Tech Talk: The Benefits of Micro Inverter Multigate Technology

This post was originally published in 2013. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

SMA knew there was a better way. We recognized the shortcomings of current micro inverters and worked diligently to develop a new system that can deliver on the promise of quality, reliability and the high standards that customers have come to expect from us.

SMA invested years of engineering and research to offer the most reliable micro inverter on the market.

SMA invested years of engineering and research to offer the most reliable micro inverter on the market.

The cornerstone of this new approach to micro inverter system design is the separation of critical components into two key pieces: the Sunny Boy 240-US and the Sunny Multigate-US. While the Sunny Boy 240-US performs the traditional power conversion function under the module, the Sunny Multigate-US optimizes system reliability and elevates energy production.

What is a Multigate?

The backbone of SMA’s new micro inverter system is the Sunny Multigate-US. Housed in a separate, environmentally protected enclosure, the Multigate is the interface between the micro inverters and the utility grid. Most importantly, the Multigate is a communications hub for free module-level monitoring.

The Multigate is housed in a protected service box that is easy to access.

The Multigate is housed in a protected service box that is easy to access.

Why is the Multigate Separate from the Micro Inverter?

The Sunny Boy 240-US contains up to 50 percent fewer components than competitive micro inverters. Critical components were removed from an extremely hot roof environment under the module and placed in the Multigate, an easy-access service panel on the side of the home.  This design exposes fewer components under the module to heat stress, so the micro inverter system is able to realize greater energy production and reliability.

Homeowners and installers have worry-free access to free module-level monitoring and reports from any device with internet connection.

Homeowners and installers have worry-free access to free module-level monitoring and reports from any device with internet connection.

 

How has SMA Improved Micro Inverter Communication?

Micro inverter installers would agree that communication related issues are the number one cause of service calls. Traditional micro inverters send information to a monitoring portal using public bandwidth, resulting in interference and unreliable communication.  In many instances, filters must be installed just to obtain clear data communication which increases system cost.

The Multigate addresses these concerns by using a private band power line, sending data directly to the customer’s router via an Ethernet cable. Once it is connected to the Internet, module-level reporting is sent to SMA’s free monitoring site www.SunnyPortal.com. This free PV system monitoring service can send customized reports via e-mail or text message to homeowners and installers.

Custom module level performance reports can be sent to homeowner or installers

Custom module level performance reports can be sent to homeowner or installers

How has Service Been Made Easier?

The finishing touch for the Multigate is a win-win for both installers and homeowners.  Diagnostics and system re-commissioning can now be performed outside the home at the location of the Multigate, as opposed to competitive products that require entry into the home.

There is no longer a need to block-out a time slot with a homeowner for a service call, eliminating frustrating scheduling and missed work for the homeowner. There is also a reduction in time spent on the roof troubleshooting because SMA’s Sunny Explorer can be used to diagnose potential issues right at the Multigate.

Making the Right Investment

SMA’s Sunny Boy 240-US and Sunny Multigate-US system offer all of the valuable benefits of micro inverter system technology including flexibility, simplicity and module-level optimization. Additional technical innovations set this system apart with a superior cabling system, increased communication reliability, reduced component count and highly configurable monitoring options.

 

Would you like more technical training on the Sunny Boy 240-US/SMA Multigate-US? Join us for a free webinar or attend one of our hands-on training sessions. Click here to view the SMA Solar Academy schedule.

Click here to watch the Sunny Boy 240-US / Multigate-US video.  

31 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Jack D says:

    I understand that it is a better idea to remove components from the microinverter for reliability and cost reasons. It would be helpful to know what functions are moved from the inverter to the multigate.
    Thanks, Jack

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Mohamed says:

    I found a new product in the market that does both grid freed and backup simultaneously does Sma have the same product

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Mohamed says:

    I found a new product in the market that does both grid freed and backup simultaneously does Sma have the same product

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    MIke NG says:

    I notice that SMA micro inverter are about 240W range, what if I have a 310W panel since many companies are not producing 240W anymore.

    Would it burn the micro inverter ? would output still be limited to 240W?

    thanks

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Giancarlo says:

    It is posible to connect a SB-Multigate-US to a tri-phase supply grid? what are the risk or the implications?

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    John Van Dyke says:

    I have an installed multigate system in Mexico. 12 panels, Year 2014, using a “new” micro inverter for Latin American power. It simply has not worked, and no one seems know why. The vendor was not knowledgeable as it turns out. It is in a rural area and it was difficult to get the bi-directional meter installed. A year later, it became apparent the system would not work as it is. One proposed solution, put in a single inverter, toss the micro inverters and rewire. Other factors, no reliable internet connect to multigate, 3 phase, 2 phase used with multigate, industrial 3 phase voltage regulator (necessary) between breaker and main panel. I am not versed in electrical, a real disadvantage. What to do?

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Matheus says:

    Hi!

    I have an issue and I hope you can help me!

    I have a PV System in my house (5 modules) and the equipment SB 240 is receiving the generation of these modules. I used to follow the data using the sunny portal, but since july from the last year I can’t see the data there anymore.

    Also, in my router, there’s a sticker and I realized that this sticker was corrupted. So, I don’t know if the sticker has something to do with the lack of information of the sunny portal, but I would like to recover my conection, please answer me, here or by e-mail (matheus.carmo@pucrs.br).

    Kind Regards,
    Matheus do Carmo

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    joel says:

    I have 12 SB240 inverters and can’t find cabling for them. I know that they are discontinued, can you tell me where to find cables? Or can the plugs be purchased somewhere and cables made? Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Avatar
    JaimeTrevino says:

    A couple of months ago I have been experiencing some problems with the monitoring system of my Micro Inverter Multigate (Installed since March 2017 with no problems at all).
    The internet line is working OK, but the data freeze first for several days, but lately for weeks. . .
    There is a way to get the data directly from the Multigate instead of trough the APP?
    There any hard connected display to read the status of the system? which I can add to my system. . .
    My supplier tried everything, he has spend at least 5 site visit not been success and I’m sure he don’t what else to do.
    I really appreciate your help.

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Trukinbear says:

    I’m building an off-grid PV system using a SI6048 – can the SI6048 control/use these micro-inverters without the Multigate? Can a SI/multigate/SB240 system operate totally off the grid? My confusion about this, and SMA’s PV inverters is they all say they are grid-tie… and I’m off-grid. Suggestions?

    Reply

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