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Up in the clouds

PES caught up with Richard Reno, Senior Executive, Renewables Segment, GE’s Power Conversion business, to hear about their capacity to supply every aspect of a solar farm’s lifespan, the importance of digitalization and Predix, their open cloud-based digital platform.

PES: We are pleased to welcome you to PES Solar/PV. Would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of your organization and how you currently serve the solar/PV industry?

Richard Reno: Sure. We are Power Conversion, GE’s electrification business. We provide electrical equipment and digital solutions that cover the life cycle of our customers’ energy projects. Now you see, energy demand will continue to outstrip supply in the years to come. To close this energy deficit, you need to continuously provide clean, affordable and reliable electricity. At Power Conversion, we do just that.

Let’s take solar as an example. We are able to supply every aspect of a solar farm’s lifespan—from finance to equipment to digital solutions and long-term service.

We were the first to launch a 1,500-volt inverter technology and the 1,500-volt system is rapidly becoming the industry norm. We are also introducing silicon carbide to inverters to further unleash efficiency gains, which reach 99 percent weighted EU level.

Our experience with utilities and grid operators has allowed us to apply advanced solutions such as battery storage. Our SunIQ plant control system helps regulate real-time voltage and power to help plants operate more like conventional power plants.

We also see digitization as the next big opportunity. Operations could move to a predictive model, cutting labor costs and greatly reducing the risk of downtime.

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