ABB has opened its first production line for solar string inverters and an engineering centre in Jüri, Estonia, to meet growing long-term demand for solar-power technology.
The new production line has a yearly capacity of 400 megawatt and can rapidly expand in response to the growing long-term demand for solar inverters if required. The engineering centre supports the solar inverter business as well as the motors and drives factories that are based at the same location.
"We strongly believe that solar energy will be used increasingly in our energy mix to reduce the effects of power generation on climate change and we expect that production volumes in this plant will grow steadily in the long term," said Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB's Discrete Automation and Motion division. "This step is a milestone in our expanding solar technology offering."
In addition, ABB has also invested in a new solar plant. The plant has a capacity of 25 kilowatt and is the largest solar installation mounted on the roof of a building in Estonia. It will be used mainly for testing and demonstration purposes in conjunction with the new production line. Each inverter is tested and its efficiency measured before it leaves the factory to ensure correct specifications and quality requirements.
Solar inverters convert the direct current generated by photovoltaic cells into alternating current that can be fed into the grid and are key components in an energy infrastructure that harnesses the power of the sun. The inverters produced in Estonia are so-called string inverters used in residential and commercial roof top applications.
"The high-tech production hub in Estonia and its highly skilled technological workforce make the country an excellent supply base for ABB," said Spiesshofer.
ABB has been operating in Estonia since 1992. The company employs 1,130 staff at 4 production sites. Over the years Estonia has become an important high-tech production hub for ABB and has been home to one of three global feeder factories for wind power generators.
The speed with which Estonia adopts new technology is shown by the recent order from Kredex, the Estonian state-owned export credit agency, for more than 500 ABB electric car chargers, to be installed across the country.