Inverters are becoming more and more versatile, enabling new applications for self-consumption, storage systems, e-mobility, power-to-heat and smart homes. Hybrid inverters, solar retrofit solutions and digital platforms are in. Driven by digitalization, innovation cycles for inverters are becoming ever shorter. Not only do inverters convert direct currents to alternating currents and act as the electronic “brain” of photovoltaic installations, but they are increasingly becoming a digital jack off all trades.
The new hybrid inverter, developed by a reputable German manufacturer, is exemplary of this new-found versatility. The three-phase device, available in five output classes ranging from 4.2 to 10 kilowatts, has three MPP trackers, one of which is a combination input port which enables high-voltage batteries from various manufacturers to be connected. The device also allows retrofitting of the battery at a later time. The activation code for this can be acquired at any time at the online shop. For newly built PV installations or for repowering, the device’s voltage range offers many possibilities, in terms of both the type of solar module and the number of modules per string. In addition, the battery inverter uses highly efficient DC coupling for the solar installation and battery storage system and it can absorb excess AC power from other energy sources, such as decentralized heat/power-generation units. The device also has diverse communication capabilities, including an integrated Ethernet port for LAN access. Devices can also be connected using Modbus TCP (e.g. SunSpec or EEBUS), which enables the integration of other functions, such as charging electric vehicles or intelligent temperature regulation.
Digital platforms where suppliers can combine their core expertise in the field of PV inverters with software and cloud services also represent an important trend. In another new development, inverter manufacturers are founding subsidiaries for digital energy solutions in order to capitalize on new opportunities for creating added value.