Solaria announced its latest Enphase Energized™ AC Module on April 22nd which is their 3rd major generation of ACM; the PowerXT™ 400-Watt AC Module (PowerXT 400R-PM) is a beacon to the solar industry, demonstrating the gaining popularity and acceptance of AC panels due to simplicity of product. The new AC Module sports Enphase’s most powerful IQ™ 7A microinverter yet which increases AC output by a whopping ~25% over its 2nd-gen predecessor.
Enphase’s partner, Solaria, has produced the most powerful AC Module currently available on the market for “Long Tail” installers and DIY-ers.
With increased power density, this new AC Module will allow installers to pack even more power into a system but using less solar panels to do the job. With Solaria’s new 400-Watt PowerXT™ AC Module, the installer can string up to 11 AC panels in a single branch circuit, generating up to 4,026-Watts of AC power; compare that to Solaria’s predecessor 355- or 365-Watt AC Modules where the installer needed at least 13 to max out at 3,835-Watts of AC power in a 240-Volt branch circuit. Two AC panels less per branch circuit is a cost-savings of ~$1,000 and it is time saved on the roof, and any time saved on the roof means a lot to installers, especially if they can build an even better system. Less panels needed to complete the job means less roofing real estate needed, and that’s an even bigger win for the customer.
In addition, the new AC panel has approximately 20.7% efficiency in converting sunlight to power, versus the 19.6% efficiency of its predecessor; this gives each Solaria PowerXT™ 400- Watt AC Module a ~6% efficiency boost over previous models. The increase in DC wattage from 365- to 400-Watts gives a ~9% power generating advantage for this new AC Module over previous models.
Furthermore, the Solaria PowerXT™ solar panels have over 10% increased efficiency in terms of space utilization over competing models as shown above, and best of all, the Solaria AC Modules are Enphase Energized™, a quality brand name that people trust.
Solaria partnered with Enphase in 2018 and debuted the company’s first generation of AC Module — the Solaria 355-Watt PowerXT™ solar panel with integrated Enphase IQ 7+™ microinverter. This was a bold move by Solaria , as is true with any first-generation product sold on the market. Nevertheless, the Solaria PowerXT® AC Module was an incredible success, and according to Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma, their ACM did just as well, if not better than the LG’s ACe with integrated Enphase IQ™ 6+ which sold over 100k in 2017 but was discontinued due to the tariffs.
In early 2020, a second-generation AC Module was released by Solaria sporting a 365-Watt PowerXT™ solar panel with an integrated Enphase IQ 7+™ microinverter; this model was basically a successor to the 355-Watt AC Module, giving it a small wattage boost. Now, with the announcement of this 3rd-gen 400-Watt ACM, it is clear that AC panels are here to stay, and that the product is maturing rapidly. This new AC Module from Solaria and Enphase sports a 400-Watt PowerXT™ solar panel and Enphase’s latest IQ 7A™ microinverter, which boasts a 366-Watt AC output.
The dynamics and flexibility of this new product is that it can be classified for both residential and C/I solar applications. The Solaria CEO states that they really don’t classify their products into either category and think it best to leave it up to the free market. Even with the 355- and 365-Watt AC Modules, the Solaria ACM’s still sold well into the C/I arena, but with this 400- Watt AC Module with integrated IQ 7A™, this newest AC Module is definitely destined for many future C/I projects, as well as a powerful product to supercharge the residential solar arena, too. C/I installers currently using Enphase IQ™ 7X microinverters paired with solar panels now have a new product available, which increases AC power generation by ~15%.
The Solaria PowerXT™ 400-Watt AC Module is now only second to SunPower’s 425-Watt Maxeon-5 with integrated Enphase IQ 7AS™ microinverter, but it will not carry the associated price-tag. Both competing products are now on the same level microinverter-wise. The real difference is that the Solaria AC panel will be available to the masses of “Long Tail” installers and DIY-ers; this latest AC Module from Solaria not only simplifies solar PV installation reducing installation times, but also gives customers a cutting-edge product with a 25-year product warranty on both solar panel and microinverter.
It’s also worth mentioning that older AC Module designs used a bolted-on microinverter, as SolarBridge’s Pantheon™ did, and LG still does with their in-house microinverter; their products with bolted-on micros have a hidden service flaw — if the solar panel or microinverter has issues, then the whole product must be replaced. With the Enphase AC Module design, the microinverter is detachable so the simplicity of service is guaranteed should a service issue ever arise.
Bruce Bosworth of San Diego Solar Install, an Enphase Premium Installer, says that the patented design of the new AC Module is brilliant and adds even more superiority to the product; with their solar projects, they are only installing AC Modules now. In order to install the Enphase Energized™ AC Module, one must slide the microinverter in place until a locking sound is heard; if this step is ignored, then it will be impossible to connect the Q-cable to the microinverter which connects it with the rest of the branch circuit; this prevents one less mistake from occurring on the roof. In addition, once the AC Module’s microinverter slides into place, it gives a half-inch air-space between it and the solar panel; this adds passive cooling to the system and is an attribute that AC Modules from competitors did not and still do not have, which can result in operational failures
In summary, Enphase and Solaria synergy is clearly visible with this new 400-Watt PowerXT™ AC Module. The AC Module product is one of Enphase’s main levers of profitable top-line growth, and this latest is one of the most powerful AC Modules ever produced. With Solaria’s capacity at now over 300-Megawatts, expect plenty of these AC Modules to fly off the assembly line and into the hands of “Long Tail” installers, giving them a powerful product to energize the solar solutions for their customers and make Enphase and their panel partner, Solaria, look great!