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Microinverters track solar panels via the Web

Enphase Energy releases its microinverter system that converts DC to AC electricity on the panel, making it easier to monitor performance.

Enphase Energy on Monday released a solar power system that takes a dramatically different approach to harnessing energy from solar panels.

With an inverter on every solar panel, owners can view performance of each individual module via the Web. Enphase Energy

The start-up company, which raised $6.5 million in funding earlier this year, has built a "microinverter" that converts a solar electric panel's direct current to alternating current on the panel.

Inverters are typically separate devices that are hung outside or in a basement. By placing an inverter right on a panel, Enphase Energy says that it is more efficient at converting light to electricity.

In addition, the microinverters give panel owners a better means for monitoring the performance of individual panels.

The company also has a gateway that transfers panel performance data which is displayed on a Web site.

The microinverter on a solar panel. Enphase Energy

Its design has garnered high praise from University of California at Berkeley professor Dan Kammen who is director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. In a statement, he called microinverters "disruptive technology" and said, "I think this is, in some sense, the most important technological breakthrough solar has ever seen."

Solar installer Borrego Solar beta-tested the microinverter system at residential sites and intends to use it.