Author: Trina Solar
The solar industry has been constantly going through changes since its inception. Only a decade ago, technological constraints in terms of module rated power and inverter performance were a limiting factor, but as technology improved, today’s modules are more efficient, more powerful, more reliable, and bigger than ever before.
Coupled with these new technological advancements, the field of solar asset management has improved dramatically. New measuring devices and techniques allow operators to understand their plant at a component level that was once impossible. With these rapidly advancing technologies, new problems are being identified and new fields of research keep evolving. In a market in which the asset manager is starting to maximize the solar plant’s performance through efficient operations, ensuring all the plant’s components are compatible is essential in order to guarantee maximum power output.
New modules coming in at 600W+ bring a new promise of reduced LCOE, thanks to their unique low voltage design allowing longer DC strings. With bigger and more powerful panels, it is essential that all other components synergize with these panels to maximize performance.
From an owner’s standpoint, balancing CAPEX and OPEX has always been part of the equation, but as the solar industry matures, it is apparent that OPEX increases are mostly due to design flaws, and not taking into account all relevant factors during the planning phase. With ultra-high power PV modules becoming the new norm, it is imperative that owners understand their CAPEX and OPEX implications when purchasing these new generation components.
When exploring component synergy, the two main components that need to be taken into account are inverters and trackers. The inverter is the heart of the power plant, the new generation of inverters not only converts DC into AC in a safer and more efficient way but can also perform ancillary services to help regulate the grid or the power plant. On the tracker side, the main factor is based on the structural design. Understanding the weight and length of modules and matching them to trackers is just part of the solution, taking into account new cable lengths, as well as new stowing techniques that are module-specific, will be required to fully guarantee component synergy.
Understanding which components have the best fit with each other is no easy task. With countless options and combinations, asset owners now have more alternatives to choose from, making it even more important to fully understand if they are unknowingly sacrificing performance at the cost of convenience or price.
Due to the aforementioned obstacles, The 600W+ Open Innovation Ecological Alliance was created. With over 80 companies from all sectors of the industrial value chain already participating, including top inverter and tracker brands. The alliance members work together, sharing knowledge and designing compatible products, with the aim to create a new technology platform in which ultra-high power modules synergize with all other components in the solar plant to promote the reduction of the cost of electricity, helping achieve the renewable energy goals and accelerate the whole industry´s pace to embrace the era of grid parity.
To read in detail what Trina Solar and other partners are doing to revolutionize the solar industry you can read the full press release by clicking here.