SMA Promotes Grid Integration – PV inverters no longer disconnect at 50.2 Hz

Kassel/Niestetal, May 31, 2011 – The successful grid integration of solar power is of high strategic relevance for the continued expansion of photovoltaics. SMA Solar Technology AG is leading the way in developments in this area and is working to ensure the feed-in of solar power takes place with a high level of grid stability. SMA, together with other manufacturers, is committed to fitting its products with modified overfrequency disconnection beginning May 2011. This means that from here forward, SMA PV inverters will no longer disconnect at 50.2 Hz. Thus, with relatively little effort, system and supply security are significantly improved which benefits every electricity consumer in Germany.

As a result of operator demands, previous distribution grid connection regulations stipulated that when the power line frequency was too high PV plants had to disconnect from the grid instantly. However, the disconnection of the extremely high level of PV power installed in Germany’s low voltage grid could lead to instabilities and even wide-scale blackouts. For this reason, PV plants should not disconnect completely when the power line frequency is too high, but rather first reduce their power on an infinitely adjustable scale. Facing this challenge head on, over ten leading manufacturers of photovoltaic inverters, including SMA, have declared their intention to ship their products with a modified over-frequency disconnection. SMA was significantly involved in the initiative and has been implementing the FNN transitional regulation of the Forum “Network Technology/Network Operation” (FNN) of the VDE for shipments ex works since May 12, 2011.

For Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO SMA Solar Technology AG, the successful grid integration of solar power will be a primary focus over the coming years. “To ensure the continued growth of photovoltaics, we must increase the integration of solar power energy generation into the grid without any obstacles,” says Urbon. “SMA recognized the importance of grid integration at an early stage and is the driving force in developments in this area.” SMA has worked for a long time on the abolition of the 50.2 Hz disconnection. “The voluntary self-obligation [1] to frequency-dependent actual power control of photovoltaic plants on the low voltage grid means that widespread grid stability can be guaranteed, even with high feed-in levels of solar power,” adds Bernd Engel, Senior Vice President Technology. “This means we can offer providers a high level of planning security, as they will not need to convert their plants in 2012.”

SMA not only ships devices ex works according to the FNN transitional regulation, we also provide tools for installers to commission newly-installed PV plants according to the FNN transitional regulation through comprehensive information available online which includes instructions and necessary software updates. Furthermore, when more information on later retrofitting of PV plants becomes available, SMA will announce it on its website.

[1] This voluntary self-obligation was compiled by the German Solar Industry Association in cooperation with the FNN (Forum “Network Technology/Network Operation” in the VDE) and the German Federal Network Agency and is valid as technical information until the VDE/FNN application rule “Generating plants on the low voltage grid” becomes binding, probably on January 1, 2012. Additional information is available at for downloading.

About SMA
With sales of €1.9 billion in 2010, the SMA Group is the global leader in the PV inverter market, which are a central component of every PV plant. The SMA group is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel in Germany. It is represented by 17 international subsidiaries on four continents. In 2010, the group employed a staff of more than 5,000 (including temporary employees). SMA produces a broad range of inverter types, offering suitable inverters for any type of photovoltaic module and for PV plants of all sizes. The product portfolio includes inverters both for PV plants connected to the grid and for off-grid systems. The parent company, SMA Solar Technology AG, has been listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and has been part of the German TecDAX stock index since 2008. SMA has received numerous awards for its excellence as an employer, and recently won first place in Germany's nationwide "Great Place to Work" competition.

Press contact:
SMA Solar Technology AG
Anja Jasper
Tel: +49 561 9522-2805