SolarEdge is an Israeli based company & the global leading solar inverter manufacturer producing solutions that optimize power from solar panels. The company designs inverters that maximize power generation at the individual PV module level, while lowering the cost of energy. The company has a presence in residential, commercial and utility markets and has shipped more than 14.6GW of systems worldwide.
SolarEdge developed the DC optimized inverter solution in 2006 which maximizes power generation while lowering the cost of energy produced by the PV system, and results in an improved RoI. It is a DC optimized inverter topology that has split the traditional inverter system into a simplified inverter and power optimizer. The power optimizers are located on the solar panels turning them into intelligent panels and maximize system output by panel-level monitoring and real-time adjustments of voltage levels to optimize performance. The simplified inverter in this case is responsible only for the conversion from AC to DC power and grid connection. The SolarEdge commercial solar system includes cloud-based monitoring platform which is accessible from computers, smartphones, tabs, etc. and enhanced safety mechanism.
The SolarEdge solution aims at:
- Optimizing and monitoring power generation per panel
- Using similar installation methods as traditional systems
- Minimizing long term O&M costs.
How the SolarEdge Solution is different from Traditional String Inverters?
We are going to discuss how the SolarEdge solution is better than the traditional string inverters. Given below is a table summarizing their differences:
1) Shadow Impact
Shadow impact measures the effect of any shadow on the performance of the solar PV system. The shadow could be from trees, high-rise apartments in the neighbourhood, birds, etc. The three inverter systems ie. SolarEdge solution, traditional string inverter and microinverter react differently to shadows. Since panels are stitched into a string in a traditional string inverter, shadow impact is full ie. the efficiency of the whole system will reduce in case of any type of shadow. In sharp contrast, in cases of SolarEdge solution and microinverters, shadow impact will be partial as these systems operate on individual panel level ie. even if a bird sits on one panel the performance of only that panel will be affected and not the entire system.
2) Safety Risks
Safety is of paramount importance for people working and operating solar PV systems eg. homeowners, electricians, maintenance and technical persons, etc. SolarEdge solution and microinverters are better equipped for safety measures as opposed to traditional string inverters. In case of string inverters, the inverter cannot shut down the high DC voltage of the panels as long as the sun is shining. Hence safety risks are high. As opposed to this, better panel level safety mechanism is available in case of Solaredge solution. When the AC power is off, the high DC power of the string is reduced to a safe level of 1V. In case of microinverters too, only the particular panel facing any issue will shut off. Thus, there are no risks involved in cases of microinverters and Solaredge solution.
3) Panel level Monitoring
Both Solaredge solution and microinverters come with online monitoring platform, which helps the user/ installer to constantly monitor the working of the PV system on laptops, smartphones or any other hand-held devices. The Solaredge solution provides full monitoring and provides data at the panel, string, inverter and overall PV system levels. This allows for immediate fault detection and remote troubleshooting and in turn reduce long-term operating and maintenance costs. Panel level monitoring is not available in the traditional string inverter systems. Thus any defect in any one panel/ string hampers the overall functioning of the system and non-detection of it leads to longer downtime, which in turn raises operating and maintenance costs.
4) Flexible Design
In case of traditional string inverters, strings are shorter and all panels connected to the inverter need to be of the same length, same type and positioned at a similar angle. This results in design limitations. On the contrary, such limitations do not exist in Solaredge solution as well as microinverters. These are very flexible and can fit more panels in the same space.
Since microinverter and Solaredge solution function on the panel level, these are easily expandable. However, traditional string inverters are not.
6 Net Metering
Net Metering gives the option to claim the credit of the energy that you send back to the grid. Net metering is compulsory for traditional string inverters and optional for microinverters and Solaredge solution.
Warranty is 12 years, 6 years and 10 years for SolarEdge solution, traditional string inverter and microinverters, respectively.
Microinverters find easy application in residential establishments, while Solaredge solution is used for commercial and industrial setups. Traditional string inverters are typically used in residential & commercial establishments.
Return on Investment (RoI)
The payback period is 3-4 years in case of Traditional string inverters, 5-6 years for Microinverters and 4-5 years for SolarEdge solution.
Cost is low for traditional string inverter and competitive for SolarEdge solution and microinverters.