Swiss giant ABB expands inverter production in South Africa


ABB plans to open the new inverter production line next year at its existing facilities in Johannesburg.

The line for its PVS800 range of central inverters will have a production capacity of approximately 500 MW a year. It will produce 630 kW, 875 kW and 1,000 kW central inverters.

The company already produces solar inverters in Estonia, India and China.

ABB has a long-established presence in South Africa as a producer of power converters and has a dedicated service organization that includes a training center to support its expansion.

South Africa is one of the world’s fastest growing photovoltaic markets thanks to the government’s commitment to increase green energy under the country’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement program.

“With this investment in a new production line, ABB further reinforces its position as a global renewables leader with attention to local market needs,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. “The region’s energy needs are set to grow with economic expansion and with South Africa looking to benefit from its abundance of sunshine, we will be in an even better position to serve our local customers.”

ABB installed its first two 500 kW solar projects near Johannesburg in 2011 and has since gained a delivery pipeline of approximately 90 MW of central inverters.

The ABB central inverter series, rated from 100 to1000 kW, is designed for multi-megawatt photovoltaic power plants. The inverter series is based on ABB’s frequency converter platform, which has achieved global sales of more than 100 GW over the last 10 years.

Earlier this month, ABB announced it had won a $25 million order to supply electrical and control systems for a new 75 MW photovoltaic plant. The facility, owned by South African construction company WBHO and Italian renewable energy group Building Energy, is located in the Kalahari Desert in the country’s Northern Cape province.

The Zurich-based ABB is a multinational group and leading operator in robotics and in the power and automation technology areas.