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Crystalline-silicon solar manufacturer SolarWorld and microinverter specialist Enphase Energy have agreed to partner up and develop a new portfolio of AC solar modules (ACM) for the worldwide market.

Both companies will collaborate on the development, commercialisation and marketing of a new slew of AC modules that will assimilate SolarWorld’s Sunmodule solar panels with Enphase’s microinverter technology.

The modules, which are expected to begin shipping in the US in late 2016, will eliminate the need to install a centralised string inverter.

Ardes Johnson, US vice president of sales and marketing for SolarWorld, said: “Past attempts at AC modules, essentially power-electronic units bolted onto modules, have not delivered the full value that such an innovation should provide. With Enphase, we are developing a highly integrated module built in automated, high-reliability factory conditions that only SolarWorld can deliver. This AC module will not only save time and cost in labor and logistics in installation, but it also will be designed in a way that will still allow for streamlined operations and maintenance in the field.”

Stefan Zschiegner, vice president of products for Enphase Energy, added: “There has been significant growth in demand from large solar distributors, installers and fleet owners for a reliable, cost-effective and high-performance AC module product. The ACM pairing of Enphase’s next-generation S-series microinverters with SolarWorld’s Sunmodules will address this demand by reducing capital and labour costs as well as simplifying the supply chain and logistics. In the future, ACM architecture shall enable a seamless integration with Enphase’s Energy Management System.”