send data to MLPE devices. The gateway also connects the PV system with a network, such as a local area network, that allows access to the Internet. The gateway provides functionality within the PV system to perform various processes to improve operation of MLPE devices.
Granted: March 23, 2017
A communication system and method of operating the same that includes, in one embodiment, a transmit filter including a transmit filter capacitor, and a receive filter coupled to the transmit filter. The communication system also includes a switch, coupled to an auxiliary winding of a transformer and to the transmit filter capacitor, configured to alter an impedance of the transmit filter during a receive mode of operation of the communication system. In another embodiment, a transmitter…