Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
The use of semiconductors, digital and solid state electronics is reshaping the architecture of solar power systems. Along with other innovations, this holds out the promise that solar power systems will soon be performing more efficiently, at higher levels and at further reduced costs. ArrayPower, a Silicon Valley start-up, launched its Sequenced Inverter - the first of its kind - at SPI in Dallas this week. Senior company executives spoke with Clean Technica about their technology and company while at the show.

Clean Power

New Generation Inverters to Drive Down Cost of Solar Power: Interview with Silicon Valley’s ArrayPower

The use of semiconductors, digital and solid state electronics is reshaping the architecture of solar power systems. Along with other innovations, this holds out the promise that solar power systems will soon be performing more efficiently, at higher levels and at further reduced costs. ArrayPower, a Silicon Valley start-up, launched its Sequenced Inverter – the first of its kind – at SPI in Dallas this week. Senior company executives spoke with Clean Technica about their technology and company while at the show.

Commercial Market Focus

In contrast to most micro-inverter companies, which are focused on the residential market, ArrayPower’s business strategy is built around meeting the needs of the commercial solar power market, which makes up 65 percent or so of the overall market, Cravalho explained.

Array’s raised $22 million in capital in ‘A’ and ‘B’ financing rounds from venture capital firms including VC heavyweight Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Trident Capital, Arienzo continued.

“We see the commercial market certainly as the largest market segment in the US, but it’s also growing rapidly on a global basis. We expect to be in Europe next year,” she said.

The company’s also looking to diversify use of its Sequenced Inverters more broadly, moving into other power market segments come 2013. “We could play well with batteries,” Arienzo offered as a for-instance.

Nearer term, management’s focus in on further refining and improving the performance of its inverters and on “working with our existing partner to accelerate downstream adoption with installers,” Cravalho said.

Out in the Field

Array’s Sequenced Inverters are installed in a number of field trials. One is a 30-kilowatt (kW) site in Morbach, Germany outside of Frankfurt. It has several in California, another 7-kW system at a high desert site in Davis, another live 7-kW field trial with an early adopter at a commercial site in San Jose, and another on the company’s Sunnyvale headquarters.

It’s also been working with PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) in Berkeley and has partnered with Fraunhofer for the performance of its Sequenced Inverters to be monitored and evaluated. “They’ve been outperforming” expectations so far, Arienzo said.

Over the next six months, the company also looking to secure contracts with additional module manufacturers. “Our technology’s been ‘de-risked,’ it’s passed all the testing, now it’s all about the commercial ramp,” he added.

Potential Pitfalls & Roadblocks

What potential hurdles and roadblocks does ArrayPower management foresee and plan for as its works to ride the growing wave of solar power installations and market expansion?

Both Arienzo and Cravalho noted that although the leveled cost of electricity produced by solar power systems is coming down the cost curve quickly, the elimination of government support and incentives could threaten the industry’s ongoing development and maturation.

“Long-term, the future for solar is very bright; the industry is weaning itself off subsidies,” Cravalho said, “but that’s still a few years away. If those subsidies dry up it would threaten the industry’s growth and development in Europe and the US.”

Arienzo’s first experience in the solar industry dates back 25 years, when she had a job casting silicon ingots in Italy. She’s returned to the solar industry having spent the ensuing years involved with semiconductor manufacturing for companies such as IBM and Philips.

Arienzo experienced first-hand solar’s first attempted emergence into the power industry mainstream. That was in the early seventies, when Jimmy Carter was president and the OPEC oil embargo caused a global oil shortage and price shock. The effects finally wore off a decade later as oil prices fell and stayed low, though never to the levels seen before the embargo. “Having lived through this once before with Carter, I don’t want to go through it again,” she said.

Page 3 of 3

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Pages: 1 2 3

Written By

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Originally posted on Tesla Oracle & EVANNEX. Some pretty interesting Cybertruck center touchscreen user interface visuals were leaked recently when former Tesla Head of UI...

Cars

In November of 2010, Tesla flew me out to their Silicon Valley headquarters for my first round of interviews. It was the “Roadster Days,”...

Autonomous Vehicles

Welcome to China × Cleantech — January 2021 edition. Our China x Cleantech series covers top cleantech stories in China each month. Happy 牛 Year! I...

Clean Power

Editor’s note: Note that this evaluation does not take social, environmental, or public health costs into account, and natural gas comes with high social,...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.