Echelon, Direct Grid Collaborate on Solar Micro-Inverters

Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ: ELON) announced that Direct Grid Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) micro-inverters, will add Echelon energy control networking to its micro-inverter products.

Micro-inverters convert electricity generated by PV panels from direct to alternating current at the individual panel level. This can increase the overall reliability and efficiency of a solar power installation.

By integrating the solar panels into a power line communicating energy control network with Echelon’s technology, Direct Grid says it can offer improved diagnostics, remote management and control, and lower the life cycle cost of the installation. The energy control network can be leveraged by Direct Grid and its customers over the lifetime of the panel installation, even as PV panel technology advances.

Echelon says its smart grid strategy focuses on providing solar power solutions, smart street lighting and building energy management.

"PV panel efficiency is constantly improving but by small increments. Adding energy control networking to our micro-inverter products allows us to address efficiency at a system level and provide substantial additional performance improvement," said Frank Cooper, Direct Grid’s president and principal. "Echelon’s energy control network multiplies the benefits of micro-inverters and gives us tremendous system control capabilities as well as insight into what is happening throughout the installation–system wide, by rows of panels, and at the individual panel. Efficiency and control are the combination that our customers want.

According to Direct Grid, using Echelon’s energy control networking technology was the right choice because it integrates well with other equipment, scales easily and cost effectively to meet the expanding needs of Direct Grid customers because it is more reliable and less costly to install and maintain than competing systems.

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