SolarWorld and Enphase to develop integrated AC modules

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Germany-headquartered SolarWorld has announced it is to develop AC modules integrated with microinverters from Enphase Energy as the two companies look to build on their strategic global partnership.

SolarWorld’s Sunmodule solar panels will be integrated with microinverters from Enphase Energy, creating an integrated AC solar module (ACM) that requires no solar inverter. The companies are convinced that this collaboration meets a growing demand in the global market for high performance AC module products.

"Past attempts at AC modules, essentially power-electronic units bolted on to modules, have not delivered the full value that such an innovation should provide," said SolarWorld VP of sales and marketing for the U.S., Ardes Johnson. "With Enphase, we are developing a highly integrated module built in automated, high-reliability factory conditions."

Johnson stressed that the benefits of such an AC module include reduced labor costs and installation times, easier logistics and streamlined O&M in the field, owing to the way the new panels are designed.

Enphase Energy’s VP of products, Stefan Zschiegner, added that fleet owners are increasingly demanding reliable, cost-effective and high-performance AC modules, revealing that the partnership with SolarWorld will utilize Enphase’s next-gen S-series microinverter.

"In the future, the ACM architecture shall enable a seamless integration with Enphase’s Energy Management System," said Zschiegner. The Energy Management Sysytem from Enphase includes the company’s soon-to-be launched AC battery, which boasts load-management capabilities.

SolarWorld expects to begin shipment of the ACM in late 2016, with the company first set to roll out its new rail-free racking system and five-busbar PERC solar cells, which are currently being produced at the Hillsboro factory in Oregon.