BoS rules of thumb, field food for thought

From an Intersolar session on power electronics, three rules of thumb about inverters and converters, and why there’s no real substitute for field experience.

July 12, 2011 – Exhibitor presence at Intersolar US 2011 doubled over the previous year, meaning crowded aisles and many opportunities for ad hoc networking.

During the Power Electronics Monday seminar, some interesting rules of thumb were offered:

Micro-inverters: 90%-95% efficient and 50 Euro-cents to $1.00/Wp along with ease-of-replacement concerns

String inverters: Higher in efficiency, and 20-30 Euro-cents/Wp, easy to replace, and becoming more reliable

DC/DC converters: Average 40-80 Euro-cents/Wp

A session on BIPV brought home a point worth remembering: Manufacturer module ratings often do not reflect real-world *field* performance. Certainly words to remember that are often overlooked in these competitive days of ever-cheaper solar.

Paula Mints is principal analyst, PV Services Program, and director in the energy practice at Navigant Consulting. E-mail:

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