In recent years, Solar power has become exclusively modular which is great news for would be system owners. In the old days, you needed to buy not just solar panels but batteries too. This significantly raised the cost of your most basic systems. Grid-tied inverters are the unit of equipment that makes installing a solar system on your home possible, without the additional cost and complexity of a battery. It’s “grid-tied” that means it connects to the electrical grid which your home is currently using for electricity. The solar inverter takes the power produced by the solar panels on your roof and turn it directly into usable power for your home.
In 2008 Power-One started their line of solar inverters, and in a couple short years became one of the top producers of solar inverters in the industry. Their solar components line has recently been bought by ABB.
Fast forward to 2012, Power-One Energy releases their “micro inverter” into the solar market and changes the game. The “micro inverter” is exactly how it sounds, it is a significantly smaller inverter that works basically the same as their larger forefathers but now you can have a functioning solar system with just a module and a micro inverter. Each micro attaches underneath each solar panel in the array (for example, if you have five solar panels you will have five micro inverters). Before the micro inverter you needed to buy many modules and one larger string inverter.
The micro inverter has made solar systems entirely modular, not strictly in installation and operation but additionally in the monitoring. A system owner wants to monitor your system in order to make sure it is operating how you expect and that it is producing the needed electricity gathered from the sun. Power-One developed a user-friendly micro inverter monitoring system called the CDD, which allows you to see the production of every panel in your system as an individual unit. The system owner is provided access to their production information online as well. So you can show you friends or colleagues the progress of your solar system whether you are at home or away.