Making Solar More Reliable

Greg Galitzine : Green Blog
Greg Galitzine
| Helping environmentally-conscientious business leaders choose environmentally-friendly solutions.

Making Solar More Reliable

Solar power is in theory fairly straightforward: sun to panel. Yet there are many factors affect solar performance including cloudiness, dust and dirt, shade, obstruction shading, and inter-panel-row shading.

Moreover it is often difficult if not impossible to accurately tell which electricity-producing mechanisms i.e. in this case modules are failing without costly added service visits to detect the issues on top of the amounts charged for fixing them. Solar is not like wind, local hydro or wood/biomass-fed generators where there are visual, aural, and in the case of the last one olfactory clues as to problems. 

Homeowners and small businesses can ill-afford such added expenses. If solar was going to be this much hassle then why go solar? 

Premier Power Renewable Energy has an answer: panels made with microinverter technology that pinpoints which specific modules are failing so they can be identified and replaced on a regular service call. The devices, made by Enphase allows homeowners to maximize their solar energy harvest and reduce their utility bill by selling more solar electricity back to the utility i.e. net metering thus, says the firm, "substantially reducing their utility electricity bill."

Premier Power's new panel microinverter system is a set of small units that connect directly to each solar module to convert DC power into grid-compliant AC power. It transmits valuable performance data on each module to the system owner. 

The payoffs? Increased solar output by as much as 25 percent over traditional inverters, not to mention a more reliable system, and the ability to monitor and respond quickly to performance issues. Also the distributed microinverter design readily permits expanded solar power generation. And, if one microinverter fails, the rest continue to operate as usual and can be replaced during routine maintenance or when convenient.

The key to making technology effective and popular is not so much big leaps but rather steady advances like these that make a difference in the ROI achieved by the purchasers. In the case of green solutions that increase in results, leading to more individuals and firms acquiring them, benefits all.

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