The industry’s first single-module three-phase microinverter, developed by researchers at the Florida Power Electronics Center at the University of Central Florida (UCF), has been licensed to MaxHarvest Microinverters, LLC, a subsidiary of GreenTech Endeavors, a Miami-based cleantech garage/incubator. Through research funded by the Department of Energy, the UCF-developed microinverter technology has the potential to significantly increase the worldwide accessibility of solar energy by increasing the efficiency, reliability and scalability of the solar photovoltaics (PV) systems that generate electricity from solar energy.
UCF’s Florida Power Electronics Center, at the College of Engineering and Computer Science, developed the groundbreaking technology under the leadership of Issa Batarseh, Ph.D. The University’s Office of Technology Transfer facilitated the exclusive license agreement.
Energy organizations and market forecasters project the solar PV industry will exceed $130 billion within the next 15 years. Twenty percent of the world’s population lacks access to electricity, according to World Energy Outlook-2009 estimation. As global-wide momentum continues to build for eco-friendly solutions, solar PV is positioned as a cleaner, more abundant and better distributed energy source than traditional technologies such as nuclear, coal, natural gas and hydro.
A crucial component of solar PV is the inverters that convert the direct current (DC) output of the solar cells to the alternating current (AC) used to power electric devices and deliver electricity to the grid. Traditional approaches have relied on large, central inverters that are expensive, require high-voltage wiring and introduce a single point of failure into the system. Microinverters have entered the market with improvements over the central inverters, but lack system scalability and full compatibility with the three-phase configurations used by the utilities that distribute electricity. In addition, they are not designed for optimal one-to-one, single microinverter connected to a single solar panel, performance.
“Our team of University researchers has developed the technology to produce the industry’s first single-module three-phase microinverter that achieves the needed scalability, compatibility and single microinverter-to-solar panel performance to reduce the cost of solar energy while substantially boosting energy-harvesting capacity,” explained Dr. Batarseh. “Among its many other benefits, it also provides both high power conversion and light load efficiency.”
Under the MaxHarvest Microinverters brand, GreenTech Endeavors will continue to develop, test and invest in the technology as it prepares its market strategy. GreenTech Endeavors’ management team will also provide a variety of strategic business and marketing support activities.
“We are extremely excited on the potential benefits this technology has for consumers and overall impact it can have for communities and entire populations around the world,” said Will Perego, founder and CEO at GreenTech Endeavors, and CEO at MaxHarvest Microinverters. “In addition, the combination of the Department of Energy’s initial funding and the University’s innovative research is a shining example of the efforts needed for the United States to remain a major player worldwide in the development of clean, renewable energy.”
Perego launched MaxHarvest Microinverters in March 2015, one of 17 companies he has started since the 1980s. A visionary and entrepreneur dedicated to clean energy solutions, Perego is in the process of finalizing a funded R&D project and engaging several of the UCF students who worked on the initial research, a move that would bring in additional inside knowledge of the technology as his company refines it further.
About the GreenTech Endeavors:
GreenTech Endeavors is an incubator of revolutionary cleantech startups that can help create an abundant, safe and non-polluted world for all mankind. GreenTech Endeavors licenses clean technologies from American Universities to bring these technologies to market and also invests in early stage cleantech startups. For more information: greentechendeavors.com.