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What’s the deal with Enphase?

The Enphase Micro-inverter has built some serious buzz in the solar power industry since it solves many of the issues with using a central inverter. By adding an inverter behind every solar panel, the DC electricity generated by the solar panels is directly converted to low voltage AC at the solar panel level which increases the safety of the system. Also having an inverter behind solar panel makes the system more reliable because if one inverter fails, the entire system does not go down.

The major downfall with central inverters is that they are wired in strings, and the performance of the entire string of solar panels is equal to it’s weakest solar panel, therefore if part of a solar panel is shaded the entire string will lose its ability to perform at it’s maximum ability. The advantage of having a micro inverter behind every solar panel is that each panel has the power of MPPT (maximum power point tracking) reducing the performance losses related to shading.

I’d say the two major issues with the Enphase Micro Inverters today is how long will the inverters last when they are on top of hot roofs? Especially here in Southern California, during the summer temperatures under a solar panel have been measured to exceed 13o degrees. Will the electronics in the Enphase Micro Inverter be able to last 15 years?

Also, Enphase is having a supply and demand issue, according to the company one of their parts suppliers dropped the ball which has caused a drop in their production output. Many customers have been trying to purchase Enphase Micro Inverters although we have to turn them away because the product is on backorder with long lead times. What do you think about all the buzz around the Enphase Micro-Inverter? Do you think the concept of Micro-Inverters is a valid one?

Author: Deep Patel

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