Ideal Power has introduced its new SunDial solar photovoltaic (PV) string inverter which includes an optional bi-directional 3rd port for direct integration of solar with energy storage during initial installation or any time in the future.
The SunDial is a compact, efficient, and fully isolated PV string inverter with an integrated PV combiner, disconnects, and a built-in Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT). It also features an optional, low cost "plug and play" bi-directional DC port kit. This new "solar first, storage ready" design is the only commercial string inverter available with a field-upgradable, bi-directional energy storage port, making the system market ready today for the solar + storage market.
According to IHS Technology, global solar PV inverter revenues were estimated at $6.9 billion globally in 2015. The new SunDial system directly addresses this large established market, giving commercial and industrial PV developers and installers a competitively-priced PV inverter product today with the flexibility to seamlessly integrate energy storage today or in the future. The integration of solar and storage is already economically attractive for customers addressing high retail electricity rates, high commercial demand charges, or those located on islands and areas where selling PV power back to the grid is not supported. With the optional 3rd port connected to a battery, the SunDial is also capable of disconnecting from the utility grid and forming a microgrid to provide backup power to critical building loads utilizing the energy from the PV and battery, giving customers peace of mind that their system can be used even in a power outage.
The initial SunDial product is a 30kW system (Model 30PV+S) based on Ideal Power’s patented and award winning Power Packet Switching Architecture with 1000V max PV DC input and 480V, 3-phase output. It is the first in a planned family of field-upgradable SunDial PV string inverters. An important new feature of the SunDial system will be a newly designed AC link providing true galvanic isolation from the AC to the DC ports, enabling PV installations to be either grounded or true floating. The new SunDial inverter is comparable in size and cost to today’s widely used transformerless PV string inverters, but is fully isolated and offers the additional value of an optional, upgradable fully isolated bi-directional port for direct storage integration. The SunDial can be applied to both new PV installations and PV system retrofits where there is a desire to add energy storage to an existing array.
"The SunDial is a major milestone for the industry — it is the first bi-directional PV string inverter that gives solar installers the flexibility to build their project with storage now or plan for its integration in the future without having to replace the solar inverter or add a separate battery converter," said Dan Brdar, CEO of Ideal Power. "The growing installed base of solar and resulting grid instabilities will increasingly force the coupling of solar and storage. Our new SunDial represents a tremendous opportunity for Ideal Power to capture a share of this market, while giving our customers the flexibility to create additional value from their system via direct storage integration."
Ideal Power plans to target commercial and industrial scale PV installations that want the optionality of adding energy storage or other DC sources at the time of installation or at any time in the future. The 30kW product will be UL-1741 listed as well as NEC 2014 compliant for behind-the-meter installations. Ideal Power is taking pre-orders now for delivery in September 2016.