Solar Power Challenges
Solar power production is affected by various factors such as module mis-match, obstruction shading, inter-row shading, and obstacles such as dust or debris. In addition, non-uniform changes in temperature, irradiance, and shading create complex current-voltage curves, further affecting energy harvest. This is due to the fact that in traditional systems the performance of the entire system is dictated by the performance of the weakest module.
The Enphase Solution
The Enphase Energy Micro-inverter System solves solar power challenges by performing Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) at each solar module. MPPT is an algorithm used to calculate and respond to temperature and light changes detected on a solar power system, and to determine how much power to draw from the module. In contrast, centralized inverter's MPPT algorithm sees the entire solar power system as a single module, and responds to the lowest production numbers it detects.
The Enphase MPPT algorithm works at each solar module in an installation and achieves greater than 99.6% accuracy which enables it to maximize energy harvest at all times, even during variable light conditions. Tests show systems using Enphase Micro-inverters increase energy harvest by as much as 25% over systems using traditional inverters.
Traditional centralized inverters implementations create a single point of failure for solar power systems. If the inverter fails, the entire system is disabled. Enphase Micro-inverters convert power independently at each solar module. If one micro-inverter fails, the rest continue to operate as usual. Also, if a micro-inverter is damaged or fails, it can be replaced during routine maintenance or when convenient, further reducing maintenance costs.
Reduced Operational Costs
With the Enphase Micro-inverter System, installers are no longer limited by string design, marginal designs, co-planarity, and matched modules. The space, heat, and noise associated with a large inverter are eliminated. Enphase Micro-inverter Systems improve mechanical integration, reduce wiring time, and remove the need for DC switching points.
Another benefit of the distributed Micro-inverter design is the potential for installations to be expanded over time. An initial set of solar modules can be installed and additional modules added as needs and budgets grow without requiring the replacement of a large centralized inverter.
Compliance and Reliability
The Enphase Microinverter is CSA Listed per UL1741 and can withstand surges of up to 6kV. Enphase Microinverter Systems undergo rigorous testing including HALT and HASS, ensuring reliability. Independent testing by Relex – a leading third party reliability expert – has shown an estimated Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) of 331 years for Enphase Microinverters.
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