ABB launches a few new eBOS components for 1,500 volt PV systems

ABB inverters

The shift to higher voltages is helping reduce the cost of utility-scale photovoltaic systems. Higher-voltage systems make installations more energy efficient, require fewer components and less wiring, and are less labor intensive to build. Most new solar plants have voltages of 1500V on the DC side and many are moving towards 800V on the AC side.

ABB is adding a new molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) for higher-voltage solar power plants to its Tmax PV range and launching the solar industry’s first fully optimized two-pole DC (OTDC) switch-disconnector for 1500-volt utility-scale plants covering 315-630A IEC and 250-600A UL current range.


The new design offers both a size reduction and an increase in efficiency and performance to help manufacturers of PV combiner boxes, inverters, and energy storage systems adapt to the industry’s rapid adoption of 1500V DC solutions.

The two-pole 1500V DC concept helps manufacturers improve system efficiency, reducing switch losses by up to 35 percent. Measuring just 150mm wide and 122mm high across the current range, the OTDC range of 1500V DC switches is also up to 30 percent smaller than conventional solutions. The compact size of the new OTDC range makes it possible for manufacturers to reduce the size of combiner boxes and inverters.

ABB’s unique design makes it possible to operate up to two 1500V DC strings with just one switch. In addition to the standard connections, the OTDC’s modular design also makes it possible for ABB to fulfil the non-standard requests that come from the quickly changing solar market.


Molded case breaker

The breaker, designed to protect combiners, switchgear and inverters up to 1500V DC, is the latest addition to ABB’s complete range of protection solutions for utility-scale solar plants.

For 1500V DC installations with rated current up to 1200A UL and 1600A IEC, ABB’s product range now includes MCCBs and switch-disconnectors. The SACE Tmax PV range makes installation faster and reduces wiring costs for more advanced solar plants, helping utilities and engineers save time. The SACE Tmax PV offers design engineers, panel builders and inverter manufacturers a single–brand solution for photovoltaic systems installed anywhere in the world. All integrate readily with the electrical and mechanical accessories developed for the SACE Tmax T MCCB range.

For systems using string inverters, the SACE Tmax PV range now offers circuit breakers for up to 800V AC, the industry’s first to be type approved to UL 489 specifications and compliant with IEC 60947-2 Standard. ABB’s compact circuit breakers can break short circuit currents up to 32kA.

“We believe 800V AC will be a significant trend in large-scale solar plants,” said Marco Carminati, Global Product Specialist for ABB’s low-voltage breakers. “The response from partners indicates that it will be central to many developments in this field. We are now planning further innovations to support the shift to 800V so that solar plants have everything they need to optimize their power production.”


— Solar Builder magazine

Meet Solectria SLX, the newest line of 1,000-volt, 1,500-volt inverters from Yaskawa-Solectria

Yaskawa Solectria Solar is introducing a new line of American-made inverters for commercial and utility-scale applications: Solectria SLX.

Yaskawa Solectria

The SLX 1000 inverters are offered in 60 and 65 kilowatt (kW) power levels and the SLX 1500 inverters are offered in 125 and 166 kilowatt (kW) power levels. They offer wireless HMI and connectivity, reducing the cost of installation and commissioning. Various options for the integrated combiner include fused or unfused inputs as well as PV connectors.

“Since Solectria Renewables was acquired by Yaskawa America in 2014, we have incorporated Yaskawa’s quality methodologies into our PV inverter design and production processes,” said Phil Vyhanek, President of Yaskawa Solectria Solar. “The SLX 1000 and SLX 1500 have endured testing to ensure that each individual component as well as the finished product will last beyond 20 years. PV project developers, owners, and EPCs will appreciate the new level of inverter reliability and durability, which drastically lowers the cost of installation and O&M, while increasing power production.”


— Solar Builder magazine

Alencon, AES deal aims to retrofit, improve utility-scale PV performance


As the solar industry marches forward, maintaining (and possibly improving) the performance of existing systems will be hugely important. Alencon Systems LLC and Austrian-based Alternative Energy Solutions GmbH (AES) have entered into a strategic cooperation for improving the performance of utility-scale PV power plants. The cooperation agreement brings together two industry leaders focused on the enhanced performance of already installed PV assets.

Alencon’s String Power Optimizers and Transmitters (SPOTs) are the most powerful DC-DC optimizers for utility scale PV applications found on the market today and are ideal tools for use in retrofit applications to help generate more power from an existing PV plant. AES’s performance improvement approach for PV power plants uses advanced data analysis, namely the AES Performance Improvement Technology (AES PIT). AES PIT detects the hidden value of an installed PV plant. Under terms of this cooperation, AES will promote Alencon’s hardware alongside its industry plant optimization services to assure PV plants around the world are operating at peek efficiency.

RELATED: How optimizers bridge the gap to 1,500-volt PV systems 


AES manages several hundred megawatts of plants on behalf of its clients providing asset management, consulting services for supervision and analysis of technical performance, claim management as well as supply chain services, financial services, and reporting.

Alencon’s solutions for ALternative ENergy CONversion provide high modularity and scalability for systems as small as a few hundred kilowatts to several-hundred megawatts. By helping to dramatically reduce balance of system costs, and increase power production through new inverter and energy harvesting technology, Alencon helps advance the state of the art and increase the financial viability of solar power.

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on Sungrow’s two 1,500-volt inverters (string and central)

Sungrow 1500 volt inverter

Sungrow showcased two new 1500 VDC inverters at Solar Power International last week.

The Sungrow’s SG125HV puts 125kW of capacity in a suitcase-sized cabinet weighing just 130 pounds. At a higher rated voltage, the SG125HV will significantly reduce installation and balance of system costs, and is an example of why 1,500 VDC systems are the next step for the entire industry. Projected to be released for global customers in early 2017, the 125HV will be an industry-shifting product that will influence utility scale PV system designs in coming years.

The SG2500HV-MV is a central inverter system, also rated at 1,500 VDC. The inverter features a 20-foot containerized design, intended for easy transport and installation. Within the shippable container are the integrated auxiliary power systems and power boards, along with the SCADA, monitoring and control panel. Unlike other containerized systems that are considered e-house designs, the Sungrow container is actually an outdoor cabinet for all internally mounted equipment; this means that all serviceable components are accessible without going inside the container cabinet. The sides of the container at the MV transformer end are also removable at the time of installation, making it possible for the outdoor rated transformer to be open to air cooling and full access. The entire system is also UL listed, thus making permitting hassle-free.

A fully-integrated pre-tested system that is as close to “plug-and-play” as is possible for a central inverter system and the SG2500HV-MV is designed to help reduce installation costs and provide easy O&M.

RELATED: Live at SPI: Check out these five inverters on the show floor 

— Solar Builder magazine

Yaskawa – Solectria adds 1,500-volt option to DISCOM string combiner line

yaskawa solectria 1500 volt string

At Solar Power International this year, Yaskawa – Solectria Solar announced the addition of the DISCOM 1500, a 1,500-VDC string combiner, to its DISCOM string combiner line. The combiners have gone through Highly Accelerated Lifetime Testing (HALT) guaranteeing all components are carefully vetted for highest reliability. They offer utility-scale and large commercial PV designers the design flexibility needed in combiners. These string combiners are being deployed in utility-scale projects in the U.S. from 50-200 MW.

The DISCOM 1500’s premium features satisfy the growing needs of PV system designers and reduce overall system cost and increase ROI [return on investment]. These premium features include:

Gloss White Material Finish: A high gloss white polyester powder coat painted steel finish is proven to keep the electronics cooler in higher temperatures and reduces extreme thermal cycling, adding to the product life.

Heavy Gauge Bus Bars with High Quality Plating:  This reduces operating temperature, maximizing product life and eliminating failures. The plating is bright tin which prevents corrosion between components maximizing product life.

RELATED: How to select the right combiner box for your next solar project 

Multi-Contact MC4 or Amphenol H4 Connectorized Wire Whips: Whips are the most robust option, reducing installation time and costs.

Compression Lug Studs: These are designed to fit various output lug sizes for copper or aluminum conductors.
316 Stainless Steel: Bellville spring washers and nuts on stainless steel output studs eliminate corrosion possibility.

“Yaskawa – Solectria Solar is committed to satisfying customer’s needs and manufacturing the highest quality, most reliable products in the PV industry. Designing products to the highest quality and reliability are proven to be key for PV plant success reducing overall total cost and providing the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The new DISCOM 1500 string combiner will help PV system owners and designers maximize ROI, especially in the Utility-Scale market,” said James Worden, CEO of Yaskawa – Solectria Solar.

— Solar Builder magazine