This product innovation provides benefits of module-level monitoring while avoiding all the complication, costs and disadvantages of existing module-level products.

Combining the Advantages of Module-level Power Electronics and String Inverter Topology

Thomas Enzendorfer | Solar Energy Division Fronius USA

Tell us a little bit about Fronius USA.

Fronius USA LLC, headquartered in Portage, Indiana, is the leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter technology. The company is a subsidiary of Fronius International GmbH, headquartered in Wels, Austria. Fronius USA LLC has three divisions: Perfect Welding, Solar Energy and Perfect Charging. Through innovation and new technologies, Fronius USA has become a resource for quality service, products and innovations to the growing solar industry. For more information, please visit www.fronius-usa.com.

You have a new product innovation, describe what that is.

The Fronius FE Inverter Line is our proven string inverter technology paired with  module-level optimization, creating  one seamless application. Installers and system owners can look forward to reduced installation costs, greater design flexibility and overall system efficiency, as we take integration of power electronics, module management and data monitoring to the next level. Also, as with every Fronius product, customers are provided with a streamlined support and service structure. This product innovation provides benefits of  module-level monitoring while avoiding all the complication, costs and disadvantages of existing module-level products.

How is this innovation different from current technology?

The Fronius FE Inverter Line  combines the advantages of module-level power electronics and string inverter topology without the disadvantages of microinverter applications. Current technology can generally be divided into three categories: string inverters, microinverters and optimizers. String inverters exhibit great strength and reliability however lack in significant advantages in design flexibility. Microinverters, although offer the benefit of module-level data monitoring, fail frequently and are roof-mounted which cause a slew of other problems in the realm of power electronics. Optimizers, such as those from SolarEdge, are also a great option but exhibit the same challenges of having many units and external power electronics to complete a functional system. This Fronius innovation transcends these products with all power electronics necessary, while boasting all the advantages of the optimizers or microinverters without a roof mount, integrated inside of the inverter. 

What do you think this will mean for the PV Industry as a whole?

In complex rooftop Design layout situations, the Fronius FE Inverter Line will, for the very first time, enable installers to utilize Fronius’ industry leading truly field serviceable  inverter.  Without the additional BOS system costs and without the extra box (cost and installation).  Simply put, you have all of the advantages without the disadvantages of the string inverter.

When will it be available or what is the timeline for roll out?

Available from select distributors starting September 2014 

Where do you see Fronius USA 5 – 10 years down the road?

As the leading and premiere inverter manufacturer, we see Fronius continue to innovate and become the number one solar technology solution provider in North America.

What are the next steps for Fronius regarding this product?

Due to great demand from the market, Fronius USA is focused on ramping up manufacturing capacities in order to fulfill already existing orders and expected continued demand. 

 

Thomas Enzendorfer

Director of Solar Energy Division

Fronius USA

Thomas Enzendorfer serves as the Director for the Solar Energy Division of Fronius USA, the North American sales, support and distribution center for Fronius International GmbH, headquartered in Austria. Specializing in energy conversion technologies, with separate divisions for Solar Electronics, Welding Technology and Battery Charging Systems, Fronius International GmbH has more than 65 years of experience and employs more than 3,000 people globally.

In his role at Fronius USA, Enzendorfer oversees all sales and after-sales for the Solar Energy Division, including technical support and product management with life-cycle support. He previously served as head of the company’s legal departments and was also the site selection project coordinator for Fronius' new U.S. headquarters in Portage, IN, which opened in September 2012.

Prior to joining Fronius USA, Enzendorfer co-founded and managed joint ventures and conducted multiple successful mergers and acquisitions.

Thomas and his wife, Laura, live in Chicago with their daughter.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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