Siemens announces large-scale inverter plans for India

In a statement released, Siemens has said it will once again be manufacturing and distributing inverters.

Its re-entry into the market will see Siemens India and Sinacon PV manufacturing a new generation of solar PV central inverters with an output up to 5,000 kVA, in the German company’s Kalwa plant near Mumbai.

The inverters will be part of its new electrical Balance of Plant (eBoP) solution for PV power plant installations. The company has also said it will locally assemble medium voltage inverter stations.

“The Sinacon PV is equipped with 3 level IGBT modules, has an outdoor design for harsh environments with fluid cooling and can operate up to 60°C ambient temperature,” said Siemens in a statement released.

Commenting on the news, Cormac Gilligen, Senior Solar Analyst at IHS Markit told pv magazine, “The scale of market now makes it possible for Siemens to re-enter the market and compete effectively.

“It makes sense that they are releasing a large 5MW in order to compete with very low prices. It is necessary to have a local production in order to avoid the good sales tax for PV inverters.

“Siemens can play the market in other ways by providing much of the electrical balance of systems also like the transformers and switchgear. It will also bring huge bankability and ability to get finance in a volatile global solar market.”

Distribution will occur both in the domestic Indian market, and other, unidentified regions.

Harald Griem, Executive Vice-President and Head of Energy Management, Siemens Ltd, said, “The National Solar Mission of the Government aims to establish India as a global leader in solar energy. Siemens aspires to contribute to this with local value-addition in line with Make in India.”

Last week, the Indian Government announced plans to ramp up India’s domestic renewable energy manufacturing industry via an auction for facilities totaling 20 GW. The ministry is working on a scheme and will soon issue an Expression of Interest (EoI) to industry. It is hoped the announcement will encourage and support the “Make in India” policy in the RE sector.

Siemens was not immediately available for comment. pv magazine has contacted the company for more information.

Scaling back

In November 2012, a Siemens spokesperson told pv magazine the company would be significantly scaling back its inverter business. “Against the background of weakening demand for PV components we are planning to tune our inverter business for photovoltaic systems to the changed circumstances in the market and scale down business significantly,” they said at the time.

After exiting the market, Siemens announced in 2015 it had joined forces with SMA Solar Technology AG to produce container solutions combining a 2.5 MW central inverter from SMA with medium-voltage transformers and switchgears from Siemens.

According to Reuters on November 30, the relationship will terminate at the end of this. Siemens, meanwhile, is showing off its new inverters off at Intersolar India, on now.