Intersolar: Inverter manufacturers say quality over quantity15. June 2012 | Intersolar 2012, Markets & Trends | By: Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger
While visitor numbers at the Intersolar Europe 2012 are expected to be down on last year, inverter manufacturers have reported that visitor quality has been high and that the inverter hall has been buzzing with activity.
Inverter manufacturers speaking with pv magazine said that this year the quality of visitors has been high, even if they were not there in the same quantities seen in previous years.
pv magazine asked Kostal's Markus Vetter why inverters are a ‘hot topic' this year? Vetter highlighted that the fact that storage and grid regulation have become such important issues, inverters with their ability to potentially be the remote controls to steer this direction, have taken center stage.
Dynamic inverters are expected to be packaged with curtailment control and enable dynamic VAR control. Real and reactive power options are thereby adjustable. The basic issue lies in the fact that power generation from renewables like photovoltaics may not match the load profile of consumers. Voltage fluctuations can occur with high voltages potentially being detrimental to equipment lifetime. Energy storage can step in, reported inverter manufacturers, with the option to adjust load levels and maintain stable voltage outputs.
Safety and complete certifications are issues that need to be ironed out as Voltwerk's Armin Schmiegel highlighted. Voltwerk has introduced the VS 5 Hybrid inverter with integrated energy management system with five kilowatt (kW) of nominal power and 8.8kWh of storage capacity.
The communication language between devices are also crucial and software challenges exist, said Power-One's Paolo Casini. "Inverters with grid management features are needed for better distribution and control. It is no longer just about reading parameters, reading and writing, meaning the implementation of commands is necessary," added Casini.
Kostal's Vetter added, "People who want energy independence tend to lean towards such integrated system." Mastervolt for one has a clear advantage here with their already established marine storage solutions. The company's President highlights the plus point of this advantage with inveter integration.
Fronius, for one, is offering household storage integration for central Europe. The company's Michael Schubert explains that the hydrogen storage system with four bundles of 12 steel 50 liter cylinders enable long-term storage of PV power. He sees the potential of such a system more in the off-grid area.
It seems evident that inverter development is a trend that will capture headlines within the industry for a some time. Watch the space in pv magazine for further products and trends that show innovation and practical application in this increasingly exciting segment.
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