ReneSola, a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, has introduced a line of microinverters, according to a media statement from the company. The Micro RePlus microinverters are intended both for installation as stand-alone units or integration into solar panels at the factory.
With the launch of the Micro RePlus, ReneSola joins the growing ranks of companies manufacturing microinverters across the globe. Microinverters and AC solar modules are a growing segment of the solar PV industry. At some point in the next few years it may even be common practice for customers to choose between ‘conventional’, centralised-inverter systems and AC/microinverter solar systems when buying a system.
In conventional solar PV systems, there is only one centralised inverter into which all the solar panels in the array are connected. Conventional systems are therefore susceptible to the effects of partial shading, which can significantly compromise system power output.
Microinverter and AC solar module technologies, on the other hand, do not suffer from the effects of partial shading to the same degree because the DC electricity that the panels produce is converted to AC electricity on the module level. This offers considerable advantage to system owners, as yields from such systems are potentially greater than those from conventional ones. (Read more about the different types of PV system layouts.) Despite their potential advantages, microinverters and AC solar modules remain niche technologies due to their generally high price points.
ReneSola has trumpeted its microinverters as ‘game-changing’ because of their cost-competitiveness. ReneSola America president Kevin Chen said in the media release, “We recognize the importance of bringing down the cost of complete solar PV installations, while keeping installations companies profitable, in order to make clean, solar power available to everyone. By offering installer-direct turnkey solutions, such as that of Micro RePlus™, prices for the end user are lower and margins for installers are greater. Our management recognizes this as a real value proposition based on its experience in the global PV industry.”
In Australia, Enecsys is probably the most widely-recognised microinverter brand (thanks to the company’s partnership with Australia’s own Tindo Solar), but others already exist on the market or are looking to break into it. SolarBridge is one such company, aiming to have its products available on the Australian market in the near future. At the time of writing, ReneSola’s Micro RePlus is not available in Australia.
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
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.
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