Interview with Ms. Priya Selvaraj, Vice President and Country Head of Gamesa Electric in India

Expert Interview – February 15, 2024

Name of the Expert: Priya Selvaraj, Vice President and Country Head, Power Electronics Business

Company: Gamesa Electric

Brief intro of Ms. Priya Selvaraj and Gamesa Electric

Priya Selvaraj is the Vice President and Country Head of Gamesa Electric in India. She is responsible for the power electronics business and a manufacturing plant for Gamesa Electric and is focused on driving technology, business development, sales, supply chain, quality, and sustainable manufacturing solutions across the renewable energy industry. She brings more than 25 years of experience in semiconductors and renewable energy industry,

Gamesa Electric is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacturing of electrical equipment, with extensive experience in photovoltaics, energy storage hydro-electric energy, marine propulsion, and wind power applications, among others.

Gamesa Electric has an annual manufacturing capacity of over 7GW of Photovoltaic power converters. Gamesa Electric is a 100% subsidiary of Siemens Gamesa, a global technological leader in the renewable industry.

1. Can you share some of the latest advancements in solar inverter technologies?

The following can be identified as some of the latest advancements in inverter technology.

A. Maximum efficiency-oriented design, including hybrid liquid-air cooling as well as THD<0.7% to minimise losses. We have the highest efficiency in the market with our CoolBrid cooling system.

B. Advanced grid functionalities such as black start or synthetic inertia, which allow renewable plants to behave like conventional power plants by providing grid-forming capabilities to the grid.

2. How much of the technological advancements in solar inverters address specific Indian outdoor environments?

Indeed, the improvements in cooling technology with the CoolBrid liquid-to-air system fits perfectly with the conditions in India as it allows a robust performance in very hot environments without the need to stress the components close to their limits and therefore increasing their lifetime and reliability.

3. What are the latest trends in inverters in the context of grid integration of renewable energy and smart grids?

Grid-forming capabilities is the latest trend for inverters. As renewables increase their penetration in the grid, it is imperative that they can replace conventional power plants in being active agents in grid stabilisation and this means having advanced functionalities such as synthetic inertia, black start or islanding operation.

4. As grid energy storage is increasingly becoming important, is there an important role for inverters in the grid energy storage? If so, what is that role?

The role of battery inverters and controls are certainly key in 2 aspects:

1) the afore mentioned advanced grid functionalities, so that the latest generation inverters have grid-forming rather than grid-following technologies and are active agents of grid stabilisation.

2) On the other hand, they are the brains of the renewable plant, managing the information needed to optimise battery charging and recharging cycles based on grid and market parameters. As smart grids become a reality, inverters and plant controllers (and we have our Orchestra product in this last category) will be a key node in these grids as they collect all the information from the batteries.

5. Can you share more about the products and the R&D activities of Gamesa Electric?

As Gamesa Electric we are constantly researching new technologies and applications but in particular we have just released the Proteus PCS-E battery inverter. For batteries working up to 1500Vdc It is described as the most powerful equipment on the market, capable of managing large energy storage systems. The product offers scalability and can achieve 5.6 MVA of battery discharge power at 40 C with an efficiency rating of 99%.

The Proteus PCS-E is available in various configurations, including single or double DC bus options to handle two independent batteries. It is configurable for different voltage levels (from 480 Vac to 850 Vac): It can operate in both grid following and grid forming mode, serving as a current or voltage source. In grid forming mode, it can function independently from the grid and generate its own grid. It is also designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions.

6. Can you describe your plans for India and the footprint of your Indian Operations?

Today, Gamesa Electric has eight production sites on three continents and employs more than 1000 people, a quarter of whom are engineers. Its business is mainly wind power but in 2022 it triples its orders for solar and storage inverters, partly thanks to the great success of its Proteus product (award winning Photovoltaic product of the year, Intersolar 2022).

We have a manufacturing plant in India where we manufacture both our wind , PV and storage products (PCS), and have developed testing facilities to test and validate our inverters catering to the Indian market requirements

7. How does Gamesa Electric grid forming technology differ from what is already in place? Do you see it ultimately replacing traditional grid generators?

Our ability to achieve a 100% renewable electricity mix does not appear to be limited in terms of technology. Limitations may be associated with permitting bottlenecks, grid constraints or supply chain capacity, but the technology exists and has the potential to replace conventional generators.

When it comes to Gamesa Electric's experience, what makes it stand out most is the experience accumulated over years of development, validation, and actual projects. Siemens Gamesa has a hybrid wind, solar and storage farm where it tests and validates all developments. preparing its equipment for 100% renewable energy grids.

Furthermore, Gamesa Electric has already integrated advanced functions into its converters in commercial wind projects. These experiences lead to continuous improvements for our Proteus (converters for solar PV and energy storage applications) and Orchestra (power plant controller) products.

Thank You!!
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