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2008-10-31 12:43:31.56193+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Result of a coffee shop conversation yesterday: Enphase Energy makes "micro-inverters" for solar installations, so instead of using one big inverter, you put an inverter on each panel. Simplifies wiring, gives you efficiency information for each panel assembly (so you know what's getting shaded, which ones need cleaning, etc), and they're a Petaluma company.

[ related topics: Photovoltaics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-31 14:05:06.332678+00 by: meuon

Interesting. $200 for a 200 watt module, $350 for the data collector and a year of SaaS web based monitoring, 5 years of monitoring/SaaS for $650, a typical 5kw install would have 25 200 watt panels, or $5k in Enphase inverters, which is about where the large single inverts run for same output range. I see some technical advantages.. for systems where you are feeding the grid.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-31 19:36:36.635734+00 by: Diane Reese

Hmm. We had that priced as part of the grid we're putting on our roof this year, but were told by the installer that they had to take it out of the quote, since they weren't available yet for the PV panels we chose. Hmm.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-31 20:00:00.123675+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I've been helping a friend work on the whole solar idea, for a remote rural farm house it would be a good idea. As we researched dealers, installers, brands, including a local: http://www.bigfrogmountain.com/ - we are amazed at the variety of mis-information and lack of a coherent supply chain and dealer standards.

What does it take to become a "wholesale" dealer? A Visa card.

I'd like to know how 'clean' of a sine wave those Enphase units are. I'm monitoring a small switching inverter right now with some insane votage harmonics, and the current harmonics are nearly undecipherable, 2nd through 31st harmonics.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-31 20:14:02.914942+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hmmmm, interesting. I haven't much worried about clean sine waves any more given that everything's a switching power supply nowadays, but yesterday I had a little go-'round with an arc fault breaker and the Festool dust collector (used as a vacuum cleaner inside the house), and given that these CFL bulbs seem to be fragile as all heck electronically, I wonder what sort of input they like.

I think I'm going to have to find me an introduction.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-31 20:30:32.362345+00 by: meuon

Switching power supplies = Noise Generators. Most of them capacitively. And cheap inverters are also "noisey". The utility typically won't pay for a good meter, but that's changing as good meters are getting cheaper. One reason for them to pay for good meters is they can refuse power that is not clean, in phase/sync with current availability (power factor) in sync with the voltage sine wave. As more people go solar, the utility, who pays out a premium for spot generation that many really don't care about, will be more demanding about the quality of that power.