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What are the advantages of microinverters going into 2017?

MICROINVERTERS are driving sales in the MLPE segment to year-over-year highs. These powerful little boxes are the hot technology for both residential and commercial solar. Their popularity starts with solar harvest, safety and ease of installation when compared to string and even optimizer systems. The first advantage lies in module-level harvest and tracking, a distinct advantage over conventional string systems. Particularly in any environment where shading poses a challenge–such as in a moderately-treed suburban neighborhood, or an urban setting with tall surrounding buildings– microinverters’ ability to independently serve and monitor the performance of each individual panel ensures maximum harvest throughout the day. Meanwhile, a single shadow or even debris would reduce output across an entire string. This distributed harvest also means there’s no single potential point of failure in the array. Even if one component goes down, the rest of the array will still function at top power. Compare that to a string system in which, again, a single technical issue can sideline whole groups of modules. Another often overlooked point of distinction for microinverters is low-light performance. With a lower startup voltage than string systems, microinverter arrays will begin producing energy earlier in the day, and stretch that production deeper into twilight—built-in optimization that matches technology with the diurnal cycle, wherever you might live.

IHS SAYS MICROINVERTERS AND OPTIMIZERS TO SHIFT TO INTEGRATED AC AND SMART MODULES The business model of microinverter and power optimizer suppliers is set to shift from standalone units to integrated systems, such as Smart and AC modules, according to new analysis released last November by IHS Markit. The annual IHS Technology PV Microinverter and Power Optimizer Report examines market size, pricing and vendor market share. It forecasts revenue for Smart and AC modules will jump from under $100 million in 2015 to almost $500 million by 2020. “Suppliers are shifting their business model from selling stand-alone products to selling an off-the-shelf integrated model,” said Cormac Gilligan, research manager at IHS Technology. “This will help them capture new emerging markets, improve sales channel efficiencies and lower customer costs. Microinverters and power optimizers will increasingly be installed in the factory in the form of AC and Smart Modules, the IHS Technology report said.

The growth of the smart home technology market may provide an opportunity for Module Level Power Electronic (MLPE) suppliers to enter new markets and extend their partnership networks, according to the IHS Technology report. “Policies and standards will be a significant driver of MLPE adoption and associated module integrated solutions over the next five years, particularly in the United States,” said Camron Barati, solar analyst at IHS Technology. “The 2017 update to the United States National Electric Code will standardize safety requirement applications in state markets. This will ultimately incentivize the use of microinverters and power optimizers for rooftop applications. Technology giants such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Huawei, AT&T and Comcast also provide solutions for the smart home market and, therefore, opportunities for MLPE suppliers to engage with wider audiences.”

This information was pulled from a press release distributed by IHS in November 2016.



04. Solar REH 17 - Microinverters V2.indd 78

1/11/17 10:58 AM

2017 Renewable Energy Handbook Solar  

2017 Renewable Energy Handbook Solar

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