Revamping opportunities are booming in Italy during 2017. Santerno is more and more engaged in this challenging market to enforce both PV and O&M segments.

A basic graph reveals the fast acceleration of revamping requests we received in Santerno during last 18 months. Inverter population age in Italy, being installation history started back in 2008, counts roughly 500 MW inverters older than 10 years, 2.5 GW older than 8 years. Is a massive inverter end-of-life approaching ? Or is this a consequence of natural selection of bad products/installations ?

Difficult to respond. Each intervention we finalized was very specific and any request had different motivation. Nonetheless 2017 seems to be the key year and collected signals confirm the strength of inverter revamping market in Italy.

INVERTER TYPE
Almost all requests we received concern centralized inverters, indoor, installed in shelters or cabins.
System voltage is typically 600V or 800V, with ac voltage in the range 200 – 300 Vac.

ROOT CAUSES
Revamping motivation is mainly related to: low performances, disruptive fault, unavailable spare parts, long reparation time and unsustainable cost, unsatisfactory relationship with inverter manufacturer and/or local representative.
The above listed reasons are enhanced when the manufacturer disappeared from the market, or is still operating but decided not to support older inverters anymore.
The most typical fault, as per our experience, can be addressed to components located in DC section. An electric arc is sometime involved, extending fault to the entire inverter or, in the worst cases, to the cabin.
We observed also several cases of component aging in DC capacitor section and IGBT section. Ventilation condition appears to be often inadequate resulting in a faster degradation of electronic equipment.

SOLUTIONS
Santerno is providing inverter for revamping several brands, types and sizes, providing engineering needed to finalize installation and connection. We propose two basic solutions:
– as-built revamping, based on same voltage-class inverters. All 600V and 800V Santerno inverters can be still produced by orders. Moreover, those products have been update both technically and in terms of certificates on a regular base.
– smart revamping, based on new generation modular inverters, properly configured to suitably operate in the exiting plant.

Whatever the choice, that is supported step by step by our sales engineers, the main result is to minimize impact on technical rooms, exclude any impact on PV array cabling, AC parallel section, step-up transformer.
Installed inverters are equipped with the latest monitoring devices and technology, providing the old plant with all amazing progress achieved during last years on this technologies.

Last, we are glad to offer Santerno O&M service to our customers, at inverter and at plant level.