Echelon, Direct Grid combine energy control networks, solar power

San Jose, Calif., March 31, 2011 — Grid Technologies, a manufacturer of photovoltaic micro“inverters for utility and commercial grade solar power generation, will be adding Echelon energy control networking to its micro-inverter products.

Micro-inverters convert electricity generated by photovoltaic panels from direct to alternating current at the individual panel.

This increases the overall reliability and efficiency of the entire solar power installation. By integrating the solar panels into a power line communicating energy control network with Echelon‘s technology, Direct Grid can offer improved diagnostics, remote management and control, and lower the life cycle cost of the installation.

The energy control network can be leveraged by Direct Grid and its customers over the lifetime of the panel installation, even as PV panel technology advances.

Echelon is working with its commercial customers to inject intelligence into their products so that they can analyze and act immediately in response to dynamic grid conditions to maximize efficiency, reliability and cost-effectiveness.

Echelon is focusing this work with companies providing solar power solutions, smart street lighting and building energy management. Today’s announcement with Direct Grid is the latest deliverable on this strategy.

According to Direct Grid, using Echelon’s energy control networking technology was the right choice because it integrates well with other equipment, scales easily and cost effectively to meet the expanding needs of Direct Grid customers because it is more reliable and less costly to install and maintain than competing systems.

Echelon’s power line signaling technology, combined with its industry-leading SmartServer energy manager, has proven field reliability in the energy industry, delivering exceptional performance in utility and commercial applications with tens of millions of homes and more than a 100 million devices.

Direct Grid has added Echelon’s ISO standard power line smart transceivers to each micro-inverter. The micro-inverters communicate with Echelon’s i.LON SmartServer to access Direct Grid’s WattTrack software for visualizing tracking, harvesting and performance data. The power line based network allows Direct Grid to reliably communicate amongst thousands of panels over hundreds of acres.

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