Fronius USA recently contributed to a panel discussion on solar inverter reliability at the Greentech Media Solar Summit in Phoenix, Ariz. Particularly of interest, the organization began the discussion with the statement that all solar inverters will eventually fail. Thomas Enzendorfer, Director of Solar Energy, further explained that this is the case with all power electronics so for solar to be a sustainable industry, industry leaders must think beyond the warranty.
“Power electronics, especially those exposed to the elements, are likely to have issues throughout their lifetime,” said Enzendorfer. “It is important as an industry we exhibit honesty to our customers about reliability and offer the best solution we can to address these issues.”
Fronius USA recently conducted a study of the lifetime costs of several types of photovoltaic (PV) system inverters and found Fronius’ SnapINverters are by far the most cost-effective for the end customer. The Fronius SnapINverters feature a hinge mounting system that allows for convenient field serviceability for technology updates and maintenance. Typical string inverters that are not field serviceable and microinverters were found, over a lifetime, to cost 19 and 26% more than initial installation costs of the entire system, respectively.
Fronius USA wants to encourage customers to take charge of the sustainability of their own PV system. The company configured, from the data found in the study, an online calculator. The calculator assists installers, consumers, and engineers with estimating the overall lifetime costs (on top of installation costs) associated with three different types of inverters. This user-friendly tool also displays the data for comparison between the inverter types, additional input options for installers, and custom system size input capability. Interested users can also download the white paper via the calculator, which offers a comprehensive overview of the study conducted. The online tool can be found at www.fronius-usa.com under Sustainability for the PV Industry.
— Solar Builder magazine