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Press Release

Sumitomo Electric Installs More Than 7,000 PLC String Monitoring Units in 60 Solar Power Plants (capacity: 450 MW)

Products & Technologies

October 25, 2018
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd
*This press release was originally published in Japanese on October 9, 2018.

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has installed more than 7,000 power line communication (PLC) string monitoring units in 60 solar power plants since their launch in 2016 (as of September 30, 2018).

PLC String Monitoring Units in 60 Solar Power Plants

With the introduction of the feed-in tariff (FIT)*1 in 2012, more and more new solar power plants are being built. However, according to a survey conducted by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, about 46% and 50% of solar power plant owners answered that they had experienced abnormal modules and suspended power conditioners, respectively, after commencing operation.*2

To maintain high generation capacity at solar power plants over a long period of time, it is critical to monitor the operation and detect disorders in advance. For this purpose, full-time monitoring units, particularly those that can monitor strings one by one,*3 are commonly used. In 2016, Sumitomo Electric began full-scale sales of advanced string monitoring units that utilized its PLC technology. These units use existing power lines for data communication, eliminating the need to install additional wiring, thus reducing overall installation cost by 70% (our calculation). In addition, the wired unit ensures stable data transmissions and lightning surge resistance. As a result, more than 7,000 units have been so far installed at 60 solar power plants.

Since its launch, Sumitomo Electric has expanded its product lineup by adding new products, including the SMP2204 for outdoor installation and SMP2205 supporting 1500 V DC equipment, to satisfy the requirements of owners and contractors who design and build power plants.

Sumitomo Electric continues its efforts to provide more string monitoring units that are highly convenient for users.

*1:A scheme under which the national government forces power companies to purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources at a fixed price.

*2:FY2017 Basic Survey to Promote Introduction of New Energy (Survey on Popularization Trends of Maintenance and Inspection Related to Solar Power Generation), Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

*3:A minimum configuration unit of series-connected photovoltaic panels

About the product

Future product release schedule

  • String monitoring unit for retrofit solution on 1000 V DC power plants outside Japan (to be announced in FY2018)
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