ABB Opens New Solar Inverter Production Center

Oct. 6, 2011
Center will feature a 400 megawatt per year capacity as well as an engineering center to support inverter production and nearby motors and drives factories.

Alternative energy may still be slow to catch on in the U.S. as debate rages over incandescent light bulbs, questionable government investment in Solyndra, and the initial costs required to launch viable alternative energy sources. But in other areas of the world, demand for alternative energy, solar in particular, is growing. Evidence of this can be seen in ABB’s opening of its first production facility for solar string inverters. The facility, located in Jüri, Estonia, will also house an engineering center to support the inverter business as well as the motors and drives factories based in the same location. 

Solar inverters convert the direct current generated by photovoltaic cells into alternating current that can be fed into the grid. The inverters that will be produced in Estonia are designed for use in residential and commercial roof top applications. 

According to ABB, the new production line has a yearly capacity of 400 megawatts and can be expanded as needed to deliver on long-term demand. 

ABB has also invested in a new solar plant, which has a capacity of 25 kilowatts and is reportedly the largest solar installation mounted on the roof of a building in Estonia. It will be used for testing and demonstration purposes in conjunction with the new production line. Each inverter will be tested and its efficiency measured before it leaves the factory to ensure correct specifications and quality requirements. 

“We strongly believe that solar energy will be used increasingly in our energy mix to reduce the effects of power generation on climate change and we expect that production volumes in this plant will grow steadily in the long term,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division.  

If you’re wondering why ABB chose Estonia as the spot for its new solar inverter production facility, consider the investments being made in alternative energy by Estonia’s state-sponsored agencies. For example, Kredex, the Estonian state-owned export credit agency, recently ordered more than 500 ABB electric car chargers to be installed across the country.
About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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