Yaskawa Solectria Solar inverters to be optimized for First Solar thin film modules


Lawrence, Massachusetts’ Yaskawa Solectria Solar (Solectria) is among the few US-based manufacturers of solar inverters. Only Chilicon Power, which builds microinverters, Alencon, which provides power optimizers, and Generac, which acquired Pika Energy to deliver hybrid inverters, can claim the Made-in-USA designation.

Solectria has formed a partnership with a prominent player in the U.S. manufacturing market: First Solar. The two are working together to optimize the Solectria XGI 1500-250 utility-scale string inverter for First Solar’s thin film cadmium telluride solar modules.

The goal of the partnership is to create a version of the new XGI 1500-250 utility-scale string inverter that allows a grounded DC input, and thereby ensures optimal integration with First Solar’s Series 6 and Series 7 modules. 

“We expect that Solectria’s new inverter design in combination with First Solar’s module technology will help asset owners and operators further enhance the LCOE of their solar installations,” said Alex Kamerer, Manager, Product Management, First Solar. “This effort represents the best of American solar, bringing together leading US-developed photovoltaic technology with US-developed inverter technology to deliver an optimized solution for US solar assets.”

First Solar said its modules are lower-carbon alternatives to traditional crystalline silicon panels. The company also has a robust end-of-life and recycling program it developed in-house.

The SOLECTRIA XGI 1500 inverters are Made in the USA with global components at the Yaskawa America factory in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and are the only PV inverters designed and manufactured in the USA and are Buy America Act (BAA) compliant 

The partnership may prove attractive to developers who are looking to make the most of the incentives within the Inflation Reduction Act. In addition to the 30% investment tax credit, there is a 10% credit adder for projects that use domestically produced hardware. 

To qualify for the 10% credit adder, 100% of steel and iron must be manufactured in the United States. For manufactured goods – like solar panels, inverters, and electrical gear – the goods must initially be 40% U.S. manufactured, though this percentage will increase in the future. 

Historically, for goods to be classified as Made in the USA, they must be composed of at least 55% domestic content. The bill lists some exceptions to these requirements. Items that are not of satisfactory quality, or are not produced in sufficient quantities, may be imported. Items that would increase the project cost by greater than 25% may be sourced outside the US as well. These requirements, and exceptions, will apply to all project sizes. 

Yaskawa Solectria Solar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yaskawa America, Inc. and the largest inverter manufacturer based in the USA, with headquarters in Lawrence, MA, and world-class production facilities in Buffalo Grove, IL and Oak Creek, WI. Solectria’s products include inverters ranging from 25kW to 250kW, string combiners and web-based monitoring for all size solar systems. 

“At Yaskawa Solectria Solar we aim to strengthen our position as leaders in technology and to build on the proven technology of our XGI 1500 inverters. Both companies have US-based design and manufacturing, and this partnership brings together our engineering teams and industry-leading technology at just the right time. We have very exciting opportunities ahead working closely with First Solar” said Miles C. Russell, Director of Product Management at Yaskawa Solectria Solar. 

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