Ideal Power Converter Unveils New Solar Inverter Prototype and Pilot Test That Reduces Size & Weight by More Than 90%

March 01, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

Ideal Power Converters (IPC) unveiled its prototype and successful pilot test of its 30kW commercial-scale PV inverter using its patented current-modulation electronic power converter technology. IPC states that its inverter delivers industry leading performance in a design that is an order of magnitude smaller and lighter than conventional best-in-class inverters that deliver the same power (30kW), output voltage (3-phase 480Vac), and support for standard grounded PV arrays.

IPC’s current-modulation electronic power converter topology uses a completely new patented control methodology, while using commodity components and materials. As a result the cost of materials, manufacturing, shipping and installation is dramatically reduced.

"Ideal Power Converters has successful installed and operated our 30kW prototype inverter system since last November on an existing PV array at the Austin Convention Center," commented Bill Alexander, CEO of IPC. "The PV industry recognizes that PV inverter cost, performance, reliability and grid support are industry bottlenecks in meeting grid-parity, and IPC’s products improve all of these metrics."

IPC’s initial product will be a 30kW PV inverter for the US market that weighs less than 100lbs. The lightweight design will reduce indirect costs of inverter shipping and installation by more than 80%, and will simplify installation of rooftop PV installations with space and structural support constraints. IPC is continuing development of its initial 30kW PV inverter product. IPC will manufacture its products in high volume in the US for distribution to both domestic and international markets, while generating much needed manufacturing jobs and exports in the clean energy sector.

The Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) will be further improved through the inverter’s higher efficiency and improved reliability. Intertek, a leading independent testing laboratory for PV inverters in the US, has tested the IPC prototype inverter and measured it to have better efficiency than of competing products. The efficiency of the IPC inverter will be further improved for production. The IPC converter topology has several significant design improvements for reliability including eliminating all electrolytic capacitors, the components mostly likely to fatigue and fail in PV inverter systems.

IPC has released a whitepaper that discusses the results from its PV inverter pilot test and the comparative advantages of its power converter technology.