String Inverters Single-Phase Solutions for the North American Market (2011): Page 6 of 10
Inside this Article
Motech Industries. Headquartered in Tainan, Taiwan, Motech Industries is a publicly traded company listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Motech was founded in 1981 and has evolved from a test and measurement instruments designer and manufacturer to a full-service global solar company. Motech’s solar division was established in 1997, and the production of photovoltaic cells commenced in 2000. In 2009, Motech acquired GE Energy’s former solar module assembly operation located in Newark, Delaware. In 2010, Motech reported its position as one of the 10 largest solar cell producers worldwide.
Motech embarked on the development of solar inverters in 2004 and began shipping inverters into the European marketplace in 2006. In 2008, Motech inverters received UL 1741 listing for use in the US and began shipping to the North American market via a distribution agreement with groSolar, a US-based solar solutions provider and equipment wholesaler. Motech’s current PVMate inverter line includes six models with power outputs that range from 2.7 kW to 7.5 kW and feature an integrated dc/ac disconnect. The inverter can be physically separated from the lower wiring box that houses the disconnect, if servicing is required.
Power-One. Headquartered in Camarillo, California, with design, manufacturing, sales and service operations in Asia, Europe and throughout the Americas, Power-One is currently the world’s second largest designer and manufacturer of solar inverters. Over the past 40 years, the company has evolved from a family-owned power supply manufacturing business that was incorporated as Power CA in 1973 to a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: PWER) with net revenues of $1,074M for its fiscal year ending January 2011. Power-One currently has approximately 3,400 employees at facilities worldwide.
Power-One’s initial public offering took place in 1997, raising more than $80M. In 2006, the company acquired the Power Electronics Group of Magnetek for a purchase price of approximately $69.4M, according to Power-One’s most recent annual report. The Power Electronics Group included operations in China, Hungary, Italy and the US, with approximately 500,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities and 1,200 employees. This transaction included dc-to-dc converter products and power supplies and, notably, the Aurora line of PV and small wind inverters with capacities ranging from 3 kW to 6 kW. Power-One’s more recent purchase of Fat Spaniel Technologies in 2010 was another notable acquisition.
In 2010, the company was reorganized into two business units: Renewable Energy Solutions and Power Solutions. The Renewable Energy division designs and manufactures power conversion products for both PV and wind power applications. The Power division is focused on power management solutions used in computer servers, data storage, networking, telecomm and industrial applications.
Power-One has been capturing global inverter market share at an unmatched pace, moving from the number nine position in 2009 to the number two position in 2010. Power- One reports inverter shipments reached 2.6 GW in 2010, and more than 4 GW of inverter capacity has been installed globally to date. Manufacturing facilities are located in Valdarno, Italy, for Africa, Europe and the Middle East (4 GW); Gongming, China, for Asia-Pacific (1 GW); Phoenix, Arizona, for North America (1 GW); and Scarborough, Ontario, for Canada (500 MW).
According to Kent Sheldon, vice president of sales, Renewable Energy Solutions, North America: “The Aurora product family of 2 kW to 6 kW transformerless inverters has been continuously developed in Europe over the past 6 years, as well as in North America over the past 3 years. Our string inverters have evolved into our third generation of TL inverters that have improved features, reliability and price with each update.”
Power-One’s current lineup for the US market includes seven single-phase models. Product highlights include a transformerless topology; dual, isolated MPPT stages that allow different string configurations, lengths and orientations; the widest PV voltage input range specification listed in the accompanying table; and fan-free passive cooling. Later in 2011, Power-One will be launching a redesigned full line of inverter products in North America, to include microinverters, dc optimizers, string inverters, and commercial and utility-scale inverters for PV and wind power applications.