SMA to capitalize on GW scale PV hybrid opportunities

The around 5 MW test center in Niestetal has been set up to test different PV diesel hybrid energy systems. By simulating local conditions, including load flows and PV array power, performance can be optimized before the systems are installed in the field. Issues like voltage stability and the behavior of components are analyzed and improved.

"We identify potential errors such as control engineering instabilities at an early stage and can implement suitable measures, which means that we can embark on the commissioning stage with a good feeling," explained Volker Wachenfeld, executive VP of SMA’s Off-Grid and Storage business unit.

A spokeswoman for the company declined to unveil how much SMA had invested in the center. She did say, however, that the field of PV diesel hybrid energy applications, while at a relatively nascent stage, is growing in importance, with SMA estimating annual global market growth in the single digit GW range.

"The medium-term prospects are markedly good and continue to improve due to the high level of dependence on fuel imports in the target regions. We therefore expect to see an increase in market demand for complete solutions for PV-diesel hybrid systems in the years to come," they added. The sunbelt countries, in particular, are of interest, with SMA already having installed hybrid energy projects in South Africa, South America and India.

Before installation, the world’s largest PV diesel hybrid power plant with battery storage system, located in Cobija, Bolivia, was tested at SMA’s center. In addition to Yingli modules, SMA supplied the necessary PV inverters and its Fuel Save Controller to the 5 MW solar PV array.