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First Solar and GE to set up next generation CdTe power plant

The firms' combined expertise is aimed at improving PV plant production and reduce costs in 1500VDC applications
First Solar and GE's Power Conversion business are utilising their recently established technology and commercial partnership to develop a more cost effective and productive utility-scale PV power plant design.

It will combine First Solar's thin-film CdTe modules with GE's new ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system.

First Solar has integrated new technology into its modules and optimised them for 1500VDC applications.

This development enables power plant engineering design that could increase the size of the solar array served by each inverter and reduces the number of inverter/transformer stations required for each plant to convert the power from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and feed electricity to a commercial electrical grid.

The resulting plant design is claimed to maintain high power delivery while lowering installation and maintenance costs.

"This is a significant step in establishing the next generation of utility-scale PV power plants," says Mahesh Morjaria, First Solar's Vice President of Product Management. "Partnering with an industry giant such as GE, we are able to take our power plant design to the next level, and bring additional value to our customers."

Morjaria also notes that future generations of First Solar modules will increase optimisation, benefiting from advances gained in part from the acquisition last fall of GE thin-film PV technology.

"GE is known throughout the industry as an established leader in power generation technology. With our ProSolar inverters, we were able to draw from our experience developing and manufacturing technology for traditional power plants to create a highly efficient solution with industry-leading capabilities," adds Joe Mastrangelo, CEO of GE Power Conversion.

"The inverters' design enable our customers to apply engineering design that significantly increases efficiency of energy production. Together with First Solar, we can help customers get the most out of their solar power systems."

Morjaria also says First Solar has already identified projects under construction for initial deployment of the new 1500v system. The 4MW ProSolar 1500V station is the largest inverter in the industry capable of accommodating 1,500 volt DC solar arrays, which is a major factor in utilising economies of scale by significantly increasing the array size and reducing the number of inverters required by a solar power plant.

 

 

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