In this era, it has been unanimously understood that solar energy is the future. In the last two decades, the installation cost of solar energy has decreased to the extent of 90%. However, to make it much more ubiquitous, it is necessary to lower the installation cost further. Under such circumstances, recently, KACO new energy, a subsidiary of Siemens AG, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of inverters for grid-feed solar power, has expanded its product range of high-power solar PV inverters with silicon carbide technology.
The company has started selling the new solar PV inverters with outputs of 155 and 165 kilowatts. In terms of technology, the company again relies on silicon carbide power transistors. The advantages of this thermally optimised semiconductor material result in cost savings for the construction and operation of utility-scale solar power plants.
With two new inverters, KACO new energy is targeting the builders and operators of utility-scale solar parks. The blueplanet 155 TL3 and 165 TL3 are further developments, which offer 15% more power than their otherwise identical predecessor models, thus, customers benefit from fewer inverters for the same total output of a solar power plant. Also, fewer inverters in their compact design and a weight of less than 80 kilograms simplify transport and installation.
Exceptional power density
The new ‘High Power’ variants are real powerhouses. This is due to the high thermal stability of the silicon carbide power transistors. This gives the inverters an exceptional power density of two kilowatts per kilogram and efficiencies of up to 99.1%. These products are optimised for installation in the cooler and more moderate climate zones. However, if someone likes to use the silicon carbide inverters in hotter regions, the original ‘High Temperature’ devices must be chosen. These still deliver their full performance at ambient temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius.
For use in every demanding installation location, the inverter housing withstands dust, water jets and salt corrosion near the sea. While the inverters thus brave adverse conditions on site, commissioning and updates can be carried out remotely via secure Ethernet communication. The surge protection for the DC side comes ex works; for the AC side and for the communication interfaces it can be easily retrofitted thanks to the fuse holders already in place.
Complementing inverter strengths
For flexibility in system design, the PV pioneer from Neckarsulm recommends the use of DC combiners. KACO new energy has just renewed its range of such string collectors in cooperation with the cabling and wiring specialists at HIS Renewables GmbH. In ground-mounted solar power plants, the inverters are installed at a central location, while the DC combiners are spread across the PV module array. This leads to short cable runs between the inverters and the transformer – and that means that there is no loss of power on the AC side.
The high efficiency of the inverters can be deployed to its fullest. Those who follow the trend towards bifacial solar modules will find DC combiners particularly useful: They leave free choice to counter the higher currents with the appropriate fuses of 25 amperes and more.