Alessandro Orpelli
Solar Sales Director

Top-Tier Voltage Conversion for Mexico's Utility-Scale Projects

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 16:59

Mexico’s largest solar plant in the Americas is being built in San Juan Villanueva, Coahuila. It can generate 1,700GWh of electricity per year, enough to fill the needs of 950,000 houses. An essential ingredient amid all that wiring in the desert are the inverters. The company supplying the inverters for this energy project undertaken by Enel is Fimer, an Italian firm whose ambitions root it solidly in Mexico. “Utility-scale projects allow us to approach technology in a different way. Certain solutions may not work when applied to a smaller plant, but if I can spread my investment in a 754MW plant like we are doing in Mexico, the higher revenues mean it is possible to design to cost.” says Alessandro Orpelli, Solar Sales Director of Fimer.

Fimer’s technological innovation in Mexico is rooted in its current conversion technologies. “Inverters are one of the most developed technologies in the solar field,” says Orpelli. “They allow us to integrate services, improve production capacity and increase the efficiency of plants and voltage levels. The goal is always to produce more energy with the same amount of money. There is also the possibility to integrate solutions and to overcome harsh environments without losing production.” Fimer's welding origins found their application in solar technologies, which now form a greater part of the company’s revenue than welding. “Before the world’s biggest markets such as Spain and Germany developed, there was no need to apply this technology to solar,” reflects Orpelli. “Even so, these conversion units already existed and they are based on AC-DC, which was used in many applications. It is usually obvious that the European players originated in a different field.” According to Orpelli, Fimer is developing storage and string solutions all targeting the utility market. The firm sells containerized mega stations, in which technology is more protected than in common outdoor solutions. The container has everything that is needed for energy conversion, including the inverter, the fuse box, a low-voltage communication and accessory room, a medium-voltage room and the transformer.

The San Juan Villanueva plant is not unique for Fimer’s Mexican endeavors. The company is also concluding a 190MW plant that will bring it to almost 1GW of installed capacity in the country. “The Mexican market is moving a little bit slower than we originally anticipated but it is one of the few Latin American countries where the market is balanced,” adds Orpelli. “The auctions allow us to access large plants with fixed tariffs and then there are also the PPAs, which allow companies not participating in auctions to access the Mexican energy market. They are worth the investment because they maintain stability for companies before they decide to bid in an auction.”