Why AC Solar Panels are Solar's Future
After the release of micro inverters such as Enphase, the next big step for the solar industry became integrating these small inverters into the panels themselves, effectively creating AC solar panels. So why are AC solar panels so exciting?
As you probably already know, solar panels produce DC (direct current) power, but our homes use AC (alternating current) power. This is because AC is safer to use and much cheaper to transport over long distances (such as from your utility company to your home). A key piece of your solar system is the component that converts DC power into AC, called the inverter.
There are two types of inverters: central inverters that perform the conversion on all the panels in your array at once and micro inverters that perform the conversion right as the DC power comes out of the panel. Micro inverter technology is what allows AC solar panels to produce AC power from the moment you plug them in.
Despite constant advances in the industry, there are still some speed bumps when going solar. The sheer variety of options means that research is required, and big systems can run a high upfront cost. Imagine, though, that you could go to your local store, pick out and buy your solar panels like you might a new power tool, and then literally plug them into your house, solving both the issue of solar's seeming complexity and its high cost. This may sound like science fiction now, but technologies like AC solar panels are the first step in this direction.
While it may not seem like a big step, having a micro inverter integrated with a solar panel already offers a host of benefits. For instance, it makes solar projects safer for those who want to perform their own installation and reduces labor costs for those hiring installers. There is one less connection to make, one less calculation to do, and no need to worry about whether your massive 72-cell solar panel will work with those Enphase M215s you want to use (they won't).
Because it takes advantage of micro-inverter technology, an array of AC solar modules will also have the benefits of one using micro-inverters: that is, you can monitor each panel individually and will be less impacted by shading issues or other inconsistencies.
There are a handful of AC solar panel options available with new ones added every day. Currently, EcoDirect offers the following:
AUO by BenQ AC Solar Panels
These solar panels by BenQ come with integrated micro-inverters. To further enhance panel performance, you can take advantage of their proprietary monitoring system to view your solar array's status online. View our AUO by BenQ AC solar panels here.