WEDNESDAY 19 OCTOBER, 2011 |
AC Solar Panels - What Are They?
AC solar panels are increasingly capturing attention - so what are they, how do
they work and what are their reported advantages?
"Traditional" solar panels output Direct Current (DC). DC electricity
cannot be used directly by common household appliances; so it first needs to be
converted to Alternating Current (AC). The conversion is performed by a solar
- a separate component located some distance from the array. A
number of solar panels may be routed through a single inverter.
AC solar panels still output DC, however on the back of the panel is a
micro-inverter converting the DC to AC. The reported benefits include simpler
and safer installation, improved electricity harvest and the elimination
or reduction of other componentry.
In a standard
solar array scenario where multiple panels are connected to a single inverter, one shaded panel
can impact on the
overall performance of that array - the microinverter arrangement addresses this
Among the companies to recently announce a rollout of AC Solar Panels is AU
. AUO are currently showcasing their AC Unison
at Solar Power International 2011. AUO's offering is understood
to incorporate a SolarBridge microinverter. AUO says the AC Unison
increases system performance by up to 25% through reducing the overall impacts
of system shading, soiling and degradation losses.
Hanwha SolarOne says its first AC Module (ACM) combines high performance SolarOne
with third generation microinverter technology from Enphase
; a company widely considered as the leader in the field of
microinverter development. In January, Enphase announced it had shipped 500,000
microinverter units and expected to triple its output this year in order to meet
also recently announced their SunPower E18 & E19 AC Solar Panel series,
utilising SolarBridge Pantheon micro inverter technology.
While AC solar panels aren't widely available in Australia as yet, national
solar power solutions provider Energy
says it will commence testing of AC modules to determine if they are suitable for Australia's often very hot conditions.
Other news for Wednesday 19 October, 2011
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