Guerrilla Solar

Back in the old days of Home Power magazine, before the Sunny Boy and Fronius, when the SW was the staple, and made by Trace, when wiring diagrams weren’t usually just a massive series string of modules….

Well, there was a little inverter called the Micro Sine, made by Trace. A 100w 12v or 24v input grid-synchronous inverter designed for mounting right on the frame of a solar module. It was great for “Guerrilla Solar” – back feeding power without the utility’s permission or knowledge. It was a feature in Home Power, people took photos with their little (and even pretty big) arrays wearing gorilla masks, articles were often written in a sort of tongue-and-cheek style. It was pretty neat. As time went on big arrays got cheaper, the big HV input MPPT synchronous inverters came on the market and utilities started becoming more willing to make legal protocols for grid tie systems. Trace got bought by Xantrex and the Micro Sine fell off the market. Guerilla Solar disappeared out of Home Power. Small distributed grid tie inverters have never caught on.

As with all things, however, you can count on the Chinese catch on about 10 years late and bring a facsimile of something the western market has disappeared for, but make it cheap enough to sell them anyways. So when I mentioned to my friend Micah that I had a 160w 12v PV array he mentioned that he had picked up a Chinese 12v/250w grid synchronous inverter in the style of the old Micro Sine- but he didn’t have enough solar to push it. He offered that I should try it out.

It worked fine- just as it should have. And I have to say, it was a bit of a thrill to see that 100w of rogue energy flowing back online, PG&E none the wiser.

Posted on March 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm by Henry · Permalink
In: Life and Times, Renewable Energy System

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