SPI2010: AMSC introduces grid interconnection solution for PV plants

The SolarTie solution combines two of AMSC’s proprietary technologies – D-VAR STATCOM solutions and PowerModule power converter systems.

The new offering is a utility-scale grid interconnection system designed specifically for megawatt-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants.

By coupling its power converter capabilities with dynamic reactive compensation technology, AMSC's SolarTie product represents what AMSC claims is the industry’s first fully optimised solution for utility-scale PV power plant developers. The addressable market for SolarTie solutions is expected by industry analysts to be approximately US$2 billion by 2015.

The system has a base rating of 1.4 megawatts (MW) and a turn-on voltage of up to 1,000 volts (VDC).

The market for utility-scale solutions is forecasted for impressive growth. Industry research firm IMS Research expects annual shipments of solar PV inverters to quadruple from approximately 8 GW at the end of 2009 to 32 GW in 2014. During this period, the utility-scale solar inverter market is expected to grow at a much faster pace than the commercial and residential solar inverter markets.

Similar to wind farms, solar power plants often must meet requirements in a growing number of countries for dynamic reactive compensation. Employing the same technology as AMSC’s D-VAR system, which is connecting more than 70 wind farms worldwide to the grid, the SolarTie solution provides instantaneous detection, accurate response and immediate results, ensuring efficient energy production and precise grid management.

For example, if a disturbance occurs (voltage sag or swell, passing clouds or other event) the SGI will command the PV plant’s SolarTie inverters to provide the needed reactive support to control the voltage at the POI. AMSC’s SolarTie solution provides sub-cycle (less than 16 milliseconds) detection and response to grid disturbances while many competing interconnection solutions have response times of 10 to 20 seconds.

About the product

SolarTie includes:

  • Solar inverters based on AMSC’s proven PowerModule platform;
  • The ability to control real and reactive power at the Point of Interconnection;
  • AMSC’s proprietary Smart Grid Interface (SGI) Controller, which directs SolarTie inverters and reactive power elements to provide efficient energy production and precise regulation at the Point Of Interconnection (POI); and
  • Easy integration with STATCOMs and/or capacitor and reactor shunt banks for additional reactive support if installed as part of the system.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity