PV America West - one of the largest photovoltaic conferences in the United States of America - played host to the unveiling of several new and innovative products that may in time transform the business of installing solar arrays as we know it. A major development that GSES has been watching since it's inception is the micro-inverter; an inverter designed to convert the output of each individual solar module to grid voltage. Unfortunately these inverters remain largely unavailable in the Australian market, with the ones currently present having an unproven track record. Our talks with Enecsys and Enphase, two top-tier micro-inverter manufacturers, indicate that Australia is high on their list of market expansion territories. We'll keep you posted on their arrival.
If micro-inverters are an exciting development, Westinghouse Solar's newest product is a complete game changer. Forget about wiring DC. Forget about wire management altogether! Westinghouse's innovative AC module has an AC wiring that simply clicks into the module beside it.
It also features a proprietary rail-less mounting system; the modules are screwed together by a thread in the module frame. We are seeing more and more manufacturers embracing rail-less mounting systems, most notably the Zep system and it's many licensees. These systems have the potential to greatly speed up installation times.
While out and about in the US, we were again surprised by the proliferation of solar shading devices. Perfect for schools or shopping centres where the roof is covered in HVAC or just not structurally sound enough for a large array, these structures are cheap, dual-purpose and prevent the headache of dealing with existing roof warranties.
These structures are perfect for Australia, think of it - no more steaming hot leather seats! Why we haven't seen these here yet is mystifying.
Here is another innovative array, this time at AT&T park - San Francisco's premiere baseball field. The solar window shades run the length of the southern edge of the ground. As some of the eagle-eyed among you may notice, the second and third windows from the right only have glass installed in the module frames. Those two windows required more light than the others, but the aesthetics dictated that they could not be left without a similar structure built over them.
We hope you've enjoyed this little speak peek at some of the innovations from America and as always, keep checking in on the GSES website for more news from the solar industry.