Ideal Power Converters (IPC), developer of disruptive power converter technologies, has recently announced its Universal Power Converter Platform (UPCP), based on its current-modulation power converter topology and its initial 30-kW PV solar inverter that is currently shipping. The company says this common UPCP hardware solution, with new embedded firmware, will be shipping soon across applications for bi-directional battery converters for grid-storage and electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers.
IPC says the UPCP is transformational to the power converter industry by allowing a common highly efficient, low cost hardware platform to address multiple markets with only embedded software modifications. This allows IPC to leverage its development costs, and further reduce manufacturing costs by increasing volumes. It also allows the company to address new market requirements faster through firmware updates. This model has been instrumental to the success of computer and communications industries, and IPC will be bringing this strategy to the highly fragmented power converter industry.
The Universal Power Converter Platform significantly improves weight, size, cost, efficiency, reliability and safety of electronic power converters. This topology depends more heavily on semiconductor switches and advanced software controls than conventional voltage‐source topology, but dramatically reduces the amount and weight of magnetic metal materials.
“Ideal Power Converters is receiving strong customer endorsements on our flagship PV solar inverter product,” said Paul Bundschuh, Vice President of Business Development for Ideal Power Converters. At Intersolar 2012, he discussed its disruptive technology and how its’ modular Universal Power Converter Platform is transformational by using common low cost hardware with application specific firmware that can be applied to multiple markets such as grid-storage battery converters and electric vehicle fast charging.
IPC’s flagship product is a 30-kW solar inverter that delivers 480V AC 3-phase power and supports grounded PV arrays without an internal or external transformer. It weighs only 94lbs compared to the 1,200lbs of conventional 30kW 480VAC PV solar inverters with isolation. IPC’s 30kW inverter conforms to UL1741 and achieved a CEC-weighted efficiency of 96.5 percent. This efficiency rating is superior to any other CEC listed PV inverter under 100kW with isolation for grounded arrays, the de facto standard in the United States.
The IPC solar inverter is used for large commercial rooftop arrays or PV parking structures, where physical space restrictions can add significantly to installation costs. By using IPC’s cost-competitive inverters installers can typically save an additional $0.20/Wdc on Balance-of-System (BOS) from lower cost inverter installation and simpler DC wiring. “The real value proposition for the IPC product is the reduction of labor hours, real estate, and infrastructure required for large commercial solar inverters,” stated Eric Wesoff of Greentech Media.
Multiple IPC 30kW inverters can be used in larger arrays. System configurations of one to 10 inverters are typical allowing this lightweight modular solar inverter to address one of the largest market segments for photovoltaic systems in the United States. The IPC inverter has been developed and is being manufactured in volume in the United States at lower cost than competing systems.
Ideal Power Converters