Consumer Technology new solar power module with microinverter could be used on almost any roof

Published on August 22nd, 2011 | by Tina Casey

7

New “Plug ‘n’ Play” Solar Module Fits Almost Any Roof

August 22nd, 2011 by  

new solar power module with microinverter could be used on almost any roofA new fully assembled, plug-and-play modular rooftop solar power system was introduced at the Intersolar North America trade show last month, and it could be a low cost solar power solution for home owners and businesses that want to dip a toe into the clean energy pool. The new photovolaic system, called AC Unison, does not require a separate inverter, which would typically add a significant expense to the cost of a rooftop solar array. In that regard the new solar product fits in neatly with President Obama’s SunShot initiative, launched earlier this year, which aims to make solar power as cheap as fossil fuels not only by increasing solar cell efficiency, but also by lowering production and installation costs.

Low Cost Solar Power and Microinverters

The power that solar cells generate is in direct current (DC) form, and in order to be used in a building it must first be converted to alternating current (AC), through a device called an inverter. In conventional rooftop solar  installations, groups of panels are connected to one main inverter, which can cost thousands. More recently, manufacturers have started to offer solar panels with built-in inverters called microinverters. In terms of getting more households and businesses to start transitioning to solar energy, microinverters make it economical for hesitant buyers to start with a single panel or module. That enables the buyer to get more comfortable with solar technology, before committing to a larger investment. Microinverters can also make the solar system more efficient, by reducing the energy waste that typically occurs when power is conducted from a solar panel to a separate inverter.

The AC Unison Microinverter System

In addition to providing consumers with a budget-conscious way to ease into the distributed solar power market, the AC Unison product comes with a number of other enticements. The microinverter (manufactured by SolarBridge Pantheon) is designed to match the 25-year warranty that AU Optronics offers with the module, and the North American distributor is solar industry veteran SunWize Technologies. Perhaps most importantly, the new system has the potential to make more efficient use of rooftops that are partially shaded, where it would be uneconomical to install large solar arrays with a central inverter.

Solar Power for Everyone

Lowering the purchase cost of solar technology is one way to get more low cost clean energy generators into more hands. Neighborhood group discounts are another alternative, as are solar power purchase agreements. The SunShot initiative is also focusing considerable resources on utility-scale technologies and grid improvements. Solar power is already approaching price parity with some fossil fuels in some areas, so it’s only a matter of time before more consumers get their hands on clean energy, one way or another.

Image: Sun on roof by axel rouvin on flickr.com.

  
 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
 
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,


About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Pingback: New “Plug-N-Play” All-in-One Solar Panel Coming Soon | CleanTechnica()

  • Pingback: Wind Power at Bargain Basement Prices by 2020 | CleanTechnica()

  • Vandammes

    Nothing “New!!!!” about microinverters. Cut the marketing hype, and give us some specs and prices.

  • Anumakonda Jagadeesh

    Good improvement in Solar Module which will enhance usage of solar power.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    Wind Energy Expert
    E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

  • Obama’s initiatives have mostly resulted in huge losses of taxpayer monies – as the case of Evergreen Solar, which left the US for Asia, and affordable (non-union) wages, despite being highly mechanized. As is also the case for his “weatherization program,” now admitted to be a complete failure, although Obama, as usual, takes no responsibility for the failure – he blames homeowners for not spending thousands to buy the crap he’s offering. Nor did our brainless Fearless leader have anything to do with microinverters, which have been around for more than 4 years, compliments of Enphase, the leader. Nor are microinverters cheaper than central inverters. They costs roughly 30% more and are NEVER used by large commercial solar projects. Microinverters do make installation far easier and have transformed the residential market, reducing labor costs more than anything else. Obama had no program for reducing costs, only for using taxpayer money to subsidize others. That is NOT cost reduction nor increased efficiency.

    • Anonymous

      8 years of Bush put is in a massive economic recession (or depression). digging the country out with completely stubborn, non-helpful Tea Partiers trying to block your every move (quite successfully) is damn near impossible

    • Tina Casey

      Kent: Thank you for your comment, but please re-read my article. The SunShot program is an Obama Administration initiative specifically focused on bringing down the cost of solar energy, not only by supporting research into more efficient technologies but also supporting more efficient, low-cost means of manufacturing and installing solar systems.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

    cost-of-solar-down
  • Search the IM Network


Shares