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Grid integration to boost smart PV inverter market

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart PV inverter? grid integration? energy storage?

According to IMS Research, factors such as reactive power, smart grid interaction and energy storage are driving inverters to become essential components of grid infrastructure. The report titled "The World Market for PV Inverters" also stated that this trend will dramatically change the PV inverter market in the next five years, allowing them to account for 80 percent of the EMEA market in 2015.

"Utilities, especially in Europe, are increasingly pushing for inverters to assist in grid stabilization and conform to stricter technical requirements," stated Tom Haddon, a PV research analyst at IMS Research. "Despite this, most inverter shipments will still not be 'fully smart' and will only have reactive power capabilities, rather than full smart grid interaction or energy storage."

The research found that Germany is leading the integration of PV into the grid with the newly implemented Low and Medium Voltage Directives, and other European countries are likely to follow suit. Due to this, 'standard' inverters are forecast to fall 42 percent of global shipments by 2015 as the directives are fully enforced. "Reactive power is an essential feature for inverters to carry if PV is to be a substantial part of the energy mix to provide local grid control which is why the German authorities have acted first to implement such codes," Haddon added.

Another new trend identified in the report is inverters incorporating energy storage. Consequently, IMS Research has forecasted that close to 5 percent of all PV inverters shipped in 2015 will be equipped with storage such as batteries to help power load continuously throughout the day. In order for this to happen, the products will have to quickly reduce cost and improve efficiency and reliability before gaining widespread acceptance. "Demand for PV inverters with energy storage will most likely be driven by incentives favoring 'self-consumption'. However, current solutions relying on lithium-ion batteries are too expensive and need to reduce cost considerably before they will be deployed more widely," noted Haddon.

- Paul Buckley
??EE Times

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