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Published on June 21st, 2016 | by James Ayre


Fraunhofer CSE Showcases 2 Commercial-Ready Plug & Play Solar PV Systems At 2016 Demo Day

June 21st, 2016 by  

Plug and Play SolarTwo new, commercial-ready plug-and-play home solar photovoltaic systems were recently demonstrated by the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems at the organization’s “2016 Demo Day,” according to a new press release.

The new plug-and-play solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are, according to Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, simple to install, easy to inspect for code compliance, and compatible with electronic Permitting, Inspection and Interconnection (ePI&I) processes.

For some background here, the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Plug and Play PV project was created to “dramatically reduce the installed cost of residential PV systems, from $3–4/Watt today to $1.50/Watt by 2020.”

“We have taken the Plug and Play PV approach to the next level by demonstrating that different technology approaches can meet the vision with simplified installation, simplified inspection, and electronic permitting, inspection and interconnection,” stated Dr Christian Hoepfner, Executive Director of Fraunhofer CSE and principal investigator on the Plug and Play PV project. “This opens the path for many manufacturers to develop and offer Plug and Play PV systems. Fraunhofer CSE and its commercial partners are now looking forward to piloting the Plug and Play PV approach on a larger scale in 2017.”

Plug and Play Demo Day 2016 saw Fraunhofer CSE perform a live installation of a string inverter solar PV system (including commissioning) in under 75 minutes — demonstrating the ease and simplicity of the system.

A number of major stakeholders — the City of Boston, electrical utilities like National Grid and Eversource, and industry partners such as Lumeta, SunPower, and VoltServer, amongst others — have been working closely with Fraunhofer CSE on the plug-and-play PV initiatives (and others).

“The Commonwealth’s partnership with Fraunhofer CSE continues to drive innovation and cut energy costs while making clean energy options like solar more accessible to residents and businesses,” commented Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to Massachusetts’ leadership in clean energy, we’re proud to support these types of public-private partnerships that aim to transform clean energy marketplaces.”

Pilot projects are expected to take place in 2017 in various different utility company territories.

More information on the Plug and Play Solar PV Systems Project can be found here.

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • wattleberry

    Bob, this could offer a solution to the theft problem with weekend properties, so long as a vehicle was available to cart the panels backwards and forwards together with accessible mountings.

  • heinbloed

    Isn’t Fraunhofer a bit late now?
    There are millions of plug-and-play clients already, I’m the owner of one.
    Hard to count the millions I’d guess, these systems are operated as so called
    ‘guerilla PV’ – no FIT, no registration, no subsidies, no bother with the usual sponsor mafia …


  • Ivor O’Connor

    Residential Solar for American Homes

    The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE is developing Plug and Play PV Systems to dramatically reduce the soft costs of residential PV installations, targeting a goal of $1.50/Watt installed cost by 2020, down from an average of $4/W installed cost in the U.S. today. The vision of the project is to make PV systems similar to an appliance – installed quickly, easily, and safely, even by someone with no prior PV installation experience.

    Step 1: Purchase a Plug & Play PV System at a local home improvement store or from a distributor (preconfigured for your rooftop).
    Step 2: Install the system yourself following the enclosed instructions, or hire a contractor.
    Step 3: Installation is completed with the following steps:
    The system runs a self-test, ensuring it is safely installed and meets code requirements.
    The system transmits self-test results and key system parameters to the local municipality and utility via the Plug & Play PV server.
    Upon receiving municipality and utility approval, the PV system can be commissioned with the push of a button.

    I’m looking forward to the various options. I’m hoping to see ground mounted with battery off-grid solutions too.

    • Matt

      If you are will to set up the rack, you can ground mount now. I don’t know that they are selling ground racking systems for them yet. But its a DIY project, right?

      • Ivor O’Connor

        I look around and see all the bad jobs that solar installers have done. I think in a few years the underpowered trinket systems will need to be done correctly. And for most people that means DIY, ground mounted, with racks that can be dynamically added to, going into a battery, and removing the attachment to the grid. (I’m in horse country, lots of room.) Li-on batteries seem to be the stumbling point currently. But by 2020 I’m thinking all the pieces will be in place.

    • heinbloed

      There are videos, try this for a beginning:



      ” The system transmits self-test results and key system parameters to the local municipality and utility via the Plug & Play PV server.
      Upon receiving municipality and utility approval, the PV system can be commissioned with the push of a button.”

      Would you buy a car this way ? Or a bicycle? Or a tap?

      Think simple and act straight.

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