Ecohouse Solar serves the residential and small commercial solar market in the Central Ohio area, and has been doing so since 2008. As part of our work, we track new developments in solar technology so that we can offer our customers the best options when we design their solar electric systems. This technology is continually improving; the result of solar inverter and solar panel manufacturers trying to improve their products in a very competitive marketplace.
Enphase and Solaredge currently dominate the solar inverter market around the world, and are offering exciting new additions to their systems. Enphase is coming out with the next generation of their microinverter (the IQ8) that will be capable of operating and providing electricity even when there is a power outage with the electric utility. They have also developed a new battery system (Ensemble) that is compatible with their inverters. Solaredge is offering a new inverter (Energy Hub) that is pre-wired for battery back-up, car charging and consumption monitoring. Ecohouse Solar is ready to install these products for our customers. Our technicians are trained and are familiar with the new solar inverter technology that is coming on the market. Our goal is to custom design a solar electric system that offers the best combination of price and technology to meet the needs of our customers.
Solar modules have also continually improved in quality since Ecohouse Solar got started in 2008. When we first started, the average power rating of a residential solar panel was 200 watts. Now that number is 325 watts. Today Ecohouse is selling premium solar panels like the LG Neon R that has a 375 watt rating, and Solaria modules, that have a 370 watt rating. In addition to making the solar panels more efficient, the solar panels also look better. Most residential panels are now made with black frames and have all black appearance which tends to look better on most roof surfaces. And the cost of solar panels has come down by more than 100% since Ecohouse first started.
The two main components of a solar electric system are the solar modules or panels, and the inverter system, which converts the Direct Current (DC) electricity produced by the solar panels, to Alternating Current (AC) electricity, used in people homes and businesses. The electric grid and electric utilities all operate with AC electricity, and because nearly all of our solar electric systems are grid-tied systems. The electricity produced by the solar system must be compatible with the grid. This the job of the solar inverter.
When we started in 2008, the only option for inverters were “string” inverters. Ecohouse installed SMA Sunny Boy inverters for the first few years. That changed with the introduction of “microinverters” by Enphase. These microinverters were installed under the solar panels on the roof, one per panel, unlike string inverters that have one inverter for the entire system. Starting in 2012, Ecohouse Solar began installing Enphase microinverters. The advantage was greater safety, and eliminating the possibility of a single point of failure. Enphase systems also came with user friendly panel-level electronic monitoring which provides the customer with easy online access to the performance of their PV system. Soon after, Solaredge introduced a hybrid inverter system that uses panel level “Power Optimizer” technology, paired with a string inverter. The electric code also changed and began to require “rapid shutdown” capability, which made the panel level electronics a requirement. These inverters have continued to improved their quality and reliability each year. Ecohouse Solar has been installing both Enphase and Solaredge systems for the last seven years.
When you work with Ecohouse we will look carefully at what technology makes the most sense for you, and design a PV system that is appropriate for your need and budget. Please contact us today for a free estimate.