Solar generation: Anticipating the solar industry’s need for higher transformer capacities, GE’s Digital Energy business announced an expansion to its PROLEC-GE Solar Pad- Mounted Transformer portfolio. The new solar unit, designed to extend scope capabilities from 2 megavolt amperes (MVA) to 2.8 MVAs for dual low-voltage winding and from 3 MVAs to 4 MVAs for single low-voltage winding, demonstrates one more way GE is helping customers effectively navigate the solar market—which is expected to grow at an annual rate of about 13 percent over the next several years.
“For the solar industry, it’s no easy task to calculate the optimal capacity needed for a transformer, especially since the energy generated will vary throughout the day,” said Rosario Lopez, vice president of PROLEC-GE’s Distribution Transformers business. “We mitigate this challenge for many customers by helping them determine the right size transformer they should use based on the load and ambient conditions that are specific to their location and application. By anticipating customers’ needs through advanced technologies, we help them save both time and unnecessary expenses.”
PROLEC-GE’s solar transformer recently passed IEEE/ANSI short-circuit testing, validating its design calculation models and product reliability. In addition to IEEE and ANSI standards, the new transformers meet Underwriters Laboratories, International Building Code, Canadian Standards Association and seismic design certifications. The PROLEC-GE transformers also have a special low- loss design option, helping to significantly reduce the total cost of ownership. Optional arc-flash protection additionally helps to minimize infrastructure damage and potential health risks for maintenance crews.
“Our three-phase solar pad-mounted transformers feature increased dependability due to PROLEC- GE’s manufacturing and design processes and the use of high-grade materials,” added Lopez. “We use better materials and have more technically robust designs in order to make our units more efficient, reliable and long-lasting.”
With PROLEC-GE’s three-phase solar pad-mounted transformers, solar energy is captured by solar cells that generate DC power and convert it to AC using inverters. The voltage from the inverters is then stepped up by the transformers, allowing for the efficient aggregation of power that will flow to a collector step-up substation transformer, ultimately delivering more renewable energy to the grid. With two low-voltage windings, the transformers are equipped to connect two inverters, helping to decrease the operating cost, initial investment and use of land for customers.