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Popular Science Recognizes Innovative Solar Technologies

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Golden, Colo., Dec. 16, 1998 -- Popular Science magazine selected cutting-edge solar technologies developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as two of the year's most important technological advances. Innovative microinverters that enable photovoltaic (solar electric) modules to produce standard household current are listed among the magazine's "100 Best of What's New." Two of these microinverters were developed with NREL's financial and technical assistance.

Ascension Technology Inc. of Waltham, Mass., developed and now manufactures a photovoltaic module that produces standard household, or alternating current (AC). Ascension Technology's SunSineTM 300 AC photovoltaic module has a built-in microinverter that eliminates the need for direct current (DC) wiring and an in-home inverter to convert DC to AC. Each 4 by 6-foot unit is pre-wired with snap-together connectors so more units can easily be added for more power.

Popular Science also recognized a microinverter developed by Advanced Energy Systems Inc. of Wilton, N.H. Advanced Energy's microinverter, which is easy to install and not much larger than a paperback book, can be attached to photovoltaic modules made by several manufacturers.

Researchers from NREL and Sandia National Laboratories provided technical advice on the development and manufacturing of these new products. The work was managed by NREL. The U.S. Department of Energy's Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology and PV Bonus programs provided funding.

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