Ideal Power Converters Reaches Compliance and Certification Milestone with CEC Listing

May 20, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

Ideal Power Converters (IPC) announced that its light-weight 30kW photovoltaic (PV) inverter, IPV-30kW-480, conforms to the UL standard 1741 and is included on the California Energy Commission (CEC) list of approved PV inverter products. Inclusion on the CEC list allows the IPC product to be installed in California and across the United States.

IPC completed industry certifications and CEC efficiency testing with Intertek, a leading independent PV inverter test laboratory, and has been granted rights to use the ETL certification mark. The IPV-30kW-480 achieved a CEC-weighted efficiency of 96.5 percent. This efficiency rating is superior to any other CEC listed PV inverter under 100kW with isolation for grounded arrays, the de facto standard in the United States. Isolation is required to connect grounded PV arrays with a grounded ac grid. Most conventional inverters require an internal or external transformer to provide this isolation, however IPC’s patented indirect power converter topology provides isolation without the weight, size, cost and efficiency loss of a transformer.

The IPC 30kW inverter delivers 480Vac 3-phase power and supports grounded PV arrays without an internal or external transformer. It weighs only 94lbs compared to 1,200lbs from conventional 30kW 480Vac PV inverters with isolation. The IPC inverter can be delivered via FedEx or UPS ground and is easily wall-mounted inside, outside or on the rooftop near an array. Heavy conventional inverters are normally ground-mounted outside on engineered concrete pads, and may require additional security enclosures. The light-weight and small size of the IPC inverter enables commercial-scale installations on buildings and parking structures that lack the real estate for conventional ground-mounted inverters.

"The CEC listing is a significant landmark for the company and we look forward to assisting the solar industry in developing more efficient, cost-effective, reliable and safer PV systems," said Paul Bundschuh, Vice President of Business Development for Ideal Power Converters. "The indirect cost savings in shipping and installation when using IPC’s light-weight inverters in Texas was nearly half the inverter price itself. Installations in other locations will save even more and we estimate that the indirect cost savings for IPC inverter installations in Hawaii will be greater than the inverter’s price."

As PV module costs have declined dramatically over the last year, installation costs are increasingly the bottleneck to enabling cost-effective solar power without subsidies. The light-weight IPC inverter reduces inverter shipping and installation costs up to 90 percent.

"IPC’s inverters reduced our installation costs by $0.17/Wdc over other inverter options," said Roger Jennings, General Manager, Texas Solar Power Company. "IPC’s inverter offers an architecture that we believe will become a standard for commercial rooftop and PV parking structure installations."

More news and information regarding the latest developments in Smart Grid electronics can be found at Darnell’s SmartGridElectronics.Net.