ABB is launching what it reports to be the solar industry’s first fully optimized two-pole DC (OTDC) switch-disconnector for 1500V utility-scale photovoltaic power plants covering 315-630A IEC and 250-600A UL current range. The new design offers both a size reduction and an increase in efficiency and performance to help manufacturers of PV combiner boxes, inverters, and energy storage systems adapt to the industry’s rapid adoption of 1500V DC solutions.
The two-pole 1500V DC concept helps manufacturers improve system efficiency, reducing switch losses by up to 35 percent. Measuring just 150mm wide and 122mm high across the current range, the OTDC range of 1500V DC switches is also up to 30 percent smaller than conventional solutions. The compact size of the new OTDC range makes it possible for manufacturers to reduce the size of combiner boxes and inverters.
The shift from 1000V to 1500V systems is helping reduce the cost of utility-scale photovoltaic systems. Higher-voltage systems enable longer strings, which mean fewer combiner boxes and less wiring, making installations less labor intensive and reducing the cost per watt of installed power. By 2019, virtually all new utility-scale solar plants are expected to be 1500V DC.
ABB’s unique design makes it possible to operate up to two 1500V DC strings with just one switch. In addition to the standard connections, the OTDC’s modular design also makes it possible for ABB to fulfil the non-standard requests that come from the quickly changing solar market.
The OTDC range is a family of robust switch-disconnectors, designed for photovoltaic and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) applications. The range is tested according to the UL, IEC and CCC standards to withstand the extreme outdoor conditions and sudden temperature changes that are usual in a solar farm.
Deliveries in the United States are expected to start late November 2018.