Enphase and Q CELLS team on new AC module

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The new AC Module will feature an integrated IQ7 microinverter. Image: Enphase Energy.

Microinverter manufacturer Enphase and module producer Q CELLS are to join forces to develop an AC module (ACM) aimed at the US residential solar market.

Combining Enphase’s IQ microinverters and Q CELLS’ ‘Q.ANTUM DUO’ monocrystalline half-cell technology, the new Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G6+/AC modules will begin shipping in July.

The incorporation of a microinverter into a module is intended to make system installation easier and cheaper with no need for a DC connection. The companies said this could in turn make installers more competitive by reducing labour costs and improving capital management.  

“Q CELLS is a global PV technology leader known for its high-quality photovoltaic solar cells and modules, and this AC module partnership is yet another validation of the ACM concept and Enphase’s microinverter technology,” said Badri Kothandaraman, chief executive officer at Enphase Energy.

“This ACM partnership harnesses the strengths of both companies to offer a high quality, easy-to-use solution for the high-volume residential market.”

Enphase enjoyed a roaring start to the year, reporting Q1 revenues double that of what it achieved in Q1 2019 as it ramped up both production and sales of its microinverters while simultaneously prepping for the launch of its EnCharge storage product. PV Tech’s exclusive analysis of listed PV inverter manufacturers details Enphase’s growth in recent years, plotting it against its rivals in the market.

But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened to derail that progress, with Enphase having warned of an expected slump into Q2 as domestic solar installs in the US falter. Reports that the market is rebounding faster than expected will come as good news, but Enphase has already lost a key partner in rooftop contractor and solar installer PetersenDean, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.  

“Enphase was the right partner for Q CELLS to develop an AC module for the high-volume residential solar market because both companies are aligned in providing customers with the highest quality and most reliable solar technology,” said Hee Cheul (Charles) Kim, chief executive officer of Q CELLS. “Our shared customers will benefit from faster installations and reduced operating costs enabled by the AC modules, and we look forward to a long and successful collaboration with Enphase.”

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