Solar microinverter enables AC modules, higher efficiency

Enphase Energy Inc., solar microinverter systems provider, will unveil its next-generation microinverter at Solar Power International 2010. The microinverters boast a CEC efficiency of 96% and direct integration with solar panels to reduce BOS load. This article includes a podcast interview with Raghu Belur about the 4 challenges traditional BOS set ups face, and the microinverter solution.

(September 22, 2010)Enphase Energy Inc., solar microinverter systems provider, will unveil its next-generation microinverter at the Solar Power International 2010 Conference and Exposition on October 12-14, 2010.

The next-generation Enphase Microinverter achieves a CEC efficiency of 96%. Advanced system design, semiconductor integration and digital processing were used to develop the microinverter.

Its design allows for direct integration into solar modules, enabling a AC Module product range. The platform offers a simple connector that replaces the junction box. For solar installers, AC Modules can reduce time and cost during the design and construction phases of a solar project, such as wiring, grounding, fastening, and other balance of system (BOS) steps.

In the accompanying audio interview, Enphase Energy co-founder and marketing VP Raghu Belur tells Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, about the four challenges that can be overcome by using microinverters instead of a traditional centralized inverter technology. 1) Traditional centralized inverters are in series, but microinverters are connected in parallel; 2) centralized inverters have to process at high-voltage/high-power (2kW, 20kW, or even 200kW) in a traditional system, whereas only small amounts of power have to be processed (about 200W) in a microinverter and only low amounts of voltage are being switched; 3) from a BoS and labor standpoint, high-voltage components require a large amount of conduit and associated labor, and 4) high-voltage DC is susceptible to arc faults. 

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Enphase’s “AC Module” partners will be announced in early October, before the Solar Power International conference. AC Modules will be on display in the Enphase booth, booth #3809 at SPI. The first AC Module products using Enphase Microinverter technology will be available in H1 2011.

Enphase will also exhibit new software and hardware tools for installers at the conference. These include a new Web-based system for designing, building, and managing Enphase Microinverter Systems, and a new AC Trunk Cable for adjustable sizing. Enphase will display Environ, a solar-integrated smart thermostat, at its booth.

Enphase Energy provides solar energy management systems for residential and commercial markets. The company offers a system that includes high efficiency microinverters, communications and Web-based monitoring and analysis. For more information about Enphase, visit www.enphaseenergy.com.

Also read: Analyst: Microinverters to see 100% annual growth through 2014

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