2018 has been an incredible year for solar energy which brought us more solar power plants, innovations and especially, product releases.
Since there are too many, we cannot mention them all in this single article. However, we can summarise some of the most amazing ones! Let’s find out!
Enphase 7th Generation Microinverters
The undeniable leader of the microinverter industry had a nice year in shipments and installations across the world with its new product line of 7th generation microinverters known as the IQ7 Enphase systems.
The new product was released at the beginning of the year and arrived in Australia in June. This presented a great step forward for the brand and the microinverter market because previous available versions in Australia were 5th generation microinverters, called S-Series.
The 7th generation microinverter systems have several options available such as the IQ7, IQ7+ and IQ7X models. All of them are compatible with AC batteries from the same brand.
IQ7 systems now support the latest and highest nominal powers of solar panels up to 440W for 60-cell and 72-cell modules.
Moreover, IQ7X products will even be compatible with 96-cell modules.
LONGi Solar Partnership
In October, Enphase also announced their allegiance with the module manufacturer LONGi Solar in order to deliver a new AC module to the brand’s repertory.
LONGi Solar high-efficiency monocrystalline PERC 60-cell modules with power outputs between 300-320 W will be paired with Enphase IQ7 microinverter products.
At the same time, LONGi Solar’s 72-cell modules with power outputs between 340-375W will be paired with IQ7+ microinverters.
The proposal of Enphase and LONGi Solar can be presented as part of a complete pre-assembled solution that includes AC module, Enphase IQ Envoy, IQ Combiner 3, Q Cable, and an AC Battery, which speeds up installation times and saves costs.
This AC module joins with the other products available from the partnership with LG, Solaria and JinkoSolar solar panels.
SunPower Highest Efficiency Module
Also, this past year the solar industry saw a new breaking record thanks to SunPower.
The highest solar panel efficiency that is commercially available is from this brand. Their SunPower X-Series SPR-X22-370 model with 370W offers a 22.7% efficiency. That’s 2% higher than its most recent rival from LG (NeON R model)!
The solar panel offers 60% more power than a conventional solar panel could deliver when considering the 25-year performance.
It is made using their third-generation SunPower Maxeon solar cells, built on solid metal foundations with high reliability and performance.
These modules are especially protected against the corrosion and cracking that usually degrade conventional panels.
The product was presented in June during the Intersolar Europe conference in Munich, Germany.
New SMA Product Releases
2018 was an excellent year for the German company.
Besides their usual installations and shipments across the world, they also had four product releases this year. Let’s take a look at them.
1. TS4-F Rapid Shutdown
Back in 2016, an allegiance started between the DC optimizer manufacturer Tigo and the inverter manufacturer SMA.
That’s how the product line of TS4 DC optimizers started.
They offered a solution related to smart modules that integrated the DC optimizers behind the solar panels.
Each version had its own unique features, some of them including the features of previous versions, that can be mixed with SMA’s Sunny Boy models.
The TS4 product line included:
You can watch a more detailed explanation in this video and read a well-explained article about its features here: Review: The DC Optimizer Solution Tigo TS4-R.
TS4-F product release was done in January and offers a solution for protection against fire by providing a safe and rapid shutdown of the module. The module is also protected thanks to SMA’s arc fault detection (AFCI).
2. World’s Most Powerful Central Inverter
SMA put itself at the top of the world with their new Sunny Central Up, an inverter with an output of 4.6 MW suitable for utility-scale projects.
The release was made in September and represents an increase of almost 50% in power output when compared to its predecessor in SMA.
Now PV projects with 1,500 DC voltage can be designed with a significant reduction in the number of inverters, thanks to SMA.
The inverter can be mixed with large-scale DC battery storage solutions.
3. Three Batteries Into One
New Sunny Boy Storage 3.7/5.0/6.0 products from May can now be connected to three high-voltage batteries because the inverter has become a multi-string battery inverter.
Now it is also integrated with emergency power supply and Smart Connection from SMA.
We could only approach some of the greatest product releases this year in the solar industry.
However, there is no doubt that many more like the Sunny Tripower from SMA or the Symo Hybrid Inverter integrated with BYD battery boxes, have been released.
We are all anxious to see what 2019 has for solar products such as new modules, inverters, energy storage solutions and amazing unique releases like the IQ8 microinverter system from Enphase that should be available next year.
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Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.
Photo credit: Depositphotos