Education

Modern solar technology

 

Unfortunately, many people do not have much background or experience with solar.  In fact, there is still a lot of misinformation that solar is still very expensive, will never pay for itself, or is unreliable.  Right now, most of us simply do not have a neighbor or know someone that has a system to ask them about their actual experience. Assumptions and outdated information tend to prevail.  However, at MHK Solar we hope to do our part to change that.

 

Solar technology has evolved rapidly over the last couple of decades. Panel efficiencies have risen dramatically and 60-cell panels now commonly generate over 300 W. The introduction of module level power electronics (MLPE) has also been a complete game changer. Instead of a single large inverter that ties several panels together in strings, now each panel can have its own microinverter to convert the DC output to AC right on the roof. There are several advantages to this type of system. First, a single failure within the inverter or a panel will not cause a string or even the entire system to go offline. Individual panel monitoring also makes troubleshooting much easier. Second, microinverters convert the DC output of the panels directly to AC so there is no DC wiring in your home and installation is much less complicated. Finally, MLPEs are more efficient, both in terms of less line losses in interconnecting wiring and shading effects during cloudy days.

 

In addition to efficiency and reliability improvements, costs have also dropped dramatically. In fact, in 2016 panel average selling prices fell 20-25%. The reason for such a dramatic drop is due to major oversupply problems for the panel manufacturers. The oversupply was due to recent major demand contractions. The current 30% federal tax credit was originally set to expire at the end of 2016 which pulled forward a lot of domestic demand.  However, the subsequent renewal has left a gap in demand since the pressure to install before expiration has subsided.  Also, the major economic slowdown in China (and other parts of the world) in recent years had a significant impact on solar panel manufacturers since that was previously one of the fastest growing markets.  While bad for manufacturers, these macro trends are great for you they have helped make solar system installations more affordable than ever before. 

 

More information

 

There are a countless number of sub-topics when it comes to learning about solar power.  Going forward I will work to keep this page up to date with some of the latest and greatest innovations in the solar field to help keep you educated and informed

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