Enphase Microinverters in the UK

Enphase Microinverters in the UK

by James Martin II on October 22, 2012

 

Enphase is a microinverter technology manufacturer and solar system solution developer based in California. With the company’s launch at the Solar Power UK 2012 tradeshow, Enphase microinverter solutions are now available in the United Kingdom.

What is a microinverter?

Microinverters are the next-generation of solar system technology. Whereas the far more prolific, conventional centralised inverter systems have only 1 centralised inverter for the entire solar panel array, microinverter systems couple a microinverter with each solar panel. Systems that use microinverters have a number of potential advantages over conventional systems in terms of system design flexibility, ease of installation, installation costs, and system power yields. Accordingly, such systems are growing in popularity, numbers, and affordability.

Some of the general advantages of a microinverter system over a conventional system include:

-Greater system power yields, especially in cases of partial shading of the solar panel array compared to conventional systems that have ‘strings’ of solar panels

Enphase Microinverter shading advantages

The microinverter advantage in partially shaded conditions. (Click to enlarge. Image via Enphase Energy.)

-Remove potentially more dangerous outgoing high-voltage DC electricity associated with conventional solar photovoltaic (PV) systems

-Individual solar panel power production can be monitored in detail–greater peace of mind for system owners and greater ease in troubleshooting in the event of a problem

Microinverters can also be integrated into solar panels themselves instead of attached to mounting (a “detached” arrangement). Installation of systems that are comprised of these “AC solar modules” is considerably more straight-forward than the panel+microinverter set-up. Enphase Energy’s AC Solutions division works with solar panel manufacturers to develop and manufacture AC solar modules that incorporate Enphase’s microinverters. Panel manufacturers that Enphase has collaborated with in the US to date includes Kyocera, Hanwha, Sharp, and Shuco. Plans have also been announced to collaborate with Phono Solar and this will be the first offering in the UK.

Read more about microinverters and other alternative solar system layouts.

The Enphase microinverter solution: Points of difference

Enphase Energy bills its microinverter solution as “The world’s most advanced inverter technology system”. Already on the forefront of solar PV technology as a microinverter manufacturer, the company aims to ensure that it provides end-users with a product that not only promises the generic benefits of a microinverter system, but also a more interactive and informative user experience than most conventional systems specific to Enphase’s technologies. Systems that use Enphase microinverters are also arguably easier to install than conventional systems–a bonus for system installers themselves.

Features that distinguish the Enphase microinverter solution from others include:

-World-leading efficiency: 95.4% EU efficiency rating, 99.3% dynamic MPPT efficiency

-Innovative cabling and cable connectors for improved system installation speed and ease–cutting installation time and associated costs

-20 year warranty on Enphase microinverters–compared to 5-10 years for standard, centralised inverters

-The Enphase ‘Envoy Gateway’ provides data about individual solar module and inverter performance–either on-site with its LCD display or via the company’s ‘Enlighten’ online software platform. This data can then be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection–including mobile devices–and used for monitoring, electricity load management, system troubleshooting, or even promotional and educational purposes.

Enphase microinverter technology system: 1) Microinverter, 2) Envoy Gateway, 3) Enlighten Software. (Image via Enphase.)

Download: Enphase M215 Microinverter Datasheet

About Enphase Energy

Headquarters: Petaluma, California, USA

Headquarters in the UK: Milton Keynes

Enphase Energy also has offices in France, Italy, New Zealand, and China

Manufacturing facilities: Shanghai, China

History in the solar industry: Enphase Energy is one of the first commercial manufacturers of microinverters in the world. The company was formed in 2006 and began manufacturing/shipping products in 2008.

© 2012 Solar Selections Ltd

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