ARDA’s first target market is “next generation” solar energy. Solar energy is experiencing double digit growth with expectations for 40-49GW of new installations globally in 2014, up from 36GW in 2013. While solar technology is relatively mature, it is undergoing a transition to a new generation of designs that increasingly integrate energy storage to smooth generation and to better respond to demand. Recent legislation in California and Puerto Rico, high retail rates in Germany, an increasing focus on storage in China and Japan, and the decreasing cost of batteries, make storage more and more cost effective, and therefore more attractive as an integral part of solar installations. In fact according to IHS annual PV installations including storage are forecast to increase from under 200MW in 2013 to 6GW in 2017, with commercial solar installations representing the largest source of growth.
ARDA’s Solar Plus Storage Solution, based on proprietary ARDA-grid technology, addresses “next generation” requirements for a low cost, safer, and energy efficient solar solution specifically designed for systems incorporating storage or designed from the start to be storage ready. The solution includes ARDA’s High Boost DC Converter and Bi-Directional DC Converter and provides multiple benefits to both distributed and centralized solar systems. These benefits include:
- Easy integration of solar and storage WITHOUT a second inverter by using ARDA-Grid technology to provide a common, constant, high voltage DC-link
- Isolation between solar arrays and batteries without the need for expensive isolated bi-directional converters on the storage side by using ARDA's High Boost DC Converter on the solar side
- Simplified controls and reduced inverter cost with ARDA-Grid topology
- Increased flexibility to modify energy management algorithms when required for varying battery technologies or local regulations
- Easy integration of fuel cells and other distributed energy sources or loads
- Increased solar energy harvest with maximum power point tracking across small groups of modules
- Enhanced safety since the modules operate at low voltage
- Increased system availability: if some modules are down, other modules or battery continue to operate safely
ARDA’s solution for “next generation” solar energy is being validated in a 2MW solar system installed in Ontario by a globally recognized engineering firm. The deployment includes critical components also used in the company’s fuel cell and micro-grid solutions. Because ARDA’s technology and solutions are modular and built around common components each solution leverages prior successes and technology validation.
While ARDA’s solar solution is optimized for storage ready systems there is also an important niche market for rooftop systems in the United States where safety is at a premium due to recent changes in the National Electric Code and a national focus on fire safety. ARDA’s solutions, which operate at the array level at 80VDC rather than the 600 or 1000 VDC of competing systems, cost effectively meet the demands of this new market niche.