Hardware brief: modules at 30¢/W, Enphase selling direct, solar+water, more!


Northern Reliability Company makes energy storage systems for complex locations (see above image). They don’t have any specific announcements to make, but they reached out to me on LinkedIN to show off their gear. “Northern Reliability provides custom power and energy storage solutions for all applications. Our products scale to meet any energy demand and are designed to operate under any condition around the world using cleaner power derived from sunlight, wind and conventional fuel sources. Thoroughly tested technologies alongside state of the art electronics and controls ensure long lasting reliability.” Source – Northern Reliability Company (Dropbox link)

As our solar power systems become more complex, replacing power plants – they’re going to have to do more. And they do more via software. “The enhanced Doosan Intelligent Controller used at the Springbok 3 site will uniquely combine several operating modes, such as active power smoothing and predictive active power response with coordinated charge and discharge, giving a smoother power output from the PVS system. The joint team will also develop PVS block strategies to provide contingency frequency support services on top of its baseline output. Additionally, active PV-only control will be initiated to more smoothly ramp the resource up and down based on solar forecasting without the need for an ESS.” Source – Doosan GridTech

As a former residential solar power installer from Florida, I cut my teeth installing solar hot water panels for pools and for regular use. And hot water sells, especially in a hurricane zone and hot showers are really one of the greatest things someone can have to feel at home. I’ve not yet deployed a solar pv+thermal panel system, so I can’t give feedback on how it works – but its just so compelling. The above image is the Power Panel. “Power PanelTMs innovative solar thermal hybrid technology uses an automated cooling system that pumps water under the panels, keeping them within the optimal performance range. This maximizes efficiency even as the environment heats up, and the The Power PanelTM excels in colder conditions as well. In fact, the assembly can even use snow melt to harvest energy, something traditional panels are simply not equipped to do.” Source – Power Panel.

Ideal Energy is a developer EPC located in Iowa, and they do a great job of showing off their systems and educating the industry. On their website, you can see a new solar+storage design that lowers electricity use and demand charges (below image). “Agri-Industrial Plastics Company’s power plant features a 517 kW roof-mounted solar array that works in tandem with a 212 kW Tesla Powerwall battery energy storage system. During the day, the solar panels generate energy which charges the Powerwall and powers the company’s advanced manufacturing operations. The battery system runs on an artificially-intelligent control system to automatically discharge at times of high energy usage, (or peak demand) to avoid or reduce costly demand charges.” Source – Ideal Energy.

Back in the day, everyone could drive buy you hardware direct from the manufacturer. As our industry has scaled, it is now groups like CED Greentech or Baywa who sell you the hardware, because they can buy in volume, store it, and support customers. Enphase is looking to shake that up a bit, and I’m guessing they’ll make a bit more margin because of this. “The Enphase Store currently offers communications gateways, Consumption CT devices, LTE Cat-M1 cellular modems, M215 Microinverter™ kits, and other accessories. More products will be added to the Enphase Store inventory as guided by customer demand. The Enphase Store will offer expedited shipping options and parcel tracking for locations in the United States. To make Enphase Store purchases, Enphase customers can log in using their existing Enphase Enlighten™ monitoring platform credentials or set up a new Enphase Store account. Solar installers can also make purchases and ship replacement products directly to homeowners.”  Source – Enphase

PV InfoLink noted in a following tweet that many manufacturers were selling their modules at and below 1.65 Yuan/W (24¢/W) on a container level. That means in the USA, before accounting for shipping and after adding a 25% import tax, you should be able to purchase modules at 30¢/W.


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