Solar

Listen Up: Let’s Talk Microinverters and the Future of Rooftop Solar

One of my customers recently asked, somewhat flippantly: “What’s a microinverter, and why should I care?” Those are the two basic questions that Paul Nahi, CEO of Enphase Energy, answers on today’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.

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Microinverters are like fuel injectors in car engines. Maybe only mechanics care about the difference between an old fashioned carburetor and multiple fuel injectors. But anyone who drives a car can appreciate the improvement in performance and gas mileage. Over the past five years the residential solar industry’s been going through a similar transition from central inverters to individual microinverters on every panel. Installers care about the difference, and homeowners gain the benefits from better performance and safer operation.

Enphase Energy changed the residential inverter playing field when they introduced the first popular microinverter in 2008. Although it took a few years, now Enphase has over 50 percent market share in the U.S. residential market. There are two key reasons for this dominant market share. First, Enphase has done a great job in executing their business growth. And second, microinverters offer very compelling advantages to both installers and homeowners. So tune into this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for a quick primer on microinverters, as well as Enphase’s view of the future of rooftop solar.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock