With the advent of rapid shutdown, we see a move to more Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE).
Microinverters from Darfon Solar
Frank O’Young | Darfon Solar
Tell us about the Darfon Solar
Darfon Solar is a division of Darfon Electronics Corp., the world's leading notebook keyboard and power supply manufacturer with more than 1,200 global patents, 20 international design awards and 16,000 employees worldwide. Utilizing its power supply and integrated material expertise, Darfon developed and expanded its solar division with a dedication to produce dependable, efficient and user-friendly solar products. Darfon manufactures off-grid, hybrid and microinverters, as well as, energy storage solutions and a microinverter installation solution.
What separates Darfon from other microinverter companies?
Bankability. It has been a concern in the industry for years. Many microinverters come with a 25-year warranty, but that begs the question, will the company be around for that long? With Darfon, there is no question about it. It is an international company with recorded consolidated annual sales revenue of approximately $700 million USD. And unlike other microinverter companies, Darfon is a fully vertically integrated company when it comes to power electronics. The company does all the designs, engineering, procurement, SMT and DIP, assembly and testing of the microinverters by itself and by doing so has full control of cost and quality.
Where does Darfon fit in the renewable space?
Darfon is committed in manufacturing innovative and progressive products, such as the G320, G640 and ACRak. The G320 and G640 microinverters are the solution for today’s high-power solar modules. With increasing power output from PV modules, many microinverters cannot handle them without clipping and clipping does matter. ACRak is a pre-assembled microinverter installation solution that reduces labor required on the roof, saving time, money and ultimately making the installation process safer.
Although Darfon is known as a microinverter manufacturer, it also sees the future in energy storage. That is why Darfon has been investing its resources into developing its battery manufacturing capabilities and hybrid inverter solutions. At SPI 2016, Darfon introduced its H5000 hybrid inverter and its H100 hybrid storage solution. Darfon is also a leading ODM supplier of lithium-ion batteries for residential ESS.
Your microinverters offer cloud based monitoring, why this is such a key feature?
Monitoring for a PV system is a must, whether you are a homeowner, installer or utility. It is the most efficient and inexpensive way to troubleshoot and maintain a PV system. It only makes sense that our monitoring system should be cloud-based for ease of access from anywhere in the world, through a web portal, an Android or iOS mobile app. It is also why our new monitoring hardware features improved reliability and transmits to the cloud via Wi-Fi, hardwire or 3G/4G cellular network.
Darfon exhibited at SPI 2016, what was your main take away from that Tradeshow?
At SPI 2016 we saw an increasing number of new product developments and interest in the arenas of energy storage and self-consumption. With heightened interest in these categories, our hybrid inverters and batteries drew in a significant amount of attention. Our interaction with attendees showed us that installers are expecting more from manufacturers in terms of monitoring and complete energy storage solutions. We also garnered excellent feedback on how our microinverters address the challenges of larger PV modules. Taking what we learned at SPI and the changes we see within the market, we are making sure our next generation of products will meet the demands of tomorrow.
How does Darfon see the market progressing in the near future?
With the advent of rapid shutdown, we see a move to more Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE). With traditional optimizers, installation requires both a string inverter and a MLPE, not yet including the factor of high voltage DC. Properly designed and reliable microinverters, on the other hand, offer the most adaptable MLPE and flexible ways to control power. With utilities demanding active control over the feeding of power back to the grid, use of our microinverters makes this possible.
How does Darfon see the market progressing in the long term?
Microinverters have not been seen as a viable option for many countries outside of the United States because of cost, but that is all changing. With the decreasing price of microinverters, soon the difference in cost per watt of string inverters and microinverters will be negligible and microinverters being installed worldwide will become a common occurrence.
And inverter companies will be mandated to have their products hand over control of PV systems to the utility companies to control when power is fed back to the utility. This will allow the utility to control the power from solar just like any other power plant that they may use.
Then eventually, battery storage will be incorporated into every solar installation in the United States and likely worldwide.
Darfon Electronics Corp. is a world leading manufacture of telecommunication components and precision devices. Now Darfon is the top 2 supplier of notebook PC keyboard and the second largest supplier of LCD TV inverter in the world. By year end of 2008, Darfon had generated about NTD 27.2 billion dollars in sales revenues and now houses a staff of over 20,000 employees throughout its global operations spreading across Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, USA, and Europe.
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