Solar Power International is jam-packed this year (just take a look at all the product announcements we’ve had in the last seven days), and there is plenty to see from the 700+ exhibiting companies. There was no way to soak in all the sights and sounds in one day, but here’s a look at some of the products we found interesting on Day 1 at SPI 2017.
Just as suggested at Intersolar a few months ago, half-cut solar cells are all the rage in solar panels right now. With half-cut cells promising at least a 5- to 8-W increase of power per module, it seems the trend for all panel manufacturers is to switch up their lines or be outperformed by the competition. Hanwha Q CELLS’ new half-cell module line (see photo above) also uses six busbars to further increase power.
When waterproofing residential solar arrays, you have to consider more than just holes from panel mounts. Quick Mount PV has released its QBox, a flashed junction box that uses the same patented Elevated Water Seal Technology as its mounting systems. This ensures a waterproof route for conduit from the junction box to the attic.
With a lot of attention swirling around the “solar shingle” keyword, it was nice to check in with a company that knows a thing or two about roof installations. CertainTeed has been in the roofing business for over 100 years and has had a BIPV product since 2013. The company recently increased the power of its Apollo II solar shingles to 63 W and enhanced its product and installation warranty to 25 years. These solar-powered shingles are here now and guaranteed to stay.
Solar carports and canopies are tall, and they’re impressive to see on any tradeshow floor. Quest Renewables’ QuadPod model is all the more remarkable when you consider that the majority of assembly is done on the ground. No scissor-lifts are needed to slide panels into place since tables come together at ground-level. Cranes lift the tables to attach to their foundations. This assembly method saves about 50% in labor costs and even more installation time.
Financing is important, but the topic isn’t always the most exciting thing to focus on. EnerBank got people interested in its new solar loans by incorporating interactive games into the discussion. Amazon gift cards and raffle tickets for some larger prizes kept this booth busy all day and helped solar installers learn more about financing.
To close us out, something I never expected to see on the solar show floor, the Brief Relief personal lavatory system. It absolutely doesn’t hurt to keep installation crews happy on large solar sites. Take a serious look at these personal products in the 1000 block of the exhibit hall.