The electricity that comes out of a photovoltaic panel is always DC. Since our buildings tend to use AC electricity, that means that a standard part of every PV solar installation is installing a big inverter to take the DC input from the panels and produce an AC output which is identical to what’s coming from the local power line.
It’s possible, though, to build small inverters (aptly named microinverters) directly into each solar cell or module; instead of feeding all the electricity through a single, large inverter, you feed small streams of electricity through many small inverters.
Startup GreenRay Solar is getting funding to develop this kind of technology, so that one day a homeowner can buy a solar panel and pretty much install it him/herself. Right now, you usually have to be a licensed electrician to do the electrical work needed to install conventional panels. But GreenRay’s panels would be a lot simpler, because they bypass the inverter step. It still might not be as easy as plugging in an appliance, but it would bring PV installation down a couple notches, within the reach of aspiring DIY-ers.
To answer the unasked question – yes, these solar panels will cost more money. But, as GreenRay will tell you, microinverters offer additional benefits. For example, if part of the panel is blocked, it will not affect the other parts. And, if you are the kind of person who wants to carefully monitor your system’s performance, the microinverter panels will give you more precise and detailed information.
However, as more and more electric devices require that electricity converted back to DC, and as PV electricity becomes more prevalent, one might wonder why we don’t begin to design DC houses from the start.
Via CNET Green Tech
This is new- but not that net
written by Steve A., July 22, 2009
written by OakleighVermont Solargroupies, July 23, 2009
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DC power distribution
written by EMerge Alliance, July 24, 2009
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