1500-volt systems to see growth in utility scale installations in 2016

Technology Trends

GTM Research’s latest report expects 1500-volt architecture to take over the utility-scale solar market over the next few years, citing clear balance-of-systems cost advantages.


The report says the move to 1500-volt architecture will result in lower BOS costs, including labor. As per the report, 4.6 GW of 1500-volt utility-scale PV systems will be installed this year. This will be a year of reconking for the 1500V system technology, resulting in a further reduction of system costs.


The report finds that while raising DC voltage to 1500 volts can increase the cost of individual components as much as 40%, that it typically reduces overall system costs. Significant savings can also be made in labour, civil infrastructure and material costs.


As compared to 1000-volt systems, 1500-volt systems use 50% fewer combiner boxes, fewer and larger inverters and less electrical hardware overall.


Components for 1500-volt systems can be an issue at present. GTM Research says that modules and inverters have been the least available components. And while many of the world’s largest PV module and inverter makers - including top names such as Trina Solar, First Solar, Canadian Solar, SMA and Sungrow - have introduced 1500-volt products, not all of these are commercially available at this time.


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