ABB invests in Finnish inverter research center

Switzerland-headquartered power electronic company ABB, which develops inverters for the solar industry, has invested close to €4 million into a solar power plant laboratory in Finland that will specifically test inverter performance and functionality.

The research center in Pitajanmaki will begin operations later this month, primarily performing weather simulations and network disruptions to test the impact of such conditions on the performance of new inverter types.

According to ABB, the laboratory will be able to simulate both Siberian and tropical conditions, thus exposing the inverters to extremes of hot and cold, as well as dry weather and instances of intense humidity.

The range of temperature simulations possible at the center is -40c to 100c.

ABB’s Finnish-developed solar power technology is currently used in MW-size power plants around the world, including in India, Japan, Europe and Latin America, where ABB inverters handle the power at the largest solar power plant in Honduras.

"The inverter plays a role in controlling the production process. It is a highly demanding power electronics device, the development of which requires top expertise," said ABB SVP power conversion Finland, Timo Toissalo. "As Finns, we have every reason to be proud of Finland becoming home to ABB’s nerve center for heavy-duty inverter know-how and development."

Toissalo added that ABB has been a close collaborator with Finnish universities and research institutions for some time – a relationship that has borne fruit in recent years. "More than half of the 4 GW installed base of India is equipped with ABB’s technology," he said, as way of illustration.