ET Solar launches AC micro-inverter solar panels in North America

China’s ET Solar has launched the industry’s highest efficiency AC solar panel. The UL 1741 and UL 1703 certified solar panels will contain SolarBridge Pantheon II micro-inverters and produce grid-compatible AC electricity.

The new ET Solar lines are an addition to the existing micro-inverter market options, which is still limited to a handful of companies. Micro-inverters are an innovative approach to solar PV systems and something of a frontier in solar system efficiency improvements. Conventionally, solar panels produce DC (direct current) electricity, which cannot be used by most appliances and cannot be pumped into the electrical grid which uses AC (alternating current); conventional solar panels therefore need a centralised inverter to render the solar power usable.

Micro-inverters have a number of advantages over this sort of single-inverter set-up. Firstly, because each panel does the DC-AC conversion independently, micro-inverters mitigate the ‘domino effect’ that occurs when one panel in a string is shaded, resulting in the the output of the entire string being pulled down to the level of the ‘weakest link’–i.e. the shaded panel(s). They also allow for performance monitoring of individual solar panels, and limit the negative effects of solar panel output mismatch.

ET Solar panels have an output of up to 238W AC, and “provide up to 25% more power yield than conventional PV systems, while reducing up to 50% of the system design and installation costs”, according to PV Magazine. They will also improve safety conditions during installation and in the event of a fire by avoiding high-voltage DC electricity.

In Australia at the time of writing, there is only 1 brand of panels manufactured that uses micro-inverter technology. Tindo Karra 240 solar panels use Enecsys micro-inverters, and are considered a high-end product. The main disadvantage of micro-inverters in Australia remains their cost, which can be prohibitively high.

Top image: SolarBridge Pantheon and Pantheon II micro-inverters, via SolarBridge Technology

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd 

James Martin II

Contributor at Solar Choice
James was Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher between 2010 and 2018.

He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.

James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

Comments

  1. Please clarify that these are UL certifications and not solar panel models for ET solar (Though they have yet to present an actual model line on their website).

    Additional typo: UL1741 and UL1703

    1. Hi,

      As I didn’t write the original article myself, I’m not sure what sources were used to provide the model numbers. I’ve erred on the side of caution and changed references to model numbers to the UL certification that was highlighted in the link you sent through.

      If an article or press release is published by ET Solar regarding this, an update will be added to this article to ensure we have the best, most up to date, information on our site.

  2. Is there any chance that we’ll be able to get these SolarBridge Pantheon I and II Micro-Inverters in Australia?
    According recent info ET Solar and BenQ are integrating these in their AC modules and claimed they will sell to the Australian market in Q4.
    How to obtain more info?

    1. Hi Marc,

      They’re not here yet, but I know for a fact they’ve been looking into breaking into the market because I was in touch with them when I wrote this article. Keep an eye out for them. Alternatively, you might want to contact them directly: SolarBridgeTech.com.

  3. I had a 8×185 ET panel with Sunny Roo TLI inverter installed in 2010/11 by Newcastle Bright Sparks (no longer in business)
    Can I add panels to this inverter ?

    Ken B.
    Raymond Terrace NSW 2324

    1. Hi Ken,

      Whether you can add panels depends on what the capacity of your inverter is. You have about 1.5kW of solar panels. What is the size of your inverter?

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