One the largest hurdles to people and businesses embracing solar energy is the cost. The panels themselves make up a great deal of total expense, but there are also additional components to consider to get that energy working with your home. The most common accessory to any good solar installation is the inverter. This piece of equipment converts the solar panel’s DC energy to AC. A new firm called Enphase Energy hopes to remove this cost and produce micro-inverters; so small that each panel will receive their own. From the article,
Chief Executive Paul Nahi said this will mean simplified installation and management, better reliability, and more total electricity per panel—though he declined to offer specific figures. Each inverter will have a communication device that feeds information to a web-based monitoring system. If one panel is down or is working poorly, the company will notify the owner and give advice on repair. Also, since each panel has its own inverter, if one goes down the remaining panels can still generate electricity.
As expected, those companies involved in the inverter business are eyeing this new development very carefully; especially since Enphase just raised $6.5 million in second-round venture funding. According to the article, the company plans to make its technology commercially available in the second-quarter of 2008. Stay tuned!