Power-One is now the world's second-largest inverter manufacturer, and these inverters are a standard in Europe, where they used to be sold under the highly respected Magnetek name until this Italian company was bought by US-based Power-One.
Power-One Solar Grid-Tie Inverters
The Power-One Photovoltaic Aurora grid-tie inverters are available in 3kW, 3.6kW, 4.2kW, 5kW, and 6kW output power for single-phase/split-phase, plus 10kW and 12kW output power for three-phase. That makes it easy to find just the right size for your project. The inverters have a build-in DC disconnect.
For the larger projects Power-One also makes a line of central inverters in 50kW, 100kW, 250kW and 300kW output power (all 3-phase).
The single-phase inverters are intended for 240V split-phase, 208V single phase, or 277V single-phase (the last two are one leg of a 3-phase circuit). The three-phase inverters are meant for 208V, 480V, and 600V. The string inverters and some of the central inverters are made in Ontario, and qualify for FIT/MicroFIT Domestic Content.
There are a number of features that place these inverters a step above the pack, but do not take our word for it, see the Photon Magazine test (and despite the article's title the Aurora inverters are really easy to install and use). Here are the main features that make the single-phase inverters tick. The three-phase inverters are slightly different, please see the spec sheet on the left:
Power-One PVI-Desktop Monitoring
For local monitoring of up to 6 inverters Power-One provides a cost-effective solution through the PVI-Desktop device. The PVI-Desktop is intended for the kitchen countertop, and it can talk to the inverters either wired or wirelessly. It provides the essential information, such as current power, daily/weekly/monthly energy production etc. through a 3½ color touch-screen. This makes it very simple to use, ideal for the home owner who wants to keep an eye on their solar PV array.
Power-One (Aurora Universal) Web Monitoring
Aurora Universal offers a scalable Web monitoring solution that works from their smallest 3kW inverter to the largest multi-MW solar plant with central inverters. Fat Spaniel is a leading edge company that specializes in Web monitoring of renewable energy generators. Power-One is now the owner of Fat Spaniel, and offers its services for their own inverters, as well as a wide array of other brands. The solution for Power-One inverters goes under the name "Aurora Universal". It is subscription based, where the hardware includes a subscription for the duration of the warranty of the inverter(s), including any extended warranty purchased by the subscriber.
The Aurora Universal hardware and service comes in three variants: Aurora Universal Residential, Aurora Universal Industrial, and Aurora Universal Revenue Grade. Up to 15 inverters can be daisy-chained through RS485 and connected for monitoring to a single Aurora Universal unit. The residential and industrial versions are identical, except that industrial comes with a NEMA-3R enclosure for mounting outside (you could mount the residential version in a similar enclosure yourself and have the same functionality, see the manual for the Industrial version to get the idea). The revenue grade version comes with more hardware to more accurately measure energy production, and is primarily intended for large solar plants. In addition to the default hardware, there is an optional Environmental Appliance. This comes in several version, depending on the included sensors, and adds monitoring of ambient temperature, panel temperature, solar radiation, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction, and rain.
The default Web interface goes under the name Aurora Vision. It provides plenty of information for the average user's needs. For those that need a more specialized Web interface (such as a kiosk function, various alarms etc.) there are a la carte development services available for a reasonable price that will tailor the Web interface exactly to your needs.
You can test-drive the Fat Spaniel and Aurora Vision system for yourself by logging in to Power-One's own (live) monitoring pages: