South African Solar Market to Receive Photovoltaic Inverters

ABB, a power and automation technology group, plans to start production of central inverters in South Africa to support the rapidly growing local photovoltaic (PV) market and local content requirements.ABB, a power and automation technology group, plans to start production of central inverters in South Africa to support the rapidly growing local photovoltaic (PV) market and local content requirements.

ABB plans to open the new inverter production line at its existing facilities in Johannesburg in 2014. The line for its PVS800 range of central inverters will have a production capacity of approximately 500 megawatts (MW) a year. It will produce 630 kilowatt (kW), 875 kW and 1,000 kW central inverters. The company already produces solar inverters in Estonia, India and China.

ABB has a long-established presence in South Africa as a producer of power converters, and has a dedicated service organization, complete with training center to support its expansion. South Africa is one of the world’s fastest growing PV solar markets thanks to the government’s commitment to increase power generation from renewable sources under the country’s renewable energy independent power program.

“With the new production line, ABB further reinforces its position as a global company with attention to local needs,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. “The region’s energy needs are set to grow with economic expansion and with South Africa looking to benefit from its abundance of sunshine we will be in an even better position to serve our customers.”

ABB installed its first two 500 kW PV solar projects near Johannesburg in 2011, and has since gained a delivery pipeline of approximately 90 megawatts (MW) of central inverters. The ABB central inverter series, rated from 100 to1000 kW, is designed for multi-megawatt PV power plants and is based on ABB’s highly successful frequency converter platform.

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