Company claims new advanced digital processing can dramatically lower inverter's weight and size while optimizing performance; market launch penciled for December.
Israeli-headquartered power electronics company SolarEdge has today unveiled its new HD-Wave technology that the company claims represents the most significant leap forward in inverter technology for 20 years.
Utilizing a new and novel power conversion topology, SolarEdge will introduce to the market in December a 6kW single phase inverter that weighs just 9.5kg and uses 16 times fewer magnetic and 2.5 times less cooling components than a typical inverter. The HD-Wave technology will also deliver increased performance and efficiency of 99%, SolarEdge marketing and product vice president Lior Handelsman told pv magazine.
"The new HD-Wave technology enables us to develop an inverter that is less than half the weight and is considerably more efficient than standard inverters," Handelsman said. "The bulk of the costs in a typical inverter is the electronics, but this new inverter no longer has any heavy aluminum – most of the chassis is plastic."
Handelsman adds that the potential for rapid cost reduction in inverters using HD-Wave technology is greatly improved, and represents a significant leap in inverter design that could set the industry on the same pace of technical evolution as similar electronics.
"Inverters have not improved at the rate of computers, TVs or mobile phones over the past few years. The reason being is that inverters require a very large cooling component and have traditionally been made using heavy and costly magnetic made out of copper and other materials," said Handelsman. "These physical parts make up a big portion of inverter costs. The more watt power you can get per kilo makes things more effective."
According to SolarEdge, the company looked to the TV industry for inspiration. "For the last 50 years TVs have had the same problem in evolution, because TVs had large glass and components inside," explained Handelsman. "They were heavy, expensive and hard to manufacture. It just wasn’t practical to make a 100 inch TV because the weight would be overwhelming and the logistics of transporting TVs was expensive because of this weight."
The introduction of flatscreen TVs brought about a pacier reduction in size and weight, and triggered improvements in quality, performance and cost. “We believe we have managed, with the HD-Wave technology, to deliver as dramatic an evolution for inverters as flatscreen TVs did for the TV industry. HD-Wave technology uses algorithms to better synthesize the sine wave inside the inverter, meaning far smaller cooling elements, and much smaller magnetics but generating the same amount of power.
"A standard inverter needs electrolyte capacitors – which are known to be a reliability issue and are also large and expensive," said Handelsman. "In HD-Wave we use thin film capacitors which are more reliable and smaller and lighter. HD-Wave also allows us to use very small, standard silicon switches, which are more efficient and widespread."
Handelsman also told pv magazine that the increase in efficiency from 97.5% to 99% observed with HD-Wave technology also means that the inverter dissipates less than half the heat of a current model. "This is crucial in ridding the inverter from heavy metal parts. That being said, you still need an effective solution to dissipate the remaining heat, and we have several of those in the design phase."
Currently in ramp up phase, SolarEdge’s long-term plan is to eventually phase out its current inverters and replace its entire product range with these HD-Wave technology-powered models, which also boast 1.5 kW backup power for the home.
"Continued technological progress is required to make solar energy more competitive with fossil fuels," said SolarEdge CEO and chairman Guy Sella. "And inverters are the key component for accelerating the adoption of solar technology. We believe that our new HD-Wave technology is a significant milestone in the development of solar, and further positions SolarEdge as a leader in a thriving industry."
SolarEdge will unveil the technology at the forthcoming Solar Power International exhibition held in Anaheim, California, between September 14 – 17.