Interviews – ?Each microinverter converts and manages the energy from its own solar panel. And that outweighs many disadvantages?

– What are the fundamental technological principles of microinverters?
Unlike conventional inverters, microinverters have the particularity of acting on the reliability, safety and robustness of photovoltaic installations. In fact, multi-module microinverters convert solar energy into electricity directly on the roof. Each microinverter converts and manages power from its own solar panel. Therefore, it overcomes many disadvantages.

In fact, conventional inverters do not manage the differences in the production of a photovoltaic roof, subject to different orientations or inclinations. The microinverter tracks the individual production of your solar panel, helping to optimize your roof and achieve production gains. All panels are thus installed in parallel and not in series. The solar energy transmitted in direct current is then transformed into alternating current and is injected into the network or consumed directly in the case of a self-consumption project.

– In the case of tertiary and logistics buildings, how does the microinverter contribute to the energy and economic performance of the solar roof project?
Production gains are compounded the more outlier the ceiling is. Microinverters expand the range of possibilities. The flat roofs of supermarkets, for example, are full of limitations: air conditioning unit, ventilation hatches, etc. The advantage of microinverters is to be able to install solar panels where the shade is minimal and to make the entire surface usable. Precisely now we are launching a new native three-phase quad microinverter to meet the needs and requirements of the industry: the QT2, which will be ready for the Spanish market this summer. It will connect four high power modules and offer an output of 2,000 watts of power.

For example, we were able to respond to an east-west facing roof project in Burgundy, France for which a string inverter solution was not feasible. In Turkey, we supported the installation of a ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant of more than 700 kW, near a cement plant. So prone to dust. However, the microinverter system, which independently manages the production of your solar panel, can also provide all this data. In addition, the return on investment of this solution is reduced for a few months. For the installer, this is not negligible.

– Talk about reliability and robustness. What does it mean?
microinverter technology it is made to last 25 years, with a minimum guarantee of 10 years up to 20 years, when the classic inverter has a guarantee of 5 years for a maximum useful life of 8 to 12 years. The permanently added direct current in conventional inverters accelerates component wear and aging. The microinverter, at very low voltage, receives only 50 volts in direct current compared to 600 volts or even more than the conventional inverter. It also reduces the risk of sparks, fires and cuts. The microinverter cable is no more dangerous than an outdoor lighting power cable running through the roof, for example. Thus, the microinverter also participates in the security of goods and people.

– What types of buildings are microinverters suitable for?
They are easily directed to establishments open to the public, residential and also tertiary and logistics buildings. We have partners now who were among the first to systematically install microinverters in all large rooftop PV installations and to set up a truly industrialized process. The solution also allows to obtain the construction permit of the photovoltaic project, where the inverter does not allow it due to the high voltage direct current on the roof. A partner has installed, for example, a 100 kW self-consumption project in an agricultural warehouse that stores fodder for livestock and involves just over 1,000 m2 of installed panels. And also a 136 kW installation on the roof of a craft carpentry, that is, 1,500 m2 of solar roof. Or even recently a 100 kW installation in a hairdressing product warehouse, that is, 1,000 m2 of occupied roof.

These installations on large roofs make it possible to optimize the surface and tend to self-consumption of electricity. In addition, these microinverters are equipped with an intelligent monitoring system that allows the installer to remotely manage data in real time: microinverter temperature, voltage, production of each microinverter, etc. This allows you to adjust your maintenance and reduce costs.

• This interview has been published in the June 2022 issue of Renewable energy on paper (ER 212), which you can download for free here