Tech Tuesday is an on-going series profiling the Forum’s Technology Pioneers. The Tech Pioneers are companies that have been recognized by the Forum for ground-breaking and innovative approaches in tackling some of the world’s most wicked problems. Each week we will be showcasing one of the 2013 Tech Pioneers. You can learn more about the Technology Pioneer Programme on the Forum’s website.
Enphase Energy: Getting the most from solar arrays
A big stumbling block in the efficient use of solar power is the familiar “Christmas tree light” effect. When a bulb in a string goes out, it cuts power to the other lights on the string. Most solar systems are connected in series to an inverter that transforms the direct current output into usable alternating current. A panel that is inadvertently in the shade, or has suffered damage, can reduce the overall output to the lowest common denominator. Enphase successfully bypasses this problem by installing a micro-inverter on each solar panel so the system can be connected in parallel. If one panel drops out, the rest of the system continues to put out maximum power. Enphase manages the entire system through a standard WAN (wide area network).
Enphase’s technology has arrived not a moment too soon. Solar power companies are anxious to cut costs to survive cut-backs in government subsidies in the current global financial slowdown. Installing the much lighter micro inverters not only boosts overall output, but also reduces installation costs when it comes to setting up roof-top solar systems for the home. The market apparently agrees. Enphase currently accounts for 28% of residential solar systems in California, and for 16% of California’s commercial systems. The total worldwide inverter market is now estimated at US$ 7 billion.
Paul Nahi, President & Chief Executive Officer
Location: CA, USA
Number of Employees: 300
Year Founded: 2006
Enphase Energy Inc.
1420 N. McDowell Boulevard
Petaluma, CA 94954