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Inverters are increasingly becoming digital all-rounders, facilitating new applications and business models in the areas of self-consumption, storage, smart homes, power-to-heat, e-mobility and grid services. One current trend is for digital platforms.

Driven by digitalization, innovation cycles for inverters are becoming ever shorter. Integrated communication packages with wifi, energy management systems and multiple interfaces are now standard in many cases. Inverters are thus developing into much more than just the electronic “brain” of a photovoltaic installation – they are also being used to control, monitor and integrate solar batteries, power-to-heat, smart home applications and electric vehicles.

Recently, for example, a renowned manufacturer introduced the first inverter with an integrated charging function for electric cars onto the European market. Another current trend is the integration of consumption regulators to control heating elements for hot water production in boilers and buffer storage, or for infrared heating systems run on excess solar power. Battery inverters can be used to optimize PV self-consumption, to secure an interruption-free emergency power supply, or into the megawatt range for grid services. To maintain the necessary voltage stability in the power grid, many modern PV inverters and battery inverters can also feed in reactive power as and when it is needed.

The major trend of the moment, according to analysts at IHS Markit, is the development of new digital business models by inverter manufacturers. These business models rely on digital platforms where the companies can combine their core expertise in the field of PV inverters with software and cloud services. In another new development, inverter manufacturers are founding subsidiaries for digital energy solutions in order capitalize on new opportunities for creating added value.

Intersolar Europe in Munich (June 20–22, 2018) will showcase pioneering new developments and trends and point the way forward for the industry.