On Wednesday, July 20 , over 100 solar scientists, financiers, developers and other key players cooled off in the MaRS Auditorium with a panel discussion on one of the hottest sectors in Ontario right now: the solar sector.

Beyond the Solar Module: Optimizing system performance and maximizing returns sparked conversations about future collaborations and potential grid constraint solutions in Ontario.

Inverters the burning issue in Ontario solar

The highest single cost component in a PV system after the solar panel is the inverter, so it’s no surprise that they were the focus of attention at the event. The question on everyone’s mind was how the solar industry could prevent inverters from becoming a utility barrier.

One proposed solution was to better understand inverters’ performance characteristics. Where measurement responsibility landed was still up in the air—should it fall to the utilities, the inverter manufacturers or should it be a collaborative effort between both? A representative from an inverter manufacturer explained how Ontario inverter companies are addressing this issue:

“One thing inverter companies have already started doing in Ontario is power factor correction to enable utilities to correct inductive or capacitive load requirements in different parts of their transmission and distribution system. Future collaboration could replicate what other jurisdictions in the world such as Germany are doing, using utility controls to scale back power on inverters when it reaches a percentage of load to ensure grid stability even during peak times.”

Inverters weren’t the only topic on the table; panelists and attendees also addressed connection capacity constraints across Ontario, renewable power monitoring best practices and other power electronics and monitoring components.

This event brought Ontario’s solar community together to learn more about the industry—where it stands today, as well as where it’s heading—and best practices, including those from other jurisdictions. Importantly, it highlighted the opportunities that exist for different organizations, groups and individuals to work together to make Ontario’s solar industry brighter, stronger and better than ever.

Jesika Briones, MaRS Cleantech Research Analyst, speaks with the Kortright Centre’s David Nixon about Kortright, the components of a solar pv system and the state of the Ontario solar industry.

Jesika Briones

Jesika is the International Program Manager for the Advanced Energy Centre. She works with MaRS cleantech advisors and experts from academia, industry and government to support the development and adoption of clean energy technologies in local and international markets. See more…