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250 kW Solar String Inverter Using Silicon Carbide (SiC) Modular Architecture and Grid Support Functionality

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019967
Agency Tracking Number: 0000254210
Amount: $1,099,693.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 12f
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002156
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-24
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-08-23
Small Business Information
2875 W Oxford Avenue Suite 2
Englewood, CO 80110-4397
United States
DUNS: 080984774
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Roger Bell
 (303) 517-6999
Business Contact
 Roger Bell
Phone: (845) 325-8123
Research Institution

This project seeks to develop a new disruptive power electronics technology for solar power inverters that is manufacturable in the USA, provides a path to significant reductions in specific cost, leverages recent technological advances in silicon carbide (SiC) power MOSFETs, and develops a new proprietary inverter approach that realizes these goals. The new technology will provide compact string inverters for utility-scale photovoltaic farms having higher power ratings and higher power density, with a path to reduced cost and increased U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. The technology can contribute to grid reliability and will reduce the balance of system costs. The project will develop the BREK250™, a compact 250 kW string inverter product based on a new photovoltaic string inverter technology that leverages emerging SiC MOSFET technology to achieve transformational advances in cost, power density, efficiency, and reliability. The Phase I project led to a 125 kW prototype that was tested at the NREL Energy Systems Integration Facility, and that demonstrated the feasibility of using SiC switching modules for photovoltaics inverters capable of operating at higher temperatures and power densities than current Si-only technology. CEC efficiency in the 98.5% to 99% range was demonstrated. During Phase II, we will develop and demonstrate the full power electronics of a 250 kW string inverter, including modules and control algorithms not addressed in Phase I. This includes neutral-balancing circuitry, EMI filters, closed-loop current control, and improved optimization of efficiency via novel control algorithms. We will work with contract manufacturers to refine the accuracy of our bill of materials, assembly cost, and cost vs. volume. Phase II will culminate with testing of a 250 kW prototype string inverter at the NREL Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), including measurement of operating characteristics and CEC efficiency. The project will provide compact three-phase 1500 V string inverters for large-scale domestic commercial and utility scale solar power installations.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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