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Merit Controls releases new power plant controller for string inverter projects

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 15th October

Merit Controls, a provider of grid integration products and services for renewable energy power plants, announced a new Rapid-Response Power Plant Controller (PPC) positioned to drive growth in the utility-scale sector. Merit Controls’ Rapid-Response PPC, a first-of-its-kind solution, enables a programmatic approach to U.S. clean energy deployment, providing solar PV power plants entrance into lucrative ancillary markets —with or without energy storage.

“The value that string inverters bring to larger installations has made them a popular choice internationally for utility-scale projects,” said Tom Kuster, CEO of Merit Controls. “Merit Controls’ solution is a milestone toward accommodating that trend as it inevitably continues into the United States. Our Rapid-Response PPC leverages the maintenance efficiencies and potentially higher energy yield of string inverters. Additionally, our Rapid-Response PPC opens revenue opportunities in all ancillary markets while maintaining compliance and bolstering grid security. The technology is key to advancing our decarbonization goals and fighting the impacts of climate change.”

Benefits of Merit Controls’ Rapid-Response PPC + string inverter solution include:

Ancillary market participation

Energy storage or central inverters traditionally have been required to participate in ancillary service markets. Merit’s approach breaks that paradigm in the U.S. by combining string inverters with their Rapid-Response PPC to meet the most stringent frequency response requirements. This allows optimized ancillary service revenue streams in any U.S. ISO or utility market, such as ERCOT.

Higher availability and energy yield

Merit’s Rapid-Response PPC manages capacity through multiple string inverters, simplifying maintenance and maximizing revenue. It effectively works with the string inverter architecture to mitigate the risks of downtime and power flow disruptions. While projects in geographies with land undulation levelize output to the lowest-producing panel, employing distributed string inverters minimizes mismatch losses and improves yield, which is important when project economics are often tight.

Pricing consistency

Conventional wisdom assumes that using string inverters can add capital costs when compared to a central inverter system. However, combining Merit’s Rapid-Response PPC with string inverters makes them suitable for a wide variety of project capacities and regions, especially for developers that standardize on the Merit approach and purchase in high volumes. Enhancing string inverter versatility with Merit’s Rapid-Response PPC — in addition to operations and maintenance savings and the inherent benefits of string inverter technology — drives higher returns. Employing Merit’s modeling services during the project development phase can streamline and de-risk the interconnection process, further reducing costs.

“Pioneering and advancing technology to allow renewable penetration in all U.S. markets is just one way we are setting the standard for renewable energy project grid integration and proliferation,” Kuster said. “We advocate for our clean energy future in everything we do. We look forward to working together with the developer community to achieve that vision.”

News item from Merit Controls