eIQ unveils new converter modules for “parallel” solar installs

Startup eIQ Energy has released two new DC-DC converter modules that it says can reduce installed cost and improve efficiency of solar power arrays.

October 15, 2009 – Startup eIQ Energy has released two new DC-DC converter modules that it says can reduce installed cost and improve efficiency of solar power arrays.

Panels and inverters get most of the attention as cost drivers in PV system installations, but there are opportunities for cost savings in other “balance of system” (BOS) components, such as wiring, junction boxes, ranks, etc. eIQ says its vBoost converters (250W sells for ~$100, a 350W version for $130) can cut total system costs by 5%-10% by eliminating much of those BOS components — e.g., by integrating wiring and snap-on connector, and with a distributed maximum power point tracking that keeps inverters within optimal ranges. This leads to simpler array designs, extended lifetimes, and 5%-30% better power harvesting, the company claims.

Applying DC power management technology also allows many more panels to be connected on one cable. The converter modules are the core of eIQ’s Parralux system (launched a few weeks ago), which can connect a lot more PV solar panels on one cable — for example, a 20-fold improvement over conventional string architecture for hooking up thin-film panel arrays.

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