PV Powered, Inc. of Bend, an industry innovation leader in solar inverter reliability, performance, installability and serviceability, announced PowerVault, a turn-key and fully customizable DC-to-medium voltage platform that provides significant cost savings in multi-megawatt solar installations.
PowerVault is a fully-engineered and factory assembled inverter power plant with DC inputs on one side and medium voltage outputs on the other. The inverters, switchboard and monitoring system are housed in an enclosure that is listed to UL QRNZ for walk-in electrical equipment. The medium voltage transformer with a cost-saving integrated loop feed switch is mounted on the outdoor portion of the skid. The conduit-ready pier-mount configuration saves installation time and eliminates tens of thousands of dollars in engineering design, site preparation and installation costs for commercial and utility customers.
The PowerVault platform offers a variety of configurations designed around the 97 percent efficient PVP260kW inverter. With the benefit of a 20-year operating life and the highest inverter reliability in the industry, this MW-scale power plant offers the reliability and redundancy needed to ensure uptime in large solar power systems.
As with PV Powered’s standalone 260kW commercial inverters, the PowerVault has a standard 295VDC minimum MPPT and an optional full-power 265VDC minimum MPPT- the lowest MPPT voltage of any commercial inverter in the industry. This makes the PowerVault ideal for use in the North American market and for getting the most power out of the new lower-cost thin-film solar arrays.
“The PowerVault provides a new level of efficiency and reliability for utility-scale solar power applications,” said Gregg Patterson, PV Powered CEO. “But what is really attractive to large solar installations are the financial benefits they can get by using a factory integrated, tested and configurable solution that eliminates significant field labor costs.”
With first customer shipments being made this quarter, the PowerVault platform is backed by an industry-leading 10-year nationwide warranty and an unprecedented optional 20-year warranty. In addition, PV Powered offers experienced design assistance for multi-MW systems.
In other news PV Powered, Inc. has formed a collaborative effort with eIQ Energy, Tigo Energy and Phobos Energy to evaluate and advance DC-to-DC technology with an optimized inverter and system solution.
As the solar industry shifts from first cost to lifetime return-on-investment metrics, customers are increasingly aware of the financial value of performance over the operating life of a system. System design limitations, panel mismatch and degradation, and environmental issues such as shading and soiling can reduce maximum energy production and need to be addressed to accelerate solar adoption.
DC-to-DC power optimization, which inserts smart electronics between the solar array and the inverter, is an emerging technology that has the potential to address these problems. “The benefits of DC-to-DC power optimization will be maximized when used with an optimized inverter,” says Steve Hummel, VP of engineering for PV Powered. “We see an opportunity to increase energy production for our customers by collaborating with DC-to-DC technology companies to provide a complete system solution.”
PV Powered will leverage its deep expertise in power electronics, reliability engineering and grid interaction to identify and develop inverters that work seamlessly with DC-to-DC technology. PV Powered will optimize its inverter and data monitoring technology to work with a variety of distributed power management devices. “Customers want the ability to choose the technology that works best in their application,” says Patterson. “PV Powered is excited to be working with DC-to-DC technology innovators like eIQ Energy, Phobos Energy, and Tigo Energy, to support the adoption of this advanced technology and improve the economics of solar energy production.”
“We applaud PV Powered for its collaborative approach to improving the lifetime financial value of solar power installations by integrating distributed technologies,” said Michael Lamb, VP of Business Development for eIQ Energy. “This type of work is an essential step toward making solar energy more cost effective, and eIQ Energy is proud that our Parallel Solar technology will be included. Like PV Powered, eIQ Energy is committed to solving customer problems, and we’re increasingly seeing parallel array wiring as a long-term foundation for cost-effective large-scale installations.”
“Collaboration between companies providing inverters and DC optimizers will be important in driving mass market adoption,” said Pete Del Vecchio, CEO of Phobos Energy. “We’re excited about working with PV Powered to create a high-reliability, high-efficiency, system-level solution that provides benefits for all installations and is appropriate for next-generation solar architectures, including module-integrated electronics and BIPV.”
“Industry collaborations such as this will help drive the adoption of module-level system optimization technology,” said Sjuli Beekhuis, director of Worldwide Channels at Tigo Energy. “Our collaboration means that customers can be sure that our products work well together in today’s new or retro-fit installations. As we move forward, we intend to develop new levels of optimization and integration for future large-scale projects.”