A Canadian company has developed a bi-directional converter that it says has potential for the solar power market.CALGARY, Alberta, CA, 2001-05-29 [SolarAccess.com] Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. says the DC/DC power converter is a key component of its system for distributed generation power solutions, including fuel cells micro-turbines and solar power systems. It says it has orders for evaluation units of the energy management system from leading solar panel manufacturers, and delivery of the first units is planned for early June. “We are very excited about this product, which we believe offers the optimal combination of easy and very rapid customization of its operating characteristics with maximum standardization of hardware components,” says Matt Donnelly. The converter is universally adaptable to “virtually any application” requiring the conversion of DC power, including batteries, fuel cells and solar panels. The converter has the potential to play “a critical role” in rationalizing the back up power infrastructure, and could allow an electrical utility to use its existing DC infrastructure to power new communications needs at a fraction of the cost of installing higher voltage power equipment. Annual sales of back up power systems are estimated to be US$20 billion globally and $9 billion in North America, with as much as $1 billion for DC power conversion devices. “Alternative energy technologies are also expected to become an important element in this market,” says Donnelly. “Increasingly, solar power is being used as a primary energy source for back up power systems in the telecommunications markets.” The early market for small stationary fuel cell systems is expected to be as replacements for batteries and diesels, and the ability to reconfigure the DC converter through software changes will allow utilities to inexpensively integrate these systems as they become available. Sustainable Energy Technologies develops and markets energy management and power conditioning products for micro-generation applications such as fuel cells and solar energy.