Solar PV Optimizing Inverter

Solar energy’s sunny future depends on innovation to drive down costs and increase uptake of this natural source of power. While much innovation has concentrated on lowering the cost of solar cells or panels, Optistring Technologies AB has put its focus on the solar inverter, a piece of hardware which converts the direct current (DC) output from the PV panel into the alternating current (AC) used on commercial or local grids.

Optistring improves on this critical component in solar set-ups by shifting much of the complexity required in the inverter hardware to improved software and advanced algorithms. Optistring has engineered small and nimble micro inverters that are integrated into each panel in a system, simplifying installation and reducing costs.

In addition, switching to software control of the individual micro inverters allows the panels to be generating approximately 5 to 25% more electricity.

The individual micro inverters allow each and every solar panel in a solar system to be running at optimum capacity. Without unwieldy inverter hardware, the cost of solar systems decreases while power generation increases.

This allows consumers to get highly efficient harvesting of solar energy, lower cost, and easier installation of their solar panels, helping solar achieve grid parity with competing renewable options.

According to IEA (Energy Technology Perspectives 2012) soar’s total capacity has climbed to approximately 130GW, allowing 150 terawatt hours of electrical energy to be produced from the sun annually, enough to power 40 million individual homes. And solar has plenty of room to grow, especially if the price of systems continues to fall while efficiency remains high.

As the evidence of climate change is stronger than ever, our efforts to use conventional energy sources must be substantially strengthened. There is one obvious source of energy which is abundant but still not employed to more than a fraction of its potential – the sun. However, solar energy is growing rapidly and is increasingly cost-competitive with conventional energy sources in a wide range of markets and applications. Great efforts are being made to improve the economic output from solar technologies. The Solar PV Optimizing Inverter increases the yield from e.g. rooftop solar PV panels by compensating for part shading and suboptimal radiation. This improved efficiency makes solar PV investments more profitable which speeds up the deployment rate of solar energy.

The IEA* estimates that the cumulative installed solar PV capacity will be 210 GW by year 2020 and 872 GW by year 2030, with on average 50 GW added each year between 2020-2030. By increasing the efficiency and thus the yield from roof-top PV installations by 7%, leading to a three year faster market penetration in line with IEA projections, solar PV optimizing inverters can eliminate 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year by year 2023.

* International Energy Agency (IEA), ”Technology Roadmaps – Solar photovoltaic energy” (2010), “Energy Technology Perspectives 2012”

Pilot installations using Optistring the micro inverters and software controller are working as anticipated. The next step is a new generation of micro units that can be easily and efficiently manufactured, as well as new alliances with solar suppliers. These partnerships with strong global PV module manufacturrs will allow Optiestring to achieve optimal market penetration as well as become a global player in the PV industry.

Optistring was founded in 2011.  Research at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology prompted a skilled team, experienced in technology development and start-up environments, to design the Optistring micro inverters and software modules.

The team, consisting of CEO and founder Anders Lindgren along with chief technology officer Tomas Modeer and development engineer Gustav Bergqvist, possesses knowledge of the global PV and electronics industries along with high levels of technical excellence.