SMA is introducing a fleet of new solar photovoltaic inverters at Intersolar North America in San Francisco next month. The PV inverters are designed to meet a variety of customers’ needs from homeowners wanting microinverters to inverters and equipment designed for quick deployment for utility-scale solar projects.
The company will showcase its new Sunny Boy 200 and 240 microinverters and Sunny Multigate. The company had previously announced the microinverters, but this is likely the last time it will show them before their general availability. “The 200 and the 240 will be available late summer early fall,” said SMA spokesperson Brad Dore. “They will be released worldwide, but the vast majority of the market is in the U.S.”
Microinverters, small inverters attached to back of each PV module, were first introduced in Germany, but they didn’t take off because early models suffered from failures and low efficiency. Newer models are more efficient at converting DC to AC and more reliable, and they’ve taken off in the U.S. Since they convert electricity at the module level, each module can convert electricity to the best of its ability, rather than the lowest performing module in an array bringing down production across the whole array. They’re ideal for situations where there may be shading issues, or modules on multiple roof pitches.
SMA also is introducing a new line of transformerless inverters for residence-sized installations. “We introduced our first transformerless inverters last year for the commercial market. At Intersolar we will introduce transformerless inverters for the residential market,” Dore said.
Transformerless inverters are lighter than transformer-based inverters, they’re also more efficient, according to Dore. “You generally see cost benefits with transformerless inverter because you get higher efficiencies, which can increase payback and return on investment,” he said. Part of the reason they’re more efficient is because they operate at lower temperatures meaning less electricity is lost as heat.
On the utility-scale side, SMA is introducing its Medium-Voltage Power Platform. The platform is designed to simplify the installation process for utility-scale PV. “It’s everything you need to modularly install utility-scale PV from a power conversion standpoint,” Dore said. The platform includes precut wiring, inverters, and a control and supply panel. The panel and its software is capable of managing the systems’ power output and provide both active and reactive power to the grid, he said.