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exceltech’s plug n play micro inverter?!

We’re in Las Vegas this week learning about new products at Renewable Energy World 2009….I’d have to say I’m quite disappointed since there are not many new products at the highly anticipated trade show, although I did run into a “game changing technology” in the works. ExcelTech, traditionally a manufacturer of off-grid inverters is working on a couple products to enter the grid tie inverter market. According to ExcelTech, they have been working on their own version of a grid tie micro-inverter that attaches right to the back of a solar panel, similar an Enphase micro inverter. The demo unit at Excel tech’s booth even had a standard household AC plug that can be connected directly to the gird via a household socket. Very interesting don’t you agree? Although ExcelTech said they have hundreds of these units in the field operating flawlessly, the company not released their micro inverter to the public because they want a solar panel manufacturer to integrate the inverter right into the solar panel so the micro-inverter itself can operate without connecting a DC disconnect to every unit, which is required by NEC code. Do you think ExcelTech can convince a solar panel manufacturer to build in their micro-inverter right into a solar panel? This is some game changing technology, would you not...

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solar power window shutters

(Photo Credit: Chloe Kemp) Stratton Hatfield a college student from Bermuda decided undertake a sustainable design project for his senior year. The island of Bermuda is providing incentives for people who install solar panels, but Stratton wondered why the adoption rate of solar panels on homes was still very low even though there was financial support for people who produce their own clean energy from the sun. After talking to homeowners on the island and collecting feedback, Stratton found out that aesthetics was a big concern and a barrier for people to embrace solar panels into their lives. Orginally Stratton was considering designing a roof mounted solar electric array, but his design teacher pushed him to think outside the box. After analyzing many possible locations for homeowners to install solar panels Stratton, came up with an interesting proposal, solar panels that act as window shutters. Window shutters are common in Bermudian architecture therefore his final design was a top or side hung shutters with thin film solar cells which is angled at the optimal pitch to capture to most sunshine each day. The shutters not only produce energy during the day but act a shading device similar to traditional shutters which help keep the temperature inside the home comfortable. This story is a great example of building integrated solar which are products that can be integrated into a building directly, keeping the traditional look and feel of your home while getting dual use out of building material to reduce installation costs, improve aesthetics, and generate clean electricity at the same time. What do you think about Stratton solar power window shutter design? What are some other examples of building integrated...

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advantages of thin film solar panels

When people think about thin film solar panels the first thing that comes to mind is the lower cost, but that’s not the only advantage of thin film solar panels. Thin film solar panels perform more efficiently than crystalline solar panels in low light or shady conditions. They weigh 10% less than traditional silicon based solar panels and can be flexible which allows them to be installed on various surfaces. Thin film solar panels are more resilient to hail, rocks, golf balls…etc. If part of a crystalline solar panel is damaged, the whole solar panel will stop working…on the other hand a thin film solar panel will continue to operate at a lower output if a part of the solar panel is damaged. The downside of thin film solar panels is they’re less efficient than traditional crystalline solar panels, you will need more surface area to work with. Silicon based solar panels typically produce more watts per square foot. What type of solar power projects do you think thin film solar panels are a good fit...

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meet the enphase m190 grid tie inverter

Enphase Energy, the manufacturer of the revolutionary micro inverter system has released a new and improved version of the micro inverter called the m190. Enphase recently put out their preliminary datasheet of their newest addition to the Enphase product mix. The m190 is compatible with 60 and 70 cell solar panels and has the following improvements over the m175 and m200 product lines: a wider temperature range the micro inverter can operate in. The enphase m190 can operate in ambient temperatures between -40c to +65C mean time between failures (MTBF) of 365 years, which triples the MTBF rating of the M175/M200 models. According to the company this was verified by testing the micro inverter for 10 million unit hours of operation in the field. The M190 makes installation even easier by reducing the number of cables to manage to one 6′ cable versus two 3′ cables on the M175/M200 models. You thought the M175/M200 was small enough? The new m190 has a 30% smaller footprint than its predecessors. upgraded racking bracket makes it easier and more flexible to install the m190 face up or down and allows for easier cable routing. The Enphase M190 marks a significant milestone in how the micro-inverter is evolving. In my opinion it’s a good sign that Enphase Energy is making continuous improvements with their product because the results are going to be a more a even smaller, easier to install grid tie inverter solution. Check out the preliminary datasheet below. What do you think about the Enphase...

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champlain cable for solar pv panels

Your solar electric system’s performance rests upon one of the most simple components in the overall system, the electric wire. Not only does the gauge size of the wire count, but the overall quality of the wire used in your solar panel installation can make your system run smoothly into the future. Champlain Cable a company that traditionally focuses on high performance general wire and cables has entered the solar photovoltaic market by introducing their Exar 150PV and the Exar 180PV UL rated photovoltaic wires. Since your solar electric system will not only generate power for the next 25 years plus, but the wire needs to survive the extreme environmental conditions your solar electric system is subjected to over time. Most wires on standard photovoltaic systems are not designed to outlast the 25 year warranty on your solar panels offered by manufacturers. The Exar 150PV and 180PV stand out because they can handle high amounts of UV radiation, water and steam which can cause a typical wire to fail. According to the company the special PV series wires will last more then ten times longer than the standard THHW (Flame Retardant, Heat Resistent Thermoplasitc) a common wire used in most solar PV...

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Solarphire PV glass

The team at PPG Industries is quite confident in their new Solarphire PV glass, a new type of solar panel that boasts higher efficiencies than crystalline solar panels. According to the company the proprietary glass formulation gives Solarphire PV glass an enhanced ability to capture the sun’s ultraviolet spectrum between 350 and 1100 nanometers, in which traditional silicon based solar cells are not as responsive. From the picture the solar panel looks very similar to a crystalline solar panel, it dose not look like the solar pv glass I wrote about in the past. PPG Industries is not a familiar brand in the solar power industry since the company is originally a glass & high performance coating company that is now making “glass based solar panels”, pretty interesting don’t you agree? I’m not convinced yet about the ability of the new solar glass, I went on PPG Energy’s website and didn’t find much information about their game changing technology. What do you...

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