What are the benefits of optimized modules?
Modules with built-in optimizers are very much in vogue. They can also obtain more yield from the PV system in the event of shading, different orientation or different module types and thus enable the perfect use of the roof. Performance optimizers can also monitor modules and even perform fire protection functions.
In principle, optimizers can be used for all PV systems. They optimize the MPP (Maximum Power Point) for each individual module. Normally, the "weakest" module limits the total power of a string. Thus, the performance in the entire string is greatly reduced by only a single dirty or shaded module. Performance optimizers compensate for this and no module can interfere with the operation of the others - the system performance therefore remains constantly high.
Another advantage of SolarEdge and Tigo is the monitoring of each individual module, as the performance of each module can be called up by networking all performance optimizers. In this way, the defect or failure of a module can be quickly detected and the error corrected.
In the meantime there are several manufacturers on the market, of which we want to present the best known here:
Power Optimizer from SolarEdge
The SolarEdge power optimizer is a DC/DC converter that connects to any PV module or is already integrated by the module manufacturer and replaces the traditional PV junction box. Performance features:
- Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) per module
- Reduction of mismatch losses for all module types, from production tolerance to partial shading
- Designed for extreme environmental conditions
- 25 years of reliability and warranty
- Modern real-time power measurement
- Automatic DC cut-off of modules for protection for installers and firefighters
- Independent optimization technology (IndOP™) - allows operation with any inverter and requires no additional interface hardware
- Already integrated by the module manufacturer or connected by the installer
- Also available for frame mounting for faster installation or for flat roof systems without continuous rails
Power Optimizer from Tigo
With Tigo's TS4 platform, different optimization functions can be selected. With Tigo it is also possible to provide only a part of the string with performance optimizers (only the shaded modules).
TS4-O: Optimization includes all functions of security and monitoring
TS4-S: Safety includes all monitoring functions without optimization
TS4-M: Monitoring without security options and optimization
The GATEWAY enables wireless communication of up to 120 TS4 components. It can be easily installed on the back of the module or the substructure and has a range of up to 15 metres. The connection to CLOUD CONNECT ADVANCED works via wired RS485 connection.
The CLOUD CONNECT ADVANCED communication unit connects the TS4 components to the SMA Sunny Portal via WLAN or LAN. One CLOUD CONNECT ADVANCED can communicate with up to 6 GATEWAY. In future, the CCA will be installed directly in the SMA inverter!
If only one optimization is required without individual module monitoring, only the TS4-O Optimizer can be installed in one, several or all modules. Further components for monitoring can thus be omitted.
If the installation costs for the additional RS485 cable from the roof to the MMU are also taken into account, SolarEdge is usually the cheaper choice, at least for a fully optimized PV system with individual module monitoring.
The new idea – optimization at a cell string level with Maxim
Several integrated intelligent optimizers are used for optimization at cell string level. These are optimization chips that replace the bypass diode and provide maximum power point tracking (MPPT). The chip individually regulates the optimum operating point at three points within the module. Cells are isolated within the module and the output current is increased to match the string current. This optimized module allows the independent operation of each cell group with its own maximum power point. We offer maximum optimized modules from Jinko and Suntech.
The resulting advantages:
- Plug and play installation
- Up to 20% higher yields compared to a standard module
- Compensation of performance fluctuations between and in the modules
- Power loss during shading is significantly less than with power optimizers
- Elimination of hot spots
- Insensitive to shadows, simple planning of difficult roofs possible
- Also ideal for elevated systems by compensating for shading in rowsAging and dirt resistance
- No by-pass diodes
- No planning effort
- 5% lower repp allows longer strings, savings on inverters, cables, connectors, string control boxes