Smart modules with microinverters and optimizers
Module manufacturers are partnering with power optimizer and microinverter companies to offer more integrated solutions to the solar market. This helps to build smarter modules. What are their benefits compared to traditional solutions?
In case of standard solutions, the current is dumped into the string which works well in ideal conditions however in case of any module shading it can lead to significant losses. It also limits the number of modules to be installed in one string. By adding a power optimiser to a DC module, the current and voltage output can be controlled and losses are diminished. And by using microiverters, higher flexibility in design is obtained.
Smart modules – important benefits:
higher energy output
ET and SolarBridge claim their smart modules have 25% higher output than standard ones. Other microinverter and module manufacturer, Tigo Energy patnering with SolarEdge declare the output is 20% higher thanks to embedded junction box that gives individual control and switch off. The power is also higher thanks to microinverters, eliminating “cascade” effect.
easier and safer installation
Less parts and generally less wiring ensure easier installation. What’s more installers do not need to work under DC voltages. For instance, ET and SolarBridge claim their product is up to 50% faster to install.
Converting energy at module level gives many more possibilities of design configuration, for example pv plant expansion in future is easier. And the monitoring is smarter, too.
high resistance to shading
As Andalay and Enphase ensure, their Instant Connect module is more resistant to small amounts of shading, debris, snow lines. This means that energy can be produced more efficiently (example: Instant Connect module). ET and SolarBridge declare their product has minimum shading loss.
Smart modules have the same warranty as traditional modules, for example Canadian Solar gives 25 years both for module and a microinverter and ACPV modules from Mage Solar have frame-integrated SolarBridge Pantheon II microinverter that gives warranty of 30-year performance with 30-year 80% power output guarantee.
some costs are lower
Although the general costs of integrated modules can be higher, the transport cost is cheaper (less boxes and less elements). Also the cost is compensated by less losses and higher output.
The product of JA Solar and Tigo Energy by integrating junction box, gives higher conversion efficiency, increases safety and even use of up to 30% longer strings. Other manufacturers that use TigoEnergy components are Trina Solar, Upsolar and Yingli.
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