Commercial Central Inverter Manufacturers and Product Lines (2014)
Inside this Article
When SolarPro magazine published its first central inverter article 5 years ago (“Next Generation Central Inverters,” December/January 2009), the companion product specifications table included 23 listed and CEC-eligible inverter models from seven manufacturers. A lot has changed in the intervening years. The 2014 Central Inverter Specifications table on pages 50-56 is intentionally limited to inverters in the 30 kW–500 kW range intended for interconnection at 3-phase utilization voltages. Nevertheless, this table includes 81 inverter models—many of which accommodate multiple interconnection voltages—available from 17 manufacturers.
Since many of these central inverter manufacturers and product lines have come to market relatively recently, they may not be well known even to industry veterans. The following profiles provide an overview of the companies behind the products, as well as a high-level summary of the product lines themselves. While the information included in these profiles is publicly available—for example, on company websites, in product datasheets or in installation manuals—we have aggregated it here to save you time. If you have additional questions, contact the manufacturer directly. Each manufacturer’s profile includes contact information.
The products covered here are centralized inverters suitable for typical commercial or nonresidential PV applications in the US or Canada. These are all utility-interactive inverters intended for supply-side– or load-side–interconnection, per NEC Section 705.12, that operate at common North American 3-phase service voltages: 208 Vac, 240 Vac, 480 Vac or 600 Vac. While most of the inverters in this product class have a maximum PV input voltage of 600 Vdc, some models are available for use in 1,000 Vdc systems. Similarly, these products are primarily, but not exclusively, outdoor rated and intended for pad mounting. All of the products covered here are certified and listed to UL 1741; the products are also eligible for California Solar Initiative (CSI) incentive programs.
Advanced Energy (AE) Headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado, Advanced Energy provides power conversion products used in thin-film manufacturing and solar energy markets. The company was founded in 1981 and currently has more than 1,300 employees, spread across 19 offices in 10 countries. Since introducing its non-isolated, bipolar Solaron 333 kW inverter in 2007, AE has used strategic acquisitions—acquiring PV Powered in 2010 and REFUsol in 2013—to increase its product diversity, revenue and market share.
The company’s solar business division, AE Solar Energy (AESE), currently offers 11 outdoor-rated centralized inverter models suitable for 3-phase nonresidential PV systems. The seven TX-series inverters are transformer based and range in capacity from 35 kW to 500 kW, as indicated in the model numbers. The AE 35TX, AE 50TX, AE 75TX and AE 100TX accommodate 3-phase 208 Vac, 480 Vac and 600 Vac interconnections with a CEC-rated efficiency of 95.5% or 96%. The AE 250TX interconnects at 480 Vac or 600 Vac with a CEC-rated efficiency of 96.5%, and the AE 260TX and AE 500TX interconnect at 480 Vac with a CEC-rated efficiency of 97%. TX-series inverters are highly configurable in terms of dc input and monitoring options and have a standard warranty period of 10 years.
AESE also offers four non-isolated NX-series inverters that range from 250 kW to 500 kW, as indicated in the model numbers. These transformerless inverters are designed to use ±600 Vdc bipolar PV arrays and to interconnect to a 3-phase 480 Vac service. The AE 250NX, AE 333NX and AE 500NX models have a CEC-rated efficiency of 97.5%; the AE 500NX-HE is a high-efficiency model with a CEC-rated efficiency of 98%.
Advanced Energy / 877.312.3832 / advanced-energy.com
AEG Power Solutions Headquartered in Zwanenburg, Netherlands, AEG Power Solutions (AEG PS) Group is the sole subsidiary of the holding company 3W Power, based in Luxembourg. The US subsidiary is located near Dallas, Texas, and provides sales and service to the North American market. The company has 21 additional subsidiaries around the globe and employs 1,600 people worldwide.
In May 2013, AEG PS introduced a transformerless modular PV (MPV) inverter product line for commercial applications in the US. It designed the MPV system around 15 kW inverter modules and made it available in two basic form factors. The MPV.System75 accepts one to five inverter modules, supporting ac output power capacities ranging from 15 kW to 75 kW. The MPV.System150 accepts up to five additional inverter modules, accommodating power capacities ranging from 90 kW to 150 kW.