SMA’s new inverter targets Asia’s ‘megawatt block’ PV projects

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With the Asian PV market as its targeted focus, Germany’s SMA Solar has launched a new central inverter suitable for placing on large-scale PV installations that are planned in megawatt-sized blocks.

The Sunny Central 1000CP XT inverter is designed to ensure an output of 2MW, when paired with an SMA Medium Voltage Power Station solution. The latter is a containerised ‘plug-and-play’ PV plant, which SMA considers particularly suitable for the Asian market, which often requires developers to bid for projects in “one megawatt blocks” and to execute construction and connection to strict timelines.

SMA claims its latest inverter has the highest power density of its CP XT central inverter range to date at a maximum nominal temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. It has an output of 1.1MW at 25 degrees Celsius. According to SMA it also has temperature control features common to its other central inverters and could be installed in temperatures that range from -40 degrees C up to 62 degrees C.

John Susa, SMA’s executive vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, said the Sunny Central 1000CP XT allows for easy and flexible plant design and called it a “truly great tool for any EPC or developer in tackling cost-competitiveness and challenging timeline tenders in the Asian market”.

The launch comes as SMA announced a new head of its supervisory board, to replace the late Günther Cramer, one of the company’s co-founders, who passed away in January. Dr. Erik Ehrentraut, who previously served as chairman of SMA’s supervisory board for a stint between 2004 and 2011, takes up the position once again. In common with many leading players in the European inverter market, the company has faced a number of recent difficulties in an increasingly competitive space, which has led to the announced lay-off of 1,000 jobs.

Cormac Gilligan, research analyst at IHS, told PV Tech at the beginning of the year that despite SMA’s challenged position as one of the leading inverter makers, the company’s products are still considered premium quality products by much of the market. The company’s targeting of the Asian market appears to hold up to Gilligan’s view of SMA’s strategy to move away from the dwindling European markets that were once a natural and key focus.

“Up until a few years ago they were so dominant in the industry that they’d over 40% market share and albeit that their market share has started to be eroded, they have and are perceived as one of the premium suppliers in the market place,” Gilligan said.

“They stand for some of the highest quality products and really stand for high quality German engineering and this has really put them in a good position and then also they have over the last few years, as they’ve noted that their home market has declined they’ve really been positive and some of the first movers into new markets.”

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