First Solar and GE develop next-generation PV power plant

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First Solar and GE’s Power Conversion business are utilizing their recently established technology and commercial partnership to develop a more cost effective and productive utility-scale PV power plant design that combines First Solar’s thin-film CdTe modules with GE’s new ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system, which is claimed to be the largest inverter in the industry capable of accommodating 1,500 volt DC solar arrays. 

Problem

LCOE drivers are highly dependent on the scale of PV power plants and the ability to minimize balance of system (BOS) costs. By significantly increasing the array size and reducing the number of inverters required by a solar power plant the lowest LCOE can be achieved.

Solution

First Solar has integrated new technology into its modules and optimized them for 1500VDC applications. Combined with GE’s 4MW ProSolar 1500V inverter/transformer stations, this development enables power plant engineering design that significantly increases the size of the solar array served by each inverter and reduces the number of inverter/transformer stations required for each plant to convert the power from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and feed electricity to a commercial electrical grid. The resulting plant design maintains high power delivery while lowering installation and maintenance costs.

Applications

Utility-scale PV power plants.

Platform

First Solar modules will increase optimization, benefiting from advances gained in part from the acquisition last fall of GE thin-film PV technology. The inverters’ design enables PV plant developers to apply engineering design that significantly increases efficiency of energy production.

Availability

March 2014 onwards. 

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