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solar technology trends at #solpwr09

With over 26,000 thousand people attending Solar Power International 2009 at the Anaheim Convention Center on the last week of October, the conference broke attendance records. The massive exhibition hall featured 929 solar companies throughout the entire solar industry supply chain. This year show was so large in scale, it was way too easy to get lost between the aisles of exhibitors. My objective of being at Solar Power International 2009 was not to visit every booth, but to scout out cutting edge solar photovoltaic technology. Here’s what I think was cool at the show this year: Solar Micro-Inverters: The new Enphase D380 “TwinPack” Micro-inverter offers double the power at half the labor. The new D series product line focuses on the needs of a commercial installation in which it’s much too cumbersome to install an Enphase M190 unit behind each solar panel. The Enphase D380 is called a “TwinPack” because it has two Micro-inverters within one housing. The benefits include, reducing installation costs through the two in one design, Reduced balance of system costs and installation time are realized through a 50 percent reduction in the number parts, 33 percent fewer connections and junction boxes, the Enphase D380 also reduces installation time by an innovative cabling system. Soon Enphase Energy is not going to be the only one offering a solar micro-inverter. DirectGrid, a company based in New York is developing it’s own version of a micro-inverter that will initially only work combined with thin film solar panels and also have the option to add on smart grid compatibility. Direct Grid Technologies is a new player in the solar micro-inverter space but is a subsidiary of Island Technology which is in the business of the design, manufacture and support of utility power grid monitoring & distribution systems. The picture of the mirco-inverter above shows the Direct Grid Technologies DGA-S300, which has an AC output of 300 watts 120/240 volts 50/60 hz. The DGA-S300 has a nominal DC input range of 12-170 volts, which is a wide range to accommodate many types of thin film solar panels. AC Solar Panels: Solar Panels that come off the manufacturing line with micro-inverters integrated are going to be the next trend in photovoltaic technology. As solar micro-inverter technology continues to improve and shrink in size, this could be the game changing technology that can make solar much simpler and more cost effective to install. Enphase had an interesting AC module for display that had a prototype inverter built into directly into the solar panel! Solar Power Industries has partnered up with veteran solar inverter manufacturer, ExelTech to offer their own version of...

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