From its modest beginning as a PV cell manufacturer, Taiwan-based BIG SUN Group has become a major provider of PV systems following the market successes of its innovative products, the advanced solar tracker iPV Tracker and the intelligent monitoring platform iPVita. The unique design of iPV Tracker effectively extends the operational periods of PV systems in a given day, thus maximizing power output and utilization efficiency of the power grids.
At this year’s PV Taiwan trade show, BIG SUN has set up a special exhibition section where visitors can view the company’s impressive worldwide record. Currently, BIG SUN has mid- and large-size projects running in major markets of the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Taiwan and Mainland China.
Efficiency of PV generation is vastly improved with iPV Tracker
At the trade show, BIG SUN Chairman Summer Luo commended the determination of Taiwan’s government in promoting green energy and endorsed the 2017 feed-in tariff scheme, which will give projects using high-efficiency module a 6% bonus. Luo further invited Taiwan’s government to focus on supporting high-efficiency initiatives that are closely related to PV power generation, such as improving land-use planning and power grid performance.
As Luo explains, Taiwan’s land area is very limited, so the government has to encourage PV developers to adopt high-efficiency modules and system mountings that can boost power output in a given space. The aim is to help the developers to make the most profit out their limited areas. Also, once the power grids are laid and connected, the PV plant operators can lower the unit cost associated with the cable installation by increasing the frequency and amount of energy that is being supplied through the grids.
On average, BIG SUN’s iPV Trackers generate 30% to 40% more electricity annually compared with fixed-tilt PV systems, according to data from case studies. Increasing adoption of solar trackers therefore would significantly improve the utilization of land and the power grids on the island. Luo hopes that Taiwan’s government will continue to push developers to deploy solar trackers and to strive for higher generation efficiency with the right combinations of solutions involving modules, mountings systems and the cables. Moreover, Luo believes the automation of the operation of solar trackers will lead to advances in the use of green energy in Industry 4.0 (smart manufacturing).
“I believe that dual-axis solar trackers will be mainstream in the solar tracker market in the near future,” said Lu at the PV Taiwan tradeshow. “Hopefully, the government will also recognize this and encourage the deployment of solar trackers so that Taiwan’s PV power generation facilities, the power grids and land in general can be used in the best possible way.”
iPVita is monitoring more than 1,000 projects worldwide
In addition to iPV Tracker, another highlight at BIG SUN’s exhibition for PV Taiwan 2016 is the smart monitoring platform iPVita, which is designed to form the heart of a solar plant’s monitoring and control system. Jeffery Su, Development Manager of BIG SUN’s R&D unit, was available to give visitors an overview of iPVita. Su pointed out that iPVita was introduced at last year’s PV Taiwan and is now overseeing more than 1,000 power plant projects with the combined installation capacity of over 100MW.
Each iPVita smart control box can connect to up to 50 electronic devices within a PV system, and iPVita’s smart control platform can monitor every solar projects it is connected to in real time. Power output data from the inverters can be collected and sent to plant operators via the platform to help them track the overall condition of their facilities. The data from the inverters can also be used for big data analyses that benefit the entire the industry.
At the trade show, Su explained that BIG SUN has seen a significant growth in operation and maintenance (O&M) service since iPVita’s launch a year ago. At the same time, BIG SUN’s R&D unit continues to optimize the iPVita platform and improving its features. For instance, the design of the remote user interface looks more polished and provides clearer and more holistic view of the relevant information. The platform also incorporates Google Maps and a navigation feature. For additional convenience, the IoT-based iPVita is available on mobile devices to assist O&M engineers assess the running condition of PV systems on site.
In the future, iPVita will serve as the core of integrated solutions for various devices and services. BIG SUN will also continue to develop the Smart Box that complements iPVita. The goal is to provide service packages that are the most comprehensive and cost-efficient on the market.