The University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) new 200kW solar system is sporting seven of Ideal Power Converters (IPC) 30kW PV inverters. Each inverter weighs only 94 pounds, compared to traditional inverters, which can weigh nearly 1,200 pounds. IPC’s inverter delivers 480V AC 3-phase power and supports grounded solar arrays without an internal or external transformer.
“As the costs of solar panels have declined sharply in the past few years, installation costs are becoming the most expensive part of solar PV systems,” said Dr. Michael Webber, deputy director of The Center for International Energy and Environment Policy, at UT. “Simplifying the logistics of installation is required to reach cost parity with fossil fuel generation. This new solar system demonstrates how IPC’s light-weight PV inverter significantly reduces installation costs.”
Since IPC’s 30kW inverter weighs less than most PV inverter’s, the company notes that a 90% weight reduction, and over a 90% reduction in magnetic components is achieved, which leads to a reduction in installation and shipping costs.
“Due to the light weight and small size of IPC’s inverters, they were able to be installed on the second story balcony of the UT Maintenance building, which would not have been possible with conventional inverters,” said Paul Bundschuh, VP of business development for Ideal Power Converters. “This saved UT a significant amount of money on installation costs, as they didn’t have to mount several thousand pounds of conventional inverters outside on a concrete pad. Additionally, the IPC inverter improves safety as the high power electronics can be better protected inside the building.”