The future of solar PV

Xenos is an upcoming product from Sunvertec, leveraging Direct Drive technology at solar photovoltaics.

Direct Drive allows Xenos to be a first-of-its-kind modular inverter, sizeable to any solar array. Pure AC is generated across the solar panels utilising a highly efficient technique, with MPPT provided per Inverter Optimiser.

The three building blocks of a Xenos Distributed Inverter System:

Before Xenos

There are two main ways to connect solar panels to the grid today.

The first, the most common (here in Australia), is to connect a lot of solar panels together to generate a high voltage DC, commonly over 500VDC. This high voltage DC is cabled down to a central “string” inverter which converts these high DC voltages to 230VAC for connection to the grid. There are many disadvantages of this approach, including not being able to monitor individual panels, “weakest link” phenomena with shading dragging down performance, safety concerns, and not being able to extend existing systems. The inverter also has to be appropriately sized for the solar installation, further reducing flexibility.

To gain monitoring and improve efficiency additional “DC Optimisers” can be connected to each solar panel before connecting them to a string inverter. These DC optimisers do however increase complexity and cost.

The alternative to the string inverter solution, up until now, has been micro–inverters. These replicate the entire grid connection on every single solar panel (or pair of solar panels), which carries both efficiency and cost disadvantages. They however carry safety advantages, per panel monitoring, and optimisation advantages over a conventional string inverter system.

An all-new approach

The core component of Xenos is the Xenos Inverter Optimiser.

Xenos Inverter Optimisers connect up to 4 solar panels to a Xenos String.

Xenos Inverter Optimisers are modular, with the number installed depending on the size of the solar PV system. A key difference between Inverter Optimisers and micro-inverters is that Inverter Optimisers do not duplicate the complexity of grid connection. They are each low voltage parts, connected in series, forming a string.

By keeping to low voltages, electronics can be made smaller, more efficient, lower cost, and with higher power handling than existing technologies. High voltages for grid connection are achieved by connecting together a minimum of 5 Inverter Optimisers. By working together, they produce the voltages required for grid connection.

Preparing the AC produced by the Optimisers for grid-injection is achieved by the Xenos Distriverter mounted at the start of the string. The Distriverter “cleans up” the specialised AC produced by the optimisers and controls the current and voltage produced by the system. As the Xenos Distriverter is only performing a minor adjustment on the output, rather than converting DC to AC like a string inverter, it is capable of operating at extremely high efficiencies (> 99.8%) assuring a very long-life for the low voltage electronics involved.

With Xenos, the design is totally modular, with each piece of the system working together to produce grid-ready AC. The system design offers redundancy too: should an Optimiser fail, the rest will continue along without it.

The design of Xenos allows each module to do just what it does best. By having each part of the system work together, efficiency can be boosted, and costs can be reduced, making solar power more affordable and more efficient.

Key Features

  • Typical conversion efficiency exceeding 99%
  • Dual 75Vmpp 600W inputs (1200W combined) per Inverter Optimiser
  • Record efficiency and size
  • Low cost, low voltage, series connected electronics
  • Modular design allows extending of systems
  • Optimiser Cable connections
    • Eliminates both trunk and return cables
    • Disconnection near instantly brings the system to standby preventing arcing

As an upcoming product, Xenos specifications are subject to change. The above represents Xenos as per most recent prototyping stage.