Schneider Electric offers SmartGen 2.2 MW inverters using IoT to 2 mega solar projects in Japan


Schneider Electric will provide the Conext SmartGen inverters and their maintenance to the Minami Mega Solar Power Plant, a 42 MW solar power generation plant which is being constructed on the site of a golf course in Gujo, Gifu, where operations are expected to start in July 2019 and the Bizen Mega Solar Power Plant, a 70 MW solar power generation plant which is being constructed on the site of a golf course in Wake-gun, Okayama, where operations are expected to start in the spring of 2020.

Conext SmartGen is a 2.2 MW 1500 VDC inverter, which reduces the loss in power transmission by using higher capacity, while providing a higher efficiency of power generation. The Conext SmartGen will be delivered, factory-wired and containing two PCSs in its enclosure. Delivered by KIT together with in-house medium voltage transformers and ring main unit, Schneider’s solutions allow to shorten the installation period on site and reduces construction costs.

In addition, this inverter improves the efficiency of maintenance with predictive maintenance using the Internet of Things (IoT), and reduces operational expenses throughout the 30-year service life. The 20-year maintenance contract, announced today, provides market-leading quality service, including all spares parts and labour for the duration of the contract.

Schneider Electric entered the photovoltaic business in Japan in July 2012 and has already contracted power conversion solutions for more than 1 GW (DC) of solar projects nationwide, and has secured additional 600 MW (DC) of new contracts with the SmartGen solution.

In recent years, the mega solar market in Japan has reached a turning point due to a decline in FIT price and a rise in development costs. Investors, more than ever, are focusing on engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) costs, and the return on investment (ROI). Schneider Electric is offering operational and maintenance (O&M) services which provide investors with good ROI by providing cost competitive facilities and solutions which solve capital expenditure (CAPEX) issues and by optimizing the operating hours of photovoltaic systems.

Characteristics of Conext SmartGen

  • Leveraging the IoT

The Conext SmartGen records and stores its own operation and service history and has self-diagnostic capabilities. It can send proactive service warnings (predictive maintenance) and fault reports through the cloud. The streamlining of maintenance leads to a reduction in operating expenses.

  • 30-year service life thanks to a weatherproof housing and robust components

The Conext SmartGen inverter is housed in a water- and dust-sealed, corrosion-proof enclosure, and is designed to deliver up to 2.2 MVA of power for 30 years.

  • Achieving greater ROI in a short span of time due to low capital investment and high generation efficiency

The Conext SmartGen 1500 VDC system improves efficiency, reduces construction costs with fewer inverter stations, and simplifies maintenance. This system is delivered, containing two 2.2 MW PCSs (total 4.4 MW), named “KIT,” in its enclosure and already factory-wired between special high pressure equipment, transformers, and Ring Main Units. The work which is needed on site is simply to connect the wire harnesses, which shortens the installation period considerably. Furthermore, this system can be transported using a 10-ton truck, so it is less affected by road conditions in Japan.