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Fraunhofer ISE sees medium voltage as the new standard for large-scale PV power plants

© Fraunhofer ISE

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE sees enormous potential for saving raw materials such as copper and aluminum through higher system voltages, particularly in large-scale photovoltaic power plants. The institute is planning its first pilot power plants and is aiming for a broad market launch together with industry. To mark the launch of its new research focus “Medium voltage – resource-efficiently networked”, Fraunhofer ISE is presenting what it claims to be the world’s first medium-voltage PV string inverter and a medium-voltage battery inverter at Smarter E in Munich.

The step into medium voltage (MV) was made possible by the development of highly blocking components made of silicon carbide (SiC) with high switching speeds. According to Fraunhofer ISE, SiC components up to 3.3 kV are now available on the market. In the “MS-LeiKra” project, Fraunhofer ISE had already developed an MS-PV string inverter in 2023 and successfully put it into operation on the grid.

As part of an MV PV workshop in April, a European consortium was formed with representatives from all trades involved in a large-scale PV power plant in order to jointly investigate the technological and normative requirements for the transition to medium voltage.



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