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Omron Corp announced that it will release the “KPM2” PV inverter suited for “overloading,”  in December 2016.

‘Overloading’ is a feature that allows this single-phase PV inverter to  handle more panels that it’s rates power announces in order to maximize elecricity production during mornings, evening or small sunlight moments.

Omron overlaod production curve example

Ormon presentation of the Overload feature

Maximum input voltage is 450V DC, and maximum current is 11A. It is a single-phase PV inverter for outdoor use. It is designed for residential and small-scale solar power installations.

As a result, it becomes possible to ensure business feasibility even with a low purchasing price (FIT tariff), the company said. Omron plans to sell 300,000 units during the next 3 years.

 

 

Foreword

News websites and market analysis companies usually do their “trends to watch this year” article in January. It’s said to help digest the turkey and resell useless X-mas presents. As Point The Power doesn’t do anything like the others, here is our “PV market trends of the year” article in September.

Introduction

Solar inverter market has always been very lively. It has grown on the basis of government subsidies and feed-in-tariffs. I agree this was necessary to launch the business. It helped cut-off the chicken and egg problem. And it’s kind of fair that our own money pays, one way or another, to build a business that’s sustainable for the planet while keeping us in our comfort.

Meanwhile, this PV business special treatment was not meant to last forever. As government decreased their help to leave the market roll by itself, rationalization came back. It was required to be more efficient, not about energy produced, but about PV inverter and PV module company’s operation. This shakes-down the market and help consolidate. We now get to a point where we will see a bit more stability.

But what to expect next.

1.500V DC input for solar farm inverter and no less!

This is the main technical trend coming and it’s strongly confirmed. Solar farm installers want higher input voltage: and 1.5kV is the most efficient one. It does not require special high voltage certification and training for installation staff, but it’s still the most efficient combination to build large multiple string installations.

Studies proved it was the best trade-off. So expect every large PV inverter manufacturer to have more and more 1500V DC input power electronics systems in their catalog very soon.

And if you are a protection or combiner box system maker I hope you are aware of that trend and ready to follow.

(Multi-)String inverter at all stages

It’s not because there is a main trend in the utility scale photovoltaic inverter field that the string inverter will stay at residential level. With prices coming down, reliability and monitoring being improved, less than 50kW string and multi-string inverters are still and will keep being used in larger installations. They will also grow in size, and you will more powerful multi-string inverter in the future.

Merger & Acquisition: A summary

The last 3 years have been very active. A lot of companies decided to leave the PV business, sell their assets,  and a few others took the opportunity to expand or enter new geographical markets.

As a picture is always more than a thousand words, take a look at our analysis here under:

Photovoltaic inverter market mergers and acquisitions solar inverter business

Integration is the leitmotiv

There has been a lot of innovation and predictions about innovation. We now feel like there is a renew, all for the best of the photovoltaic world. Tesla recently announced they are working on how to build a solar roof. They did not mean how to put solar on a roof that is already here, or integrate solar on a roof, but build a roof that produces electricity. That’s quite new in the fact that it’s targeting an unexploited market so far: People who want to renovate the roof of their house. These people could not install PV before renovation, and might not have to pay for both a roof, and then a PV installation. If both are done at the same time, the equation is changed. We believe that’s what Elon Musk see has his plan for SolarCity.

Emphase microinverter photovoltaic size reduction and power electronics integration for solar

Enphase integration power electronics size reduction photovoltaic mi

Micro inverter world is changing too. If you follow our blog, you have seen a lot of innovations in topology and use of GaN devices for Consumer and smartphone laptop chargers. These converters are a bit smaller than Microinverters but still use the same type of components (Super Junction MOSFET today, GaN Transistors tomorrow). Enphase recently confirmed that they are redesigning their product line with more integration, with faster switching for power devices and a proprietary control IC. We should see a cost reduction resulting from these innovations. This comes right when the Module Level Power Electronics (MPLE) segment is revitalized.

Ingeteam has just launched onto the market its new PV string inverter models, delivering output powers of up to 40 kW in a single inverter. In addition to the 40 kW model, a further three models have also been presented:  24 kW, 28 kW and 33 kW.

The UL version of these models, specifically designed for the North American market, has also been extended to offer output powers of up to 40 kW.

Ingeteam new multiple PV inverter photovoltaic production 40kW 28kW

This is the INGECON SUN 3Play TLMSeries of inverters, noted for their dual MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) as well as their maximum efficiency levels (98.5%) and high performance. For example, this inverter family is suitable for self-consumption systems with no injection of excess energy into the public grid.

Ingeteam has already started to supply these new models to many different markets. The models available until now, with output powers ranging from 10 to 20 kW, are already installed in countries such as Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, Paraguay, France, Australia, Chile, India, El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico, United States and Spain, to mention but a few.

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The new laboratory features a unique, large climate chamber capable of full power electrical testing in conditions simulating the arctic tundra to an equatorial rainforest. In addition, full verification and grid code requirements testing enable ABB to develop larger, more powerful inverters to meet the developing customer and industry trends.

A new multimillion dollar facility designed to test high power central photovoltaic (PV) inverters has been opened in Helsinki. The laboratory supports testing and verification of inverters for safe operation, endurance in a wide range of climatic conditions, compatibility to the most demanding renewables-specific grid code requirements, and to measure and test harmonics and grid interactions.Marc Gomez, Global Product Group Manager for solar inverters at ABB states:

“Our customers are asking for more powerful central inverters. They want to maximize their return on investment and connect more incoming PV power to one inverter. With this lab, we are able to test new inverter concepts, under varying weather conditions, and that allows us to deliver new innovation to our customers and ensure we lead the market.”

Climate testing can last several weeks for the equipment under test. Powered by a DC supply, the inverters are run at varying power levels with different simulated weather conditions to test inverter reliability. The climate chamber allows for accelerated product testing, important when the inverters are typically expected to operate for over 20 years. The climate chamber can vary temperatures from as low as -40°C to as high as +100°C, and relative humidity levels up to 95 percent.

ABB, a leading global supplier of solar photovoltaic inverters, provides the most comprehensive portfolio of products, systems, solutions and services along the solar PV value chain that enable the generation, transmission and distribution of solar power for grid-connected and microgrid applications. The portfolio includes inverters, low-voltage products, monitoring and control systems, grid connection, stabilization and integration products, as well as complete electrical balance of plant solutions. A wide range of support and maintenance services, including remote operations and diagnostics, help ensure solar installations deliver optimal performance.

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