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Insight

Inverter Manufacturer Seeks to Become a National Supplier

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 13:34

Jema Irizar Group (Jema), a Spanish firm with significant global expansion levels, has always maintained a good relationship with Mexico for two reasons: its FTAs with many countries and the overall acceptance of European products. Massimo Ferrarini, Business Development Manager of Jema Irizar Group Mexico, wants to establish the company as a national supplier and hopes the new regulations will help it gain a more relevant role in the energy industry.”

According to Ferrarini, Jema’s flagship contribution in Mexico is its participation with supplying 1MW solar inverters for a 350MW photovoltaic park in the north of the country. Furthermore, the company is also proud of its involvement in the Agua Prieta project, where the company provided uninterruptible power systems, critical battery chargers, and battery banks for the combined cycle central. Ferrarini says this project was important due to its location and because of the opportunity it gave Jema to consolidate its presence in Mexico.

Ferrarini stresses that the critical part in any solar system is the inverter, as the quality of the power electronics determines the efficiency of the entire system. This means that more efficiency equates to capturing more energy from the photovoltaic cells. To this day, all of Jema’s inverters work at more than 98% efficiency, in some cases even achieving 99%. Additionally, the company has used the knowledge gained from research activities and applied it to commercial applications of solar technology. Ferrarini identifies the continuity of the system as another important factor, which is the ability the system has to operate under  critical conditions. “This is a huge advantage in solar technology since it guarantees that the equipment can work as much as possible, with a minimal fail rate. Inverters normally function only as converters from DC to AC, but now they are evolving to interact with the distribution network to back up redistribution,” he explains. They are turning into bidirectional and intelligent systems, offering high levels of reactive power and functioning as battery chargers. In Chile, for example, Jema is providing inverters for a project of 100MW in the Atacama Desert. In this case, out of 100MW nominal, 12MW are stored in the batteries. Energy storage is a constant issue for solar energy. Ferrarini highlights that ultra-low maintenance batteries, such as Ni-Cd, lead-acid, or lithium-ion batteries, are the most common technologies for solar applications. Jema is working on different solutions like a battery storage and charge-discharge control systems. In Ferrarini’s view, the advantage of these turnkey solutions is the versatility and modularity that can be installed in low-power projects, as well as on big solar farms, using 1MW to 3.6MW plug-and- play solutions.

At this moment, Ferrarini believes the Mexican electricity market is going through a deep transformation that will lead to investments and project development opportunities, some public but mostly private. “There are new power generation projects approved by CFE and some other projects in oil and gas, but at Jema we are mainly focused on utility-scale solar projects,” notes Ferrarini. In both cases, Jema offers customized solutions that guarantee the equipment meets strict requirements to ensure its functionality under extreme conditions. For solar inverters, says Ferrarini, Jema produces a solar box solution of up to 3.6MW that can operate in temperatures above 40°C and at altitudes over 1,500m, ensuring the delivery of active or reactive power, according to the grid’s specifications. “Not every manufacturer is able to offer similar traits,” boasts Ferrarini.