By Ameet Konkar, Sr. Director, Strategic Initiatives
The news of Enphase’s successful remote upgrade of the operating behavior of hundreds of thousands of smart microinverters installed in Hawaii generated media and industry interest, including stories at Greentech Media and IEEE Spectrum.
In addition to the media coverage, Hawaiian Electric specifically mentioned this “unprecedented technological achievement” in a recent update to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, which stated in part that “the Companies were pleased to report that Enphase Energy successfully upgraded the operating behavior of approximately 154 MW of its smart microinverter capacity installed in Hawai'i to achieve interim ride-through settings” for customers on the islands of O’ahu, Hawai’i, Moloka’i and Lana’i.
A unique take on this unprecedented grid-stabilizing collaboration with Hawaiian Electric comes from Nigel Morris, director of Solar Business Services down under in Australia.
“Something astounding just happened in the solar energy world,” his blog headline reads. Nigel then notes in the lead paragraph that “the reality of what these guys just did and have achieved in the real world is really quite astonishing and has big potential implications for Australia.”
Here’s another excerpt from Nigel’s perceptive commentary:
“HECO (Hawaiian Electric) had looked at the option of manually reprogramming inverters but, as you can imagine, service call costs to 51,000 solar homes equipped with 800,000 microinverters quickly added up to tens of millions of dollars. Uniquely, Enphase (who are heavily data focused and driven) already had the ability to remotely connect to and tweak inverter settings. Could they simultaneously, remotely and precisely make this change? And measure its effectiveness? From their headquarters in Napa Valley, California?
“Yes, they could.
“So the other day someone in a backroom in Enphase HQ quietly pressed the enter button and changed the settings on 800,000 inverters across 51,000 homes. No truck rolls. No field calls. No dogs to navigate. No chatty retired engineers to talk to….
“To the best of my knowledge (anyone?) a change of this importance and relevance and scale has never been done before. Ever.”
We recommend that you read the rest of Nigel’s article, then spread the word via your social media outlets via the hashtag #changingenergy. Because at Enphase, that’s exactly what we’re doing—changing energy.
Something astounding just happened in the solar energy world
- Nigel Morris