Micro-inverters in Ontario 2.3MW

A 2.3MW rooftop project – the largest ever to use micro-inverters supplied by Enphase Energy – has been commissioned as part of Ontario’s feed-in tariff programme.

The size of the project forcefully expands the horizon for micro-inverters, typically seen as being economical only for much smaller rooftop systems.

The project was built by Canadian integrator Sentinel Solar atop a greenhouse owned by Vine Fresh Produce, and incorporates more than 9,000 of Enphase’s M215 micro-inverters. 

The system was designed so that the Jinko Solar modules are raised off of the roof, allowing Sentinel to maintain the modules from within the greenhouse.

Micro-inverter suppliers such as Enphase and SolarEdge have only recently begun cracking into megawatt-scale PV installations, raising questions about how far they can expand their potential market. 

Most of the clearest benefits of micro-inverters – such as maximizing the output of each individual module and reducing the effects of shading on a particular part of the PV system – are seen as making little sense for utility-scale projects, where central inverters made by the likes of SMA rule the market.

But the market for commercial and industrial-scale rooftops is a greyer area for micro-inverters, and Enphase’s participation in the greenhouse project in Ontario represents something of a shot across the bow to its central-inverter rivals.

Enphase, which lost $6.4m in the most recent quarter on 400,000 units sold, is a rapidly growing force in the booming US residential PV market. Shares in the company are up 95% in 2013