Choosing PV inverters crucial for solar plant reliability – pv magazine International

Alter Enersun has started its relationship with PV inverter manufacturer Huawei. The Spanish developer’s CEO Jose Morlanes says that the company follows a route of choosing Tier 1 suppliers for all its components, including inverters, to keep downtime of his projects at the bare minimum. With Huawei he found an inverter supplier to fulfill his high demands.

What are your quality requirements when choosing your partners? What do you consider when you are selecting a vendor for power electronics?

The company policy consists in requesting the highest quality from the equipment suppliers. In fact, we are only working with Tier 1 suppliers for panels, inverters, trackers, and transformers. We believe that the quality, efficiency, and durability of our installation are directly related to the quality, durability, and innovation capacity of our suppliers. Additionally, the price of the equipment is important once all the above is guaranteed.

Did you ever choose to work with Huawei as an inverter supplier? Why?

We started our relationship two years ago when we introduced the string inverters in our 50MW Project in Huelva. This was a new experience that aimed at verifying if this type of equipment offered greater security in the event of problems and if it contributed to a greater plant efficiency (LCOE reduction). The experience has been positive. The existence of a small equipment stock allows the plants not to stop when there is a failure, and the start-up has been very simple. Today Huawei is one of the most important and committed partners that Alter Enersun has.

Technical challenges for power systems

This year, Huawei’s special edition looks at technical challenges to a power system mostly run by inverter-interfaced power sources. The leading topic: Smart PV and Storage – Anytime for Anyone, is achieved by a high degree of digitization, a new business division within the Huawei corporation and a strong network of partners.

View and download the edition here

String inverter’s market share has been growing exponentially. What do you usually choose? What’s your take on the everlasting central-string inverter debate?

We are verifying that the string inverters are functioning properly, in fact, we have been using Huawei in the last six installations which we have put into operation. Honestly speaking, the fact that string inverters are efficient, safe, and competitive.

Since mid-2020, a series of cost rises in the industry has caused troubles for many solar project developers. How has Alter Enersun been impacted?

The existing problem in the global supply chain has had an impact, first in delays in work execution and then in the huge freight increase, especially all those originating from China. To finish how all this difficult scenario, we have seen the cost of practically equipment and supplies that make up the photovoltaic installations increased. The result has been a delay in projects and a substantial cost increase.

How do you see the role of energy storage in solar projects? Are you interested in combining PV with batteries?

To complete the energy transition and leave fossil fuels behind we need to guarantee the manageability of renewable energy. In our opinion, we will achieve this with storage of all kinds: reversible jumps, batteries, and the development of hydrogen as fuel and storage. Alter Enersun is probably building one of the largest storage projects in Spain. Specifically, 62 MWh in the Extremadura projects that should be in operation in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, is the best proof of our confidence in battery storage.

What are the technical challenges with large installations in Spain? How important is selecting the right inverters for the job?

We must develop efficient installations that minimize the use of land and water per Megawatt, that coexist with livestock, agriculture, and above all, we must be a “good neighbor”, respecting and creating value on a local level. The inverter, together with panels, trackers, and transformers are the critical equipment of the plant. Choosing the inverter well results in reliability, improved production, and an easy start-up.

Do you have any projects in development that you would like to share with our readers?

We are building 4 projects in Extremadura totaling 120MW and the first part of the storage Project with 9MWh batteries (62MWh in total). Before the end of the year, we will start 5 additional projects in Andalusia that will total 250MW, in addition to building 40MW of self-consumption for large industries.

What needs to be taken into account when building a solar plant with BESS? Is the project size crucial for the choice of these devices?

We expect an improvement in storage costs in the coming years due to increased production in Europe and increased competition. To the extent that storage costs are reduced, its use will be extended, not necessarily related to large projects.

Several companies are searching for new partners to grow. Do you also have such plans in mind? What do you think needs to be in place for solar investment to accelerate?

Alter Enersun is a group made up of a group of companies capable of developing, investing, building, and operating photovoltaic installations of all sizes. Our intention is to continue with the organized growth and to deep in our relationship with our partner BRUC Energy.

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