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Omron to Release Multipurpose Measurement Device for Solar Plants

2016/09/03 18:54
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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The "DC Fault Tester" can perform four kinds of measurements. (source: Omron)

Omron Corp announced Sept 1, 2016, that it will release the "DC Fault Tester" DC (direct-current) safety inspection device for solar power generation systems.

The device can carry out four kinds of measurements for power generation systems, improving inspection and maintenance efficiencies. Omron developed it in collaboration with Shin-Ei Denshi Co Ltd (Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and will release it in December 2016.

For the inspection and maintenance of a solar power generation system, it is necessary to measure (1) open circuit voltage, (2) ground fault resistance, (3) series resistance and (4) forward voltage (Vf) of bypass diode. And the device can measure all of them.

Normally, four or five devices are used to measure them, and the DC Fault Tester is Japan's first device that can measure all of them, Omron said. It can improve safety and minimize fire risk, the company said.

For the detection of a troubled DC part, Omron's AISET (Active Inspection Sensing Technology) was employed. It enables to detect the location of a troubled panel through measurement of each combiner box.

With conventional methods, measurement is conducted for each combiner box, and a string (a unit of panels connected in parallel/series that transmits power to a combiner box) containing a troubled panel is detected. Then, each of the panels comprising the string is inspected.

This time, Omron employed a method that fits in with the characteristics of troubled solar panels, instead of the method of measuring and analyzing an enormous amount of data. As a result, it became possible to reduce workload, save time, reduce measurement device size and lower costs.

The dimensions and weight of the device are 170 x 260 x 70mm and about 2.5kg, respectively. There is no manufacturer's suggested retail price of the product. Omron aims to sell 5,000 units in three years.

Omron aims to sell the product by combining Shin-Ei Denshi's past results and know-how as a comprehensive measurement device manufacturer and Omron's sensing technologies and wide sales/after-the-sales network.