Firm Says Demand for Green Power Interconnect Product Soaring

Xantrex, manufacturer of Trace brand of interconnect hardware lets consumers make use of both grid power and alternative power including photovoltaics,small wind turbines and micro hydro power.

Published: 20-Feb-2001

ARLINGTON, Wash., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Rolling blackouts and skyrocketing power prices vividly demonstrate that the traditional connection to a utility's power grid no longer guarantees reliable electrical service or stable pricing.

"The country's power and transmission industries are ripe for a revolution," said Ron Pitt, Xantrex Vice President and General Manager of Distributed Residential and Commercial Markets.

Xantrex designs and manufactures the Trace(TM) brand SW and Sunnite product lines that enable customers to generate power independently from green sources like solar photovoltaic panels, small wind turbines and micro hydro plants while maintaining a link to the local utility's grid.

"Over the last year, sales of Xantrex grid tie products have tripled," said Pitt. "With soaring power prices and uncertain service, residential and industrial customers are racing to investigate alternatives. There's a growing realization that it's both environmentally responsible and cost-effective to generate independent power."

Worldwide, Xantrex is the largest manufacturer of advanced power conversion products for independent renewable energy systems. More than 200,000 sites worldwide already rely on Xantrex's renewable energy conversion products as their source of primary or backup power.

Both the SW and Sunnite inverters are the essential enabling technology fueling the green power revolution of distributed generation. These products convert the raw DC electric energy created by solar and wind power, fuel cells and other sources into the AC voltage used by household appliances and utilities.

Xantrex's grid interactive products enable customers to participate in the best of both worlds -- independent power or distributed generation -- at home or office while maintaining a grid tie so that excess power can be sold back to the utility.

"That means that sometimes the electric meter runs backwards," said Pitt, "and power costs can be cut dramatically." Nearly half the states in the country, including California, already have net-metering legislation in place, requiring utilities to purchase independent power.

This revolutionary approach to power generation has many other benefits for customers, businesses and the utilities:

-- It provides forward stability in power pricing because the cost of electricity generated, for example, by a solar electric system will not change or be subject to market or inflationary forces.

-- Independent electricity generation, produced at the point of consumption, eases the strain on the increasingly overtaxed transmission grid by helping utilities shave peak power demands.

Many utilities directly support homeowners' efforts to purchase and install their own grid tie power systems. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUT), for example, has a cost-shared installation program for houses and businesses with rooftop solar units providing over 1.5 megawatts of clean electricity for Smut's grid. When the solar systems produce more energy than the customer can use, the excess is sold back to SMUT at retail value.

Part of the growing acceptance of the Xantrex grid tie products is the emergence of new industry standards. With nationally recognized standards now available, barriers to the widespread use of solar and other renewable energy sources on the public power grid have been virtually eliminated.

"Certification to these standards is significant because it guarantees the compatibility of our grid interactive products with the utility infrastructure," said Pitt.

In support of independent power generation, the California Energy Commission (www.energy.ca.gov) offers cash rebates of up to 50 percent for solar and other renewable systems installed by residential customers. All Xantrex grid tie products qualify.

Background

Xantrex Technology Inc, a private company, is a world-leading developer and manufacturer of advanced power electronics and controls with products from 50 watts to 1 megawatt. The company holds leading positions in Test & Measurement, Consumer, Mobile, Backup, and Distributed Residential and Industrial markets.

Xantrex's power electronics products convert raw electrical power from an energy source to high quality usable electrical power that meets user needs. The company's advances in power electronics are resulting in smaller, lighter, smarter, highly efficient and reliable systems that are a key enabling technology for its existing markets as well as for emerging markets in wind, solar, advanced batteries, fuel cells, flywheels, microturbines and back-up power.

With (for Cdn release) $170 million in revenue, (for US release, use $115 million) the company has extensive experience in multiple applications and markets, with rapid product development and commercialization processes. Its world class manufacturing capability and customer support provide customers with the most comprehensive and cost-effective power electronics solutions and services.

The company's products are sold under the Trace, Statpower, Heart, and Xantrex brands to diversified customers that include industry leaders such as Applied Materials, Astropower, Ballard Power Systems, BP Solar, Cisco, Compaq, Enron, Fleetwood, Kyocera, Monaco, Plug Power, Schlumberger, Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Xcellsis and channel partners such as Canadian Tire, Costco, Sam's Club, TestEquity, US Marine and West Marine.

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