DALLAS --- Reporting from Solar Power International in the company of 28,000 solar industry insiders.

I just spoke with eIQ, a California-based, VC-funded distributed solar electronics firm.

As with all distributed solar electronics schemes, these technology solutions seek to maximize energy harvest, minimize power attenuation from shading and panel or thermal mismatch, and improve on the reliability and efficiency of central solar inverters, the long-dominant technology.

All of the distributed solar electronics firms such as Tigo, Enphase, and SolarEdge rely on increased energy harvest as a value proposition -- eIQ doesn't. Jerry Cutini, the CEO of the firm, along with Oliver Janssen, the chief business development officer, differentiate their firm from the many other players:

  • eIQ is "not competing with a central inverter in any way." The firm's product is a replacement for the conventional series architecture that allows distributed MPPT to be delivered at low cost.
  • The CEO said that eIQ becomes a "line-item" in the Bill of Materials (BOM) with the BOM now consisting of four items: panels, inverter, racking, and eIQ.
  • The installation uses a standard inverter set up to a constant voltage -- a field addressable change.  

Janssen maintains that "every one of the firm's sales is a repeat sale," while the CEO adds that, "We don't take money out of any one's pocket. The important message is there is an absolute dollar cost reduction -- it's not, 'Get more harvest and pay more for our stuff.'"
Additionally, eIQ's system lowers labor costs and speeds the velocity of the installation. Michael Lamb, the VP of business development said that the time to install and commission is dramatically reduced -- it's just tiling the roof based on site conditions. And, he adds, you don't need a highly trained workforce for installation.

eIQ's customers are "strong, regional EPCs" that want to provide a standard offering and keep labor out of the field.

Lots more balance-of-system and inverter news to come this week from Dallas. Stay tuned.