Every time when a new generation of the product is launched, people tend to be curious looking for the similarities and differences between the generations. In this blog we’ll look into the differences and improvements of the new Sunny Boy AV-40 compared to the older model, and how it meets the needs of an ever changing market.

The Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL is the world’s most successful residential string inverter, with more than 1 million devices installed worldwide. So when the time came for this trusted platform to be upgraded, the original development team worked hard to deliver a worthy successor.sunnyboy solarinverter old vs new

SMA Quality Worldwide

The Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL was assembled at our facility in Kassel, Germany, while the Sunny Boy AV-40 is assembled at our facility in Yangzhong, China. However, this makes no impact on the final quality the product. The reason lies in SMA Quality systems. Both locations implement the same SMA procedures and systems, which have ensured the quality for SMA devices for over 35 years. Learn more about SMA’s Quality & Product Development systems in this short video here.

sma solarinverter production facility

Part of the Kassel facility for production and testing and a similar part of the Yangzhong facility

Lighter & Smaller

The Sunny BoyAV-40 was redesigned to provide the same power with fewer components thus increasing product reliability and usability. The circuit boards were also redesigned and stacked to be more space economical, using newer more efficient individual components. All this has contributed to the Sunny Boy AV-40 being 40% lighter and 30% smaller than its predecessor without compromising on quality while at the same time enhancing the features.

The Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL on the left, and the new Sunny Boy AV-40 on the right showing a much smaller and simpler device (shown to scale)

The Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL on the left, and the new Sunny Boy AV-40 on the right showing a much smaller and simpler device (shown to scale)

Smaller device, smarter screen

The Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL communication was based on a 4-inch LCD screen and Bluetooth connectivity, but times have changed and the Sunny Boy AV-40 has changed along with them. The new inverter is able to communicate with any WiFi-enabled smart device and replaces the old 4-inch LCD screen with a new virtual smart screen improving reliability and access. The Sunny Boy AV-40 gets even smarter when used with an SMA Energy Meter, which can be used to provide consumption data along with its own production information. For information on accessing the inverter Smart Screen, check out our YouTube Tech Tip video.

lcd screen vs smart screen solarinverter

An older LCD screen on the Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL compared with the new Smart Screen

Quick commissioning with Smart Screen

A major difference between the Sunny Boy 3000-5000TL and Sunny Boy AV-40 is how the inverter is commissioned to meet the local country standards. The Sunny Boy AV-40 is designed to be quickly set up during commissioning via WiFi and its built-in Web User Interface. If an Installer needs to commission multiple devices with the same set of parameters, they can freely use the Configuration File feature which can complete complex programming of an inverter in less than 10 seconds. All this allows for less installation time and lowers costs for all parties.

commissioning of a solarinverter

Smart Connected: the new Standard in Service

The Sunny BoyAV-40 is also the first device in the Sunny Boy family to provide the free Smart Connected Service Package. This helps the Sunny Boys to stay ahead in a modern market where Cloud systems can be used to help work more efficiently and deal with Service issues before you even know there is a problem. And in the unlikely even the inverter needs to be replaced, the Sunny Boy AV-40 will be replaced with a new inverter pre-shipped to the site ready for your installer to replace. This means your system is back up and running at full power sooner, saving you time and money. To learn about Smart Connected, check out this short video or read our blog post here.

smartconnected service smasolar

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A visit home to Australia is always interesting when it comes to climate change reporting in the media, simply because of the controversy around this issue here. Australia has been trying to implement meaningful policy for nearly a decade and has made little progress.

On this visit, my first perusal of a newspaper highlighted the controversy that exists. The Weekend Australian reported on a recent paper in Nature Geoscience that examined the differences in model and satellite measured tropospheric warming rates. The paper focussed particularly on the early 21st century when model warming exceeded observed warming, raising the possibility of a pause in the warming trend.The Weekend Australian opened the article with the words “Climate models were wrong . . . ” and continued with the words “The admission . . . . “, as if there was guilt attached to the finding. This approach sets the tone of the discussion as being negative towards and sceptical of climate science, even though this isn’t the direction being taken by the Nature paper itself. Rather, the paper is about the divergence in model output and observational data presenting an opportunity to better understand the variability of the climate system and therefore improve modelling science.

On a similar note, but at the other end of the spectrum, The Guardian almost gleefully reports a few days after the Weekend Australian that “Hopes . . . . have been dashed by new research.” that longer term warming will be less than expected if based on the temperature rises seen in recent decades. Rather, it explains that longer term warming will be much higher and likely closer to model expectations based on the findings of the paper that they chose to select and discuss.

Both the research papers in question represent different but equally valid attempts by the science community to better understand the underlying climate sensitivity and the reasons for variability. Both papers help advance that understanding and both have proposed reasons why there is divergence between models and observations. This is important work, but the reporting of it leaves much to be desired. 
Picking and choosing particular pieces of work and then amplifying one aspect of those stories with hyperbole isn’t helping inform the public on the reality of the climate issue and the scale of the job in front of society to tackle global emissions. It adds to the divisions that exist rather than attempting to bring the sides together. In both cases, the more informed reporting would have been to tell the reader that the science community is building a better understanding of climate sensitivity and the reasons for variability. But perhaps that’s just a bit too dull for modern reporters!

Storing solar power and optimizing self-consumption at home are key trends for all PV system operators. Depending on the size of the system and of the storage system, you can optimize your use of self-generated solar energy and can even make you completely independent from your power company. We can show you how it works in Sunny Places with the new “Try a Demo” function.

If you have not yet purchased a battery yourself but would like to know how a storage system works as part of the overall PV system, it is now possible to take a closer look in the online community portal Sunny Places. Courtesy of two demo systems, we can show you live data from our two storage system types: the “integrated storage system” featuring the Sunny Boy Smart Energy and the “flexible storage system” featuring the Sunny Island and Sunny Tripower.

Live test with SMA Integrated Storage System

Sunny Boy Smart Energy is part of the SMA Integrated Storage System.

Live storage system check

Based on weather forecasts, you can determine how much solar power the system is actually generating and how much power is being consumed by the washing machine or dishwasher, whether the system is currently pumping solar power into the grid or storing it to the battery, or whether your home is currently using power from the utility grid.

Taking a close look at the system description will give you an overview of the system and highlight its special features. For instance, the “flexible storage system” in Kassel is an east–west PV system. The benefit of this module alignment is that it produces a particularly large amount of solar energy for direct consumption from morning to evening.

The energy balance provides information relating to generation and consumption throughout the entire service life of the system, thereby giving you an idea of the overall system efficiency.

sma flexible storage

Live test with the SMA Flexible Storage System including the battery inverter Sunny Isalnd .

Give it a try now

A lot of things simply have to be seen to be believed, and to get a better understanding of how they work. With this in mind, have fun with our demo systems.

Have you not yet purchased a PV system and want to know whether it would be worth the investment? All you need to do is follow three steps to simulate your own system via Sunny Places.

And this storage system test will tell you in less than a minute which storage system type you are.

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Home to over 40 million people and with an economy growing more than a 3 per cent per year, Central America is a region with a rapidly increasing energy needs. The natural conditions and climate variability of the region make it vulnerable to natural disasters, and approximately 7 million people in the region still have limited or no access to basic electricity.

To help tackle Central America’s growing energy demand, diversify its energy mix, and ultimately reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuels, IRENA and Central American countries are working together to implement identified renewable energy recommendations in the region.

A series of meetings held on 20 and 21 June 2017, in Panama City, brought national and regional stakeholders together to discuss the methodologies used in the Central American Clean Energy Corridor (CECCA) and to work on validating the preliminary findings of IRENA’s Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) of Panama. Together, CECCA and RRA Panama support a cost-effective integration of larger shares of renewable energy in the region.

“We are pleased to host in partnership with IRENA the RRA Validation Workshop and the CECCA Pilot Projects implementation meetings in Panama. Although, Panama has developed nearly 400 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in the last 3 years, we still need more support to reach our 70 per cent renewable energy target by 2050,” said Mr Víctor Carlos Urrutia, Panama’s Secretary of Energy.

Stakeholders at the meeting included the Secretariat of Energy of Panama, the National Operator, National Regulator, and Private sector and the Development Agencies; German Development Agency, World Bank- International Finance Corporation in Panama and the Development Bank of Latin America.

Over the last 12 years the region’s power demand has grown by 65 per cent, and it’s been estimated that 7 gigawatts of new electric generation capacity will be needed by 2020. Fortunately, too help meet these needs, Central America boasts massive renewable energy potential in hydropower, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar energy sources.

The CECCA initiative identified two pilot projects for Panama focusing on practical ways to increase renewable energy deployment:

  1. A regulatory project assessing investment incentives for wind and solar PV plants in Panama, with the aim to promote improvements through amended power purchase agreements.
  2. A project focusing on the flexibility of the national grid and on supporting the lack of renewable energy training.

Key stakeholders at the meeting  discussed the methodologies used in the CECCA pilot projects currently under implementation in Panama. The aim is to ensure buy-in from national entities, while supporting the implementation of the regulatory and technical component activities of the CECCA initiative in the country.

“The experience gained through the RRA process and the CECCA-technical and regulatory pilot projects will allow Panama to develop an adequate new regulatory framework and the development of a more flexible national grid to allow large shares of renewables,” Mr Urrutia said.

GroupKey stakeholders at the RRA Validation Workshop Panama and CECCA-Implementation of Pilot Projects, Panama City, Panama.

What’s next in the implementation process?

As a next step, IRENA will finalise the implementation of the RRA and CECCA Pilot Projects, taking into account the outcomes of the meetings held in Panama. In collaboration with national stakeholders, IRENA aims to hold a regional workshop at the end of 2017 to share lessons learned and  methodologies used in the CECCA Pilot Projects with regional stakeholders and partners. The goal is to replicate this process in other regional states and to continue to customise CECCA’s activities to the specific energy needs of the region.



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