New York, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] GE this week unveiled its new solar photovoltaic inverter technology that uses some of the same concepts as its wind turbines. Building on its platform of power electronics, monitoring and controls for the wind industry, GE has developed a 600-kilowatt (kW) solar inverter. This follows the use that it would close its solar module production facility in Delaware earlier this year, marking a shift in its solar business.
GE said that the new solar inverter is suited for use in the multi-megawatt solar projects that are becoming an increasing percentage of new installations.
“We believe that there will be significant growth in large-scale projects as the United States and the world strive to meet renewable energy targets,” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewables for GE Power & Water. “The challenge will be integrating these larger solar projects—which are also powered by a variable fuel source—in a reliable way.”
While some software changes were needed to modify GE’s wind converter technology for solar applications, the hardware has remained nearly the same, enabling GE to leverage its expertise in the manufacture of its wind converters.
The company already makes 4,000 wind converters annually and has increased production at the Salem facility to include solar. In addition to experience, GE offers the global resources necessary to effectively maintain high levels of performance in large-scale installations, including a global services organization, 24/7 remote monitoring and diagnostics centers and parts support.
According to New Energy Finance, demand for solar energy has grown about 30% per year for the past 15 years, while hydrocarbon energy demand typically grows less than 2% a year. As wind and solar power plants increase in size and number to meet these demands, they are beginning to have a greater impact on the grid, displacing more traditional sources of power generation.