Estonia: ABB opens 400 MW solar inverter line


Citing the growing, long-term demand for solar technology, ABB says its new string inverter line has a maximum capacity of 400 MW. "Like all other production plants of ABB," a spokesperson for the company tells pv magazine, "this line is designed to be modular and easy to expand so that it is possible to respond rapidly to market needs."

They go on to say that the inverters have undergone "extensive" piloting since the start of the year. In response to whether or not full capacity has already been reached, they explain, "First hundreds of inverters have been produced from this production line in June 2011, and since then, the production amount has been ramped up gradually."

When asked why Estonia had been chosen for the production line’s location, they replied that the country is known for its high-tech manufacturing. There are also said to be "technically capable" employees based there.

Although the spokesperson declined to say if any orders had yet been secured for the inverters, they did say that the product had gained "extensive interest due to the all-in-one design that incorporates monitored string fuses, monitored PV specific easy to replace surge protection devices, DC switch and detachable graphical display as standard, which make this product very attractive for installers as well as end-users." Several systems are already said to be in operation in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Meanwhile, the new engineering center has been set up to provide support to both ABB’s solar inverter business and its motors and drives factories, which are based at the same location.

ABB has further invested in a 25 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar plant. Said to be the largest of its kind in Estonia, the company says it will be primarily used for testing and demonstration purposes. Finland-base Naps Systems Oy. designed and installed the system.

In relation to how much was invested in the three projects, and how many new jobs, if any, were created, ABB declined to comment. With regards to the 25 kW installation, the spokesperson said, "This is a small system and the cost of it was according to market prices in Germany."