Hardware brief: Module pricing falling, Enphase at 450W, sexy solar panels get $3.2 million, more!


The most common refrain I hear from people about not getting solar panels is that they don’t look good. Research suggests, once the pricing becomes decent, the number one thing that matters are aesthetics. And this is not something I’ll argue with people, since for most Americans their home is their largest savings account by far. A technical note – “Light transmission options of 80%, 85%, and 90% (pdf)” – meaning there is some efficiency loss. “Sistine Solar closes a $3.2M financing round. With the additional funds, we will focus heavily on building out a strong network of installers in order to fulfill homeowner demand, while also expanding our portfolio into commercial and utility-scale installations where SolarSkin can serve as an elegant branding asset.” Source – Sistine Solar

Enphase is putting out new hardware to keep up with the increasing wattage of solar modules. With this product they note up to 450 W for the modules, including bifacial modules. I wonder how they account for the bifacial gain. “The IQ 7A microinverter augments the lineup of seventh-generation Enphase microinverters with support for modules up to 450 W, targeting high-power residential and commercial solar applications. With a maximum output power of 366 VA (Volt-Amperes) and 97% CEC efficiency, Enphase IQ 7A microinverters can generate up to 14% more power than any previous generally available Enphase IQ microinverter.” Source – Enphase

Robotic manufacturing facilities generally drop the pricing on things, something which flow batteries need. The company is also backed by Munich Re, so that’ll help ease the long term nerves. “The new funding will be used to expand and automate the manufacturing process of ESS Inc.’s second-generation iron flow battery technology. The company, which is now shipping to customers on four continents, is leveraging the capital efficiency of its advanced technology to enable a ramp-up to 1 GWh per year production capacity at its Wilsonville, Oregon facility. The EC is a “battery-in-a-building” platform based on the same second-generation module used in the EW, with a design-build approach that enables systems to be tailored to meet virtually any project size with storage durations ranging up to 10 hours.” Source – ESS Inc


California has extended solar and storage solar incentives for wildfire affect households. And from all that pv magazine USA can see, there is significant demand in the state. In state manufacturer, SimpliPhi, actual saw wildfires a couple of years ago encroaching (but never reaching) its own factories. So they get it. “SimpliPhi’s extended Energize California program includes special discounts on its fully integrated, pre-wired AccESS energy storage and management system, the ExprESS fuel-free mobile generators and the Genny portable emergency power kits. The Access, ExprESS and Genny can be charged with any power source — solar, wind, the grid or a fuel-based generator.” Source – SimpliPhi

Science fiction is so, right up until it becomes science fact. And usually we look back on it, as if it were common sense – but it wasn’t. “The Air Force Research Laboratory is developing space-based solar power transmission capability using high-efficiency solar cells to collect the sun’s energy, convert it to radio frequency, and beam it to earth. AFRL researchers are focused on developing and demonstrating some of the key technologies necessary to integrate into a conceptual space-based power beaming system. Northrop Grumman will partner with AFRL and has been awarded a contract valued at more than $100 million to develop and deliver the critical hardware elements to support space-based experiments into this leading-edge technology.” Source – US Air Force

The Chinese solar market has installed 16 GW through the end of the third quarter – the lowest total at this point since 2016. That’s well below expectations, and it is projected that this softness continues into Q4 as installer wait for deals. Negotiate folks, there’s something to be found.