Solar inverters are getting smaller and smarter

Solar_invertersAt the Solar Power International trade show in September, companies presented some quiet advances in technology that could make your job a little easier and decrease the cost of installations.

SolarEdge debuted a new inverter with HD-Wave technology that converts solar electricity into usable energy without high temperatures that plague standard inverter technology. Available in December 2015, the resulting inverter is less than half the size and weight of a traditional inverter. Watch a short promotional video online.

SolarEdge’s announcement might be an early indication of what we can expect when the finalists of Google’s Little Box Challenge are announced this month. Google’s Little Box Challenge will offer $1 million for the team that can drastically shrink the size and weight of a string inverter by the end of 2015.

In addition to losing some brawn, inverters have gained some smarts. The Fronius Primo inverter line now offers revenue grade metering and is Wi-Fi enabled. The Primo inverters are residentially focused and range from 3.8 to 15 kW, offering designers some flexibility. From Enphase, the new Envoy-S series features revenue grade metering capability, consumption monitoring and integrated Wi-Fi. The Envoy-S series works with legacy M215 and M250 micro-inverters as well as the new S230 and S280 models. These technologies are expected to be widely available by the end of 2015.

Fronius or Enphase revenue grade metering enabled options will qualify under section 2.7 of the Energy Trust Solar Electric Installation Requirements as “revenue quality” solar output meters, and no additional production meter will be necessary.