U.S.-headquartered microinverter specialist Enphase Energy has entered into a manufacturing agreement with Indian solar module manufacturer Waaree to build AC panels integrated with Enphase microinverters.
The modules will be produced at Waaree’s 500 MW fab in Surat, India, and represents Enphase’s first AC module partnership with an Indian company, having already partnered with solar module makers such as JinkoSolar, SolarWorld and LG Electronics.
Raghu Belur, Enphase’s VP of products and strategic initiatives, spoke with pv magazine at the REI show in Delhi about the partnership, as well as Enphase’s wider strategy in the burgeoning Indian solar market.
“The rooftop solar market in India is growing at 80% per year, and currently stands at around 1.3 GW, of which 70% is in the C&I sector,” Belur said. “We are adopting an Internet of Things (IOT) approach to all that we do, and we see the solar panel as an IOT appliance; with the microinverter embedded we have an organic merging of the two silicon devices, bringing intelligence to the rooftop.”
Belur also revealed that Enphase has already started shipping its IQ6 microinverter to a 1 MW rooftop project in India, that will be completed in November. “The timing to grow into the Indian rooftop market is perfect,” he said. “As all solar markets mature, the technology moves behind the meter, and in India our microinverter offers IP67 protection, which is perfect for the harsh Indian climate.”
Hitesh Doshi, chairman and managing director of Waaree Energies, said in a statement: “The attachment of Waaree solar PV modules with the Enphase microinverter system is a significant win for installers and customers. Not only will they enjoy the quality and performance of industry leading products, our AC solar modules will also be easier and faster to install. We are delighted to be working with Enphase Energy with its strong heritage in energy technology and continued development of quality microinverters that suit India’s unique climate and weather conditions.”
Belur also spoke a little more about Enphase’s Ensemble software, first announced at SPI, that can seamless switch a microinverter between grid-tied and off-grid functionality, which means that in the event of a blackout a solar array will continue to provide electricity without the need for storage. “It is another product ideal for India, which famously has a very intermittent grid.”
The Ensemble is currently entering a 12-month period of testing, Belur said, and will be ready for market launch at the end of 2018.