Published on July 21st, 2014 | by Jake Richardson21
Ampt Launches New Solar Power Optimizer
July 21st, 2014 by Jake Richardson
How do Ampt Optimizers deliver more power per inverter?
Systems with Ampt Optimizers allow inverters to operate in Ampt Mode™ – a higher and narrower input voltage range. This optimized input range makes it possible for the inverter to deliver up to twice as much power from the same hardware. Doubling the output power is equivalent to cutting the inverter cost in half. Through the HDPV Alliance, Ampt works with inverter manufacturers to deliver this capability to the market. Commercially available inverters with Ampt Mode™ have already achieved up to 60 percent increase in rated output power.
How does Ampt decrease solar energy costs?
Ampt Optimizers distribute maximum power point tracking (MPPT) throughout the PV array on a sub-string level that corrects for mismatch, generating more energy than traditional systems that use only central or string inverter level MPPT. Ampt Optimizers also add patented voltage and current limits to each string, allowing String Stretch™ that doubles string length and significantly reduces combiners and DC cabling. These features result in systems that generate more energy and have lower electrical balance-of-system (BOS) costs, lower inverter costs and lower total system costs.
How much can Ampt technology reduce these costs?
Ampt’s String Optimizer can decrease inverter costs and electrical BOS costs by up to 50 percent.
What is the size of a solar power facility that Ampt technology works best with, and why does it work best with large solar arrays?
Ampt technology may be applied to any size system. Our module-level optimizer is ideal for residential applications. Ampt’s String Optimizer provides best value in commercial and utility-scale PV power plants – approximately 50 kW systems or larger.
How does the String Optimizer increase lifetime performance?
The String solar power Optimizer performs MPPT on every three kilowatts of an array. That is roughly 100-200 times more granular than MPPT at the central inverter level. PV system designers recognize that putting MPPT closer to the source of generation increases PV system energy output by correcting for mismatch out in the array. The more granular and efficient the power management is, the higher the system production will be under changing environmental and system conditions over the lifetime of the power plant. Ampt’s combination of higher performance and lower total system cost is desirable to EPCs, integrators and owners alike.
Does the String Optimizer increase energy yield from each solar module? If so, how does it do this?
The String Optimizer performs MPPT at approximately every three kilowatts, depending on the desired DC to AC loading ratio. That is about 10 or 12 PV modules per MPPT zone for 72 cell or 60 cell modules. By using String Optimizers, systems have more granular MPPT than either string or central inverters alone, resulting in higher performance and more revenue.
Who are your target customers for the String Optimizer, what does it cost and how long does it take to install?
The String Optimizer is made for large PV plants. We work with various companies in the value chain including EPCs, integrators, developers and system owners like IPPs and utilities. The total installed cost of the String Optimizers is much less than the savings in electrical BOS and inverter costs provided on a system level. Total system costs go down significantly with Ampt.