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Swiss power firm to target BRIC markets with 1000kW PV inverters

Global company ABB expands high efficiency central inverter range for multi-MW solar power plants in hot climates and aims to boost BRIC success

The inverter series is designed for multi-MW photovoltaic power plants as well as large PV installations

Swiss power firm ABB has said it is targeting BRIC counties with its latest inverters for large-scale PV power plants. The new 875 and 1000kW central inverters, which the global company announced this week as part of its PVS800 range, are designed for multi-MW photovoltaic plants.

ABB, which has headquarters based in Zurich, Switzerland, said BRIC countries, specifically India, are target markets for the inverters, which are available in Brazil, China and Russia. The company said the inverters have been developed to help meet market demand in these countries for higher efficiency technology that can perform in hot climates at a low cost.

ABB said the inverters, which aims to reduce overall system cost, have high total efficiency with what the company claims is one of the most compact and easy-to-maintain designs on the market. The operating temperature and altitude rating for the technology have both been extended. ABB said a modular direct current (DC) input design also provides greater flexibility for system integrators.

Jyrki Leppänen, director for market management for ABB solar inverters, said: "These new 875kW and 1000kW inverters are a logical response to the latest market requirements. Higher efficiency, wider temperature rating as well as lower plant cost by the reduced medium voltage component cost can be mentioned as obvious advantages to our customers.

"We expect that these new inverters will even further boost our success in very competitive Indian markets and also support our efforts in emerging markets in South America and Russia."

The news from ABB follows the company announcing its decision to expand Indian production of its solar inverters in March. The company said it opened the production line in Bangalore, India to support the rapidly growing local PV market in the BRIC country.

High efficiency for high climates

The new higher efficiency value of the central inverter is the result of systematic and continuous R&D efforts, ABB has said. It has a 98.8 per cent maximum efficiency with improved efficiency at partial loads to provide a Euro efficiency rating of 98.6 per cent. This, together with a very low auxiliary power consumption of only 700 watts for the new sizes at nominal power, results in an inverter with a very high total efficiency.

"A 45 per cent higher power density compared to earlier ABB central inverters makes this one of the most compact inverters on the market by footprint and volume per kW," the company said. "This reduces installation and container space and lowers transportation costs."

The new central inverters offer a wider operational temperature range, up to 50°C at nominal power, and up to 55°C with power derating. ABB said this makes the product very suitable for hot climate conditions. At lower temperatures, the central inverter provides up to a 20 per cent power overloading capability, up to a maximum power output of 1050kW and 1200kW at 25°C for 875kW and 1000kW inverters, respectively.

As a new feature, the PVS800 series inverters are also now able to support grid stability even at night by providing reactive power with the DC input disconnected. The larger inverter power rating also brings considerable savings on the medium-voltage side by allowing larger transformers to be used, the company said.