The good thing about the Solar Power International show is that every year it’s packed with companies showing off the latest solar tech advances, like prototypes of cutting edge thin film material and lightening quick robots that can stack solar panels. That’s also the difficult part: the massive three-room show floor is stuffed wall-to-wall with solar goods, making for tired feet and a whole lot of stuff to look at in a day (like this cut-out Obama prop in front of a sizable solar panel). But I spent Tuesday strolling the expo floor looking for the most interesting solar technology I could find.
Here’s what I saw:
Akeena Solar was marketing its rooftop solar panel gear, the Andalay system, as the solar system that installers want to install. “Get untrained,” was the company’s motto and they tried to show attendees how simple the system was to set up.
Enphase Energy makes a microinverter that converts direct current (DC) flowing out of panels into the alternating current (AC) used by the electric grid. Enphase told us back in June that it was planning to work with solar panel makers to embed the microinverter directly into the panel itself. Below are shots of Enphase’s microinverter, embedded in a panel (directly below) and separate (second down).
Here’s a thin film solar prototype via SoloPower, a startup based in San Jose, Calif, which is slowing trying to move into commercial production. The prototype was at the 3M booth.
Like at last year’s show, the solar robots were in full effect!
Concentrating solar systems from Morgan Solar, Soliant, Sopogy and SolFocus (in that order):