This paper examines where we are on the way to a smarter, more connected and cleaner future and how string inverters are able to provide robust grid management services that are critical to moving us closer to that goal.
Solar and wind power are no longer alternative sources of energy. By 2020, solar will dominate new capacity additions globally, and it will bring in $3.7 trillion in investment in the period 2020-2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The global total for installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2017 will be just over 81 gigawatts and will grow to about 112 gigawatts by 2022, according to GTM Research. Projects larger than 5 megawatts will continue to make up about 60 percent of the global market. As solar PV becomes cost-competitive across most of the globe, more is being asked of these power plants as they are integrated onto electric grids that were mostly designed for one-way power flows and centralized sources of generation. The rise of intermittent solar offers challenges and opportunities for how the electric grid is managed, especially when multi-phase string inverters are considered.
Thanks to falling prices and project developers’ growing awareness of the operations and maintenance (O&M) and installation benefits, an increasing proportion of large solar PV projects built around the world will include multi-phase string inverters. String inverters are already dominant in many global markets including China, the world’s largest solar market, and the use of string inverters in large-scale projects in the U.S. is expected to grow by more than fourfold in the next 5 years.
Besides O&M and installation benefits, string inverters are also being embraced because they provide vital grid management benefits. From voltage and frequency ride-through to necessary support for weak grids, string inverters can make it easier for countries like India, the U.S. and China to seamlessly incorporate large amounts of solar in ways that bolster grid stability. As the world’s electric system continues its transition from one dominated by fossil fuels and central station generation to a cleaner and more distributed model, the role of string inverters will only continue to grow – and the world’s largest inverter manufacturer, Huawei, is leading the way.
Huawei’s combination of resilient string inverters with data loggers, advanced communication technology and cloud-based data analytics represents an early step toward what the “The rise of intermittent solar offers challenges and opportunities for how the electric grid is managed, especially when multi-phase string inverters are considered.” company has termed “the road to the internet of energy” in China. Now, Huawei’s advanced string inverters are also being used across the globe.