If you want to use your own monitoring, Scada or data logging system to manage operation of your PV system, you can simply integrate the inverters via the Modbus interface. For more than two years, SMA has been equipping all inverters with this standard interface, offering straightforward solutions to third providers, in particular, who want to provide system operators with their own, non-SMA system.

SMA employee Falko Schmidt answered all questions on Modbus

Falko Schmidt gathered and answered all questions on Modbus asked by coustomers

SMA employee Falko Schmidt has set himself the task of gathering and answering those questions on Modbus most frequently asked by customers.

And to make the approximately 30 questions and respective answers already gathered available to those who have similar questions on Modbus, Falko summarized them in a detailed FAQ catalog. This catalog is available at SMA Developer, a website for developers where all development documentation of SMA products can be found.

 
Have fun browsing the blog.

Have a look at the SMA Developer (please select “FAQ Modbus”)

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More than 300 people attended the SMA Italia Conference, held in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano’s Energy & Strategy Group.

 

Large numbers gathered at the Politecnico di Milano’s Carassa-Dadda Auditorium on Tuesday, 11 July, to attend a presentation about the Montalto di Castro project, which is the largest Italian photovoltaic system to reach grid parity so far and one of Europe’s biggest.

The Montalto di Castro project, consisting of five photovoltaic plants, is a turning point for the photovoltaic scenario in Italy and Europe. Its high efficiency was achieved thanks to a careful design carried out in collaboration with SMA Italia’s engineering division. Another factor was the use of SMA Sunny Central CP-XT inverters which allowed a 10 percent reduction in the required installation space and a 20 percent reduction in installation time. The absence of communication cables and the 50 percent reduction in maintenance times made SMA’s Medium Voltage Power Station the perfect grid parity solution. The container solution combines the Sunny Central inverter with perfectly matched medium voltage technology.

SMA South Europe Regional Manager Valerio Natalizia said: “We have been talking about grid parity for several years. This scenario is no longer just theoretical, but it has finally become a reality. We are pleased with the result. The implementation of these plants has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the project’s technical and financial partners, who provided their skills and the most advanced technologies, for its design and implementation.”

The solar power plants in Montalto di Castro, Italy

The Montalto di Castro project consists of five solar power plants with a combined output of 63 MWp.

The Montalto di Castro plant has an annual performance rate of 84% with a target of 1,798 kWh / kWp and a MW peak cost of less than a million euros.

The project involved the construction of four 13.3 MWp plants and one of 10 MWp each with the names of the greatest Italian composers. It required 58 Sunny Central CP-XT inverters in 30 20″ cabins; laying 500 km string cables and inserting 40,000 poles into the ground to support 200,000 photovoltaic modules of 315-320 Wp. These were installed on 40 independent uniaxial trackers which cover more than 150 ha. These are just some of the numbers presented by SMA Italia and Comal Impianti during the conference.

During the event the Politecnico di Milano’s Energy & Strategy Group described the prospects for photovoltaic development and economic sustainability in Italy, while Welink Energy Group explained the international investment opportunities. Green Trade was focused on the development in Italian energy prices and investigating new market scenarios. The dispatching market is evolving and offers the photovoltaic industry new opportunities as underlined by the Electricity, Gas and Water System Authority.

 

The production of electricity from photovoltaic sources in grid parity is now highly viable in Italy and SMA is at the forefront.

The conference documents are available for download on the SMA Italia website.

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As part of the international EEBUS Initiative, reputable manufacturers have joined forces to develop a uniform communication standard for all household electrical devices so that, in the future, energy consumption can be coordinated in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner. We have spoken to Frank Blessing, who sits on the board of this initiative, about the successes and challenges as well as what drives him personally to get engaged with this issue.

 

EEBUS as an international, uniform communication standard.

EEBUS as an international, uniform communication standard.

The goal of the EEBUS initiative is to develop a uniform communication standard for energy. How important it is to get all the players around the same table? 

When it comes to introducing new communication standards, partners are essential because overarching content and working applications can only be defined if all the parties involved work together. A standard cannot work without this cooperation. The EEBUS initiative offers companies the possibility of networking and exchanging ideas. Particularly in the context of the networking of intelligent appliances – both producers and consumers – this is becoming increasingly important. Leading companies in the energy industry have recognized this and are using networking to develop new application scenarios. They understand how important it is to work together so that they can offer their customers interesting, cross-industry solutions.

What can you say about the current status?

Especially in the past two years, we have seen great progress and achieved a number of milestones as pioneers in solutions that connect electricity, heat and transport. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has joined the EEBUS initiative and the first Plugfest for the integration of electric vehicles was a success. The leading manufacturers of heating systems, including Vaillant, Viessmann and Wolf Heiztechnik are also working intensively on implementing heating applications with the EEBUS standard and are already nearing production launches. Furthermore, together with SMA, BSH has created the first application for connecting household appliances (washing machines) and put it into production.

These examples show that EEBUS is no longer just a theory – it is now ready for the market. The short implementation periods for new applications are fantastic and the great cooperation between the companies involved in the EEBUS initiative is to thank for this.

What comes next? 

For 2017, the focus is on the integration of heating systems, such as heat pumps, in intelligent energy management. By the end of the year, it is expected that the first series production systems from various manufacturers will be able to communicate via EEBUS and be considered, for example, for the optimization of self-consumption. This will be followed by applications for the integration of electric vehicles in the utility grid. With regard to securing grid stability, the promotion of electric vehicles will involve great challenges, but it will also bring about opportunities and added value.

The SMA Sunny Home Manager 2.0 controls the energy flows of household generators and consumers.

The SMA Sunny Home Manager 2.0 controls the energy flows of household generators and consumers.

How is SMA contributing? 

As a founding member, SMA is a major driver of applications in the field of intelligent energy management in EEBUS and is involved in all the applications mentioned above with regard to energy management. With Sunny Home Manager 2.0 and the SMA Data Manager M, SMA has demonstrated that solutions for connecting the electricity, heat and transport sectors are already entering the market. The standardized integration of electric vehicles in energy management is a major success in the promotion and acceptance of e-mobility and a decisive step toward an all-electric society.

Which application are you personally most excited about?

Personally, I find the thought very exciting of, in the future, being able to use the energy from my electric car bidirectionally, to open up a whole host of new applications. Surplus energy from the utility grid can then, for example, be buffered in mobile storage systems and short-term energy demand can be covered by precisely these storage systems. Strictly speaking, we will not just be talking about individual applications in the future. With the trend toward an all-electric society, there is an increasing focus on interconnecting all generators and consumers, giving rise to an entire ecosystem.

Many thanks for this interview, Frank.

Profile

Frank Blessing is Senior Business Development Manager Energy Services at SMA. Since May 2017, he has been a member of the managemnt board of the EEBUS initiative.

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Recently Willem Westerhof published a study on cybersecurity threads regarding PV inverters, in which SMA was mentioned. Unfortunately, the claim has caused serious concern for our customers. We would like to stress that SMA does not agree with this article, as some of his statements are not correct or greatly exaggerated.

Please be assured that the security of our devices has highest priority for SMA in all respects and that we do everything we can to protect our inverters and communication products against cyber-attacks. We already assessed the mentioned issues on a technical basis and work intensively on the correction. The stated potential security issues only affect older SMA products and only a very few products in our portfolio.

Here are some key facts:

  • From our extensive product portfolio, only the following SMA inverter types are affected: Sunny Boy models TLST-21 and TL-21, Sunny Tripower models TL-10 and TL-30.
  • All other products comply with the latest security standards.
  • We want to stress that even with the inverters mentioned above, the assault vectors require extremely high efforts and extensive expertise by a potential hacker.
  • Even the devices mentioned above are properly protected from hacker attacks, if the users carefully adhere to the measures outlined in our public cyber security guidelines.
  • Any device not connected to the internet is not directly affected.
  • There also is no such thing as a “secret super password” for all SMA inverters as Westerhoff states. Our inverters are delivered to our customers with a default password and we actively ask our customers to change this password to a personal secure password immediately after installation.
  • Regarding possible effects on the public power supply, Willem mentions 17 GW of solar inverter power sold to the private market by SMA. This is the whole inverter power SMA has sold so far to the residential market. The power produced with the inverters that might be vulnerable to an attack is only a small fraction of this, and they are installed all over the world. So we see absolutely no danger to grid stability even in the extremely unlikely event that all inverters should be successfully attacked at the same time.

As mentioned before, cybersecurity is an extremely  important topic for SMA. We are continually working on implementing the highest security standards and measures with our devices in order to make them invulnerable to attacks. In this respect, we also continually ask our customers, to read and adhere to our public cyber security guidelines in order to prevent possible attacks.

Please find further technically detailed responses to Westerhof’s claims on our company website.

For any further questions please use the comment section. 

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