The China-based ICT solutions company Huawei recently expanded its presence in the European solar energy market via the utilization of its string inverter solutions technology at a 7.8 MW solar energy power plant located in Germany, according to recent reports.
This solar facility was built with Huawei’s SUN2000 string inverters, instead of the more commonly used technology, a central inverter. 300 of the string inverters were used in total at the site — resulting in a 5% larger energy yield, and a 50% improvement in maintenance efficiency, without adding any costs. The costs associated with the two technologies/approaches are highly comparable.
This project — the Lansweiler-Reden solar PV plant — is located at what previously was a mining site in Western Germany, and was connected to the grid a few months ago, in May. The project is owned and operated by Germany’s Greencells Group.
Huawei’s European inverter solution sales director, Steven Zhou, in an interview with PV Magazine, stated: “The price of this inverter installation is equal to the system costs of a traditional central inverter, but the strings give you a better yield and more control.”
Lined up ten in a row, and with 60 inverters for each 1.56 MW substation of the plant, these low impact string inverters each connect to five streams, with each stream accounting for 20 modules. The connection to the transformer requires no DC cables, which further lowers costs, and weighing just 48kg each they can be easily installed and replaced should a problem arise, the company said.
Huawei, which claimed more than 3% of global inverter revenue share in Q2 2014, was also keen to demonstrate the inverters’ durability, running live weather replication tests on the site. Built with IP65 protection, the inverters were able to perform at peak in extreme heat, when doused with continuous rain, and even in salt mist conditions.
“The multi-MPPT increases power yields and reduces the impact of shading,” Zhou continued, also noting that the string inverters provide an “80% quicker fault detection rate” — thereby reducing downtime in the event of an inverter failure.
The global use of Huawei’s string inverter technology is rising relatively rapidly — during the first six months of 2014, the company shipped over 500 MW of the inverters, with that number expected to rise notably by the end of Q1 2015.
On a broader level, string inverters (regardless of manufacturer) are expected to largely replace the use of central inverters over the coming decade — the technology appears to (as of now) be an improvement across the board, thereby reducing costs.
Image Credit: Huawei
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