Ideal Power, KACO team on 360-kW solar+storage system in Alberta, Canada

Ideal Power Inc. has some cool power conversion technologies (here’s an in-depth look at one). The innovator just received a 360-kW purchase order from KACO new energy to supply its 3-port, grid-resilient 30kW Power Conversion Systems (PCS) for the Living Energy Project at the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre in Alberta, Canada.

kacoDetails on the deal

Ideal Power will supply the power conversion systems and KACO will provide the system integration and installation. The Living Energy Project will utilize solar PV with trackers, energy storage, a wind turbine mounted atop a purpose-built oil derrick, and a natural gas-fueled cogeneration unit to capture geothermal energy from an abandoned oil well. The PCS’ single AC plus dual DC power ports will enable the integration of solar and energy storage utilizing single inverters at the Living Energy Project.

The technology

Ideal Power’s grid-resilient PCS is smaller, lighter, and more cost effective than traditional power conversion systems. For integration of solar with energy storage, the embedded power management algorithms deliver PV smoothing and PV firming for grid-tied applications and enable the deployment of high performance PV-based microgrids. PPSA also increases round-trip efficiency, which results in lower operational expenditures and combined with the reduction in material, manufacturing, shipping and installation costs greatly improves return on investment for a project owner.

Ideal Power logoThe site

The Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre is located just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, and is the site of the initial oil well that kick-started the province’s entrance to the oil industry in 1947. The now abandoned well has been converted into an energy museum and 55-acre park focused on the demonstration of environmental technology. The renewables integration and geothermal conversion are part of a plan to turn Leduc #1 into the world’s first carbon neutral oil museum.

“For any renewable energy project that incorporates battery storage, Ideal Power offers the perfect power conversion technology because it allows us to deliver a solution that dramatically boosts efficiency and reliability, but with dramatically lower system costs for integrating solar power and energy storage,” said Jurgen Krehnke, CEO for the Americas at KACO new energy. “The installation at Leduc #1 is particularly important because it will be a visual, working representation of the past meeting the future, highlighting our declining dependence on fossil fuels coupled with the ingenuity that promises a clean energy future.”

— Solar Builder magazine

JLM Energy orders 4 MW of Ideal Power conversion systems


Ideal Power Inc. just signed a Master Purchase Agreement with JLM Energy to supply its 30-kW and 125-kW power conversion systems for JLM Energy’s portfolio of commercial battery energy storage systems and microgrid projects. The agreement includes an initial purchase order for 4 MW of products to be delivered over the course of the next year.

“We researched all options for power conversion systems from manufacturers both domestic and abroad,” said Bob Montano, Vice President of Operations for JLM Energy. “Ideal Power offers a full range of products that fulfill the requirements of our product line while also providing industry-leading performance, cost, and customer focus.”

Ideal Power’s power conversion systems are based on its patented, industry-leading Power Packet Switching Architecture (PPSA) which offers customers a proven, compact, high-efficiency solution that has gained broad acceptance in the industry.

“JLM is a leading energy storage technology company with an impressive pipeline of commercial and residential projects. Their ability to drive stand-alone energy storage or microgrid projects through every development phase from design to manufacturing, installation, and system monitoring makes them a highly valued partner. We are pleased to supply our award-winning power conversion systems to their customers,” commented Ryan O’Keefe, Senior Vice President of Business Development of Ideal Power.

— Solar Builder magazine

Ideal Power completed prototypes for its innovative B-TRAN semiconductor

Ideal Power logo

Ideal Power Inc. is an innovator of power conversion technologies and just announced that its semiconductor foundry partner has successfully completed prototypes of its Bi-Directional Bi-Polar Junction TRANsistor (B-TRAN). We dove into the unique properties of its B-TRAN semiconductor when it was first introduced. Ideal Power holds over 20 patents on the B-TRAN including patents on the unique double handle wafer process that was used to produce the initial devices.

Due to its anticipated low conduction and switching losses, Ideal Power believes that the B-TRAN has the capability to improve the efficiency of a range of power control and conversion equipment, such as variable frequency drives, solar PV inverters, bi-directional energy storage and microgrid power conversion systems, electric vehicle drivetrains, solid-state DC and AC contactors, and other power conversion products. IHS Technology projects that the power semiconductor market will be over $20 billion by 2019.

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

“Currently, four conventional switches (two IGBTs and two diodes) are required to control power bi-directionally,” says Bill Alexander, CTO of Ideal Power and co-inventor of the B-TRAN. “We believe that the B-TRAN will be able to perform the same function with efficiency losses predicted to be 1/10th that of conventional switches. Additionally, the faster switching performance predicted for the B-TRAN should result in more efficient, smaller and lower cost power converters.”

Earlier this year, Ideal Power announced that first silicon test results by its semiconductor foundry validated key characteristics of its B-TRAN technology. The results confirmed central B-TRAN elements and operational modes and were consistent with third party device simulations that predicted significant performance and efficiency improvements over conventional power switches such as SCRs, IGBTs and MOSFETs.

— Solar Builder magazine

Ideal Power, EnerDel create solar+storage microgrid at U.S. Air Force base

UoD-EnerDel project at JBSA

Power conversion company Ideal Power Inc. and EnerDel, a leading lithium-ion battery manufacturer and energy system integrator, have teamed up to create a mobile hybrid solar plus battery energy storage system for the United States Air Force aimed at reducing the diesel fuel used to power forward operating bases (FOB). Researchers in the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of Dayton Research Institute recently launched the joint year-long program where they are demonstrating technologies capable of powering remote military installations that normally depend on the regular delivery of diesel fuel via convoy, often in hostile locations.

EnerDel selected Ideal Power’s Grid Resilient Multi-port 30-kW Power Conversion System (30B3) for this project. EnerDel’s Mobile Hybrid Power System (MHPS) integrates the 30B3 with an 8-kW tent-mounted solar array to form a portable microgrid. The project supports the U.S. Air Force’s Energy Strategic Plan, which seeks to improve the resiliency of their FOBs and reduce dependence on diesel-powered generators. The project has been successfully operating at the 319th Training Squadron’s Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training (BEAST) facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and is currently powering lights and air conditioning systems for 10 FOB living quarters. The microgrid has been undergoing rigorous testing for the past seven months and could eventually be deployed at Air Force locations across the globe.

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“There is a history of successful commercial applications coming out of the military. This installation is a great example of the type of project that can lead to penetration of the large military and microgrid markets in addition to broad applications in a commercial setting,” said Bill Alexander, CTO at Ideal Power. “Ordinary solar PV installations can only supply power while the utility grid is up and running. This system supplies power from solar PV independent of the utility grid and points the way toward microgrid-ready solar PV which will supply electricity – with or without utility power – and allow facilities to continue powered operations from battery and/or solar PV after loss of utility power.”

— Solar Builder magazine

NEC Energy Solutions launching a distributed energy storage solution with Ideal Power conversion system

NEC Energy Solutions selected Ideal Power to supply its power conversion systems for select configurations of NEC’s newly launched DSS distributed energy storage solution. This new distributed energy storage platform targets commercial & industrial customers and includes lithium-ion batteries, advanced software controls and Ideal Power’s power conversion systems. The DSS is engineered as a modular, scalable system that will be offered by NEC in an easy-to-use package for solar installers, energy services companies and other parties seeking affordable battery systems that don’t require design and engineering expertise to put to use.

Ideal Power logo“We recognized the need for scalable, robust, and flexible energy storage solutions at the grid edge that don’t have to be engineered for each specific use case,” said Roger Lin, Senior Director of Product Marketing at NEC Energy Solutions. “Ideal Power’s 30-kW systems were a great fit for the DSS energy storage platform because they provide the performance and features we required at a cost that keeps our overall system extremely competitive.”

RELATED: The tech behind Ideal Power’s Multi-Port Conversion System 

“NEC is a pioneer in the energy storage business with over 120 MW of its utility-scale GSS Grid Storage Solution deployed in commercial revenue service since 2009. With their new DSS distributed storage solution, NEC created a flexible, turnkey energy storage system for businesses in need of a bankable, proven solution from a leading global energy company,” said Dan Brdar, CEO of Ideal Power. “The compact size, features, and lifecycle cost-effectiveness of our power conversion technology plays a key role in enabling NEC to offer a modular, scalable system at a price point that will be highly competitive in the marketplace.”

Ideal Power’s power conversion systems are based on its patented Power Packet Switching Architecture, a revolutionary approach to power conversion that uses 100% indirect power flow to deliver a bi-directional, fully isolated conversion while eliminating a majority of the bulky passive components, such as the separate isolation transformer and bulk capacitors, that are used in traditional power conversion systems. Ideal Power’s technology is an excellent fit for NEC’s pre-configured, outdoor-rated DSS systems that give end users application and size flexibility.

— Solar Builder magazine