June 02, 2022

What are solar AC modules?

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There are many different components that come together to form what we call a solar home system, but the most famous one is the solar panel itself. Also known as a solar module, this rectangular equipment has a grid-like pattern of solar cells that absorb power from the sun, creating an electric charge.

In a conventional solar system, solar panels send direct current (DC) to an inverter that changes the power to alternating current (AC) to match the electricity in our homes. This renewable electricity is fed into the home’s circuit breaker panel to create a solar powered home.

Of course there are more components than that to install a home solar system, but we’ll focus on these two. That’s because the solar AC module combines them into a single package.

The solar AC module

Because solar photovoltaic cells produce DC power, the idea of a solar AC module might seem like an oxymoron to some. The trick is that the solar panel has microinverter technology on the back side that is directly integrated by the manufacturer at the factory. This provides an intriguing option for system owners and installers alike looking for the most streamlined home solar power system available.

Microinverter technology

Instead of sending the output of a string of solar panels to a single inverter, a microinverter converts the DC output of a single solar panel into AC power. This small, yet mighty piece of technology has a wealth of benefits for system owners and installers alike, such as panel-level monitoring and safe, low-voltage design.

Enphase transformed the solar industry in 2006 with this revolutionary microinverter technology. Originally designed to be installed separately from the solar panel itself, Enphase engineers sought to actively improve microinverter technology for a more seamless installation experience.

That’s where the AC module comes in. Enphase partnered with some of the biggest solar module manufacturers to fully integrate Enphase IQ Series Microinverters into the solar panel manufacturing process to make installations faster, easier, and more cost-effective.

Benefits of a solar AC module

Solar AC modules have a variety of benefits for both system owners and installers. With an Enphase AC Module, you can also reap the benefits of Enphase IQ Microinverters integrated directly into each panel. Here are some of the benefits:

Plug-and-play

What was already easy is now even easier with fewer connection points. Home solar installations are cleaner with easier cable management. Equipment is UL listed and uses the MC-style crimp tool that installers know and expect.

Streamlined value chain

Installers enjoy a 20 to 40% reduction in installation time relative to Enphase Solar without AC Module integration. It’s fewer trips up the ladder, less waste, and a simplified supply chain from the warehouse to the roof.

Rigorous testing

Each solar manufacturer tests its solar modules for optimal performance and then tests them again once they are AC Modules. It’s added quality control to last the long term.

Warranty included

The industry-leading 25-year microinverter limited warranty is included in every AC Module. The same rigorous testing for microinverter performance and reliability applies to integrated solutions.

The benefits of Enphase

Solar AC Modules enjoy all the usual benefits of Enphase Solar, including rapid shutdown, software updates, panel-level monitoring, access to the Enphase App, and much more.

Solar panel kits

For those looking for the easiest and most straightforward solution for home solar, including off grid solar systems, you may be considering a home solar panel kit to meet your goals. Solar kits are typically box sets that include solar panels, an inverter, wiring, and sometimes energy storage equipment - such as a battery and charge controller.

However, these home solar kits require assembly that goes above and beyond the comfort level of many. That’s why they are typically reserved for unique situations, such as for camping or as part of a recreational vehicle (RV).

Like other home solar systems, you should still have a certified installer do the installation, but it at least helps streamline the process.

Leading AC modules

Since Enphase debuted the AC Module back in 2017, panel manufacturers, installers, and system owners have enjoyed the benefits available. More and more panel brands are partnering with Enphase to leverage this technology.

Enphase + SunPower

Enphase IQ7AS microinverters deliver optimal performance, with 366 VA peak power and 349 VA continuous power, as a factory-integrated element of SunPower A-Series Solar Modules, part of the SunPower ® Equinox ® System. Integrated Enphase IQ7XS microinverters deliver tailor-made performance for SunPower X-Series Solar Modules, a 96-cell PV module with a record-breaking 22.8% efficiency.

Enphase + Q CELLS

The Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G6+/AC module is the first Enphase-powered Q CELLS AC module on the market. The powerful combination of Q CELLS’ innovative Q.ANTUM DUO monocrystalline half-cell technology and the intelligence of the Enphase IQ7+™ microinverter makes up this high-performing, smart-grid ready module.

Enphase + Panasonic

Panasonic's N330E HIT® AC Series Modules combines the efficiency of HIT® solar panels with the intelligence of seventh-generation Enphase IQ7X Microinverters, which leads the industry with broad regulatory compliance, advanced "Smart Grid" features, a high fire safety rating, and 97.5% CEC efficiency.

Enphase + Solaria

Solaria partnered with Enphase to design the PowerXT AC panel, designed on the smart-grid ready Enphase IQ7+. The Solaria PowerXT AC module combines aesthetics and performance into an elegant product that reduces installation time by combining the inverter, module and monitoring into a single package.

Plug-and-play technology for your roof

In hindsight, combining the solar panel with an integrated microinverter created the perfect pairing. This technology makes installations faster, easier, and more cost-effective by significantly reducing the number of components required. Even better, Enphase AC Modules still provide the wide range of benefits that Enphase IQ Series Microinverters have to offer.

Looking to save on your monthly utility bills? What about keeping the lights on during a power outage? Or maybe you want to reduce your carbon footprint? If you are considering going solar, Enphase can help you think through your home energy goals and connect you to a certified installer to help you design a system to your exact specifications.

Questions? Contact us. We'll help you build your system, today.
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