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re: small solar grid intertie inverters?
18 may 2004
melodie de l'epine   wrote:

>...the ok4e 100w inverters by nkf electronics are no longer distributed,
>(since december 03) i suspect there was a problem with the size of market.

they seem to have disappeared from the nkf web site, but iirc, a few years
ago, there were 4 or 5 european companies working on small grid-tie-only
inverters. i suspect at least one survived, likely in germany, since i've
heard they pay a lot for pv energy (on the order of 50 cents/kwh) and they
encourage tiny systems. you might look around for small german inverters. 

it seems to me that us utilities have always hated the idea of plugging pv
panels into wall sockets, since that cuts into their energy sales. before
ul-1741, they had to rely on scary stories of frying linemen. now we have
islanding rules, but it seems to me they are still exerting undue influence
via the nec to prevent lots of small systems. why can't we plug a 100 w
inverter into a wall socket, vs a dedicated circuit with its own breaker?

americans love toys. we have to consider pizazz as well as mundane payback
economics. a recent npr show talked about coffee beans... there's little
profit and little change in the market in selling mere beans, but grind
them up and and can them a la maxwell house, and profit margins go up.
brew the coffee and put it in cups and sell it to people and profits go up
more. play the right kind of jazz in the background a la starbucks, and
profit margins go up even further. we're moving into a design economy,
where we sell experiences and attitudes and fun and creativity.

maybe you've worked in cubicle land too long. creative product designers
might aim to help people feel more bubbly and ecological *all over*, with
more meaningful lives.

we *cannot* sell people on being uncomfortable and worried and cheap.  we
have to make it sexy, trendy, easy, cool, hip, frugal, whatever other word
you want to use. something that looks like a trendy version of an existing
appliance might work. very few people want the experience of being an
accountant, a subsistence farmer, a monk, or a passenger on a leaky boat.


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