Solaredge Optimiser Expert Review

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Jack Ayre

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SolarEdge Optimiser In Brief:

SolarEdge produces electronic systems called optimisers, which are able to increase the power output of a solar panel array in certain circumstances, when it is not delivering as much electricity as it could. For example, when the day is cloudy or the light levels are low. In conventional systems, the power output is defined by the lowest-performing panel, it could be one that is in shadow. 

SolarEdge uses a ‘parallel’ connection which ensures that all the panels are generating as much power as they can. There are quite a few conditions that can affect output, for example, mismatched panels, degradation, module orientation, dirt and dust over a module. SolarEdge claims that its optimisers will ensure each panel produces its maximum energy output.

The optimisers are normally installed on the roof, below the solar panel array. They then output the energy to an inverter in the normal manner to convert the DC current from the photovoltaics into AC power that can be used by normal appliances and fed into the grid. The optimisers come with a lengthy 25-year warranty.

SolarEdge Company Overview:

SolarEdge is an Israeli company, with offices and production facilities all over the world. They claim to have revolutionised the solar power industry by pioneering a more efficient technology – the optimiser – for harvesting solar energy.

SolarEdge has 4,926 employees and supports a global network of more than 47,000 installers with offices in 34 countries. The company pulled in $3.1B revenue in 2022.

Local teams of sales, service, marketing and training experts ensure that users are supported and have access to smart energy innovation and excellence.

The company has shipped 107.6 million Power Optimisers to date. 

SolarEdge products are in over 3.1 million monitored systems around the world. 

SolarEdge Optimiser Specifications

SolarEdge Power Optimisers are advanced technology intended to increase the output of a solar panel array. They connect to each module in a photovoltaic system, turning them into smart energy devices. By continuously tracking the Maximum Power Point (MPP) of each individual solar panel, these Power Optimisers can increase the overall energy production, so there is more electricity for home use, or selling back to the grid, thus growing income and reducing the payback time on the investment.

Installers can attach Power Optimisers to each solar module. The interface allows users and technicians to easily monitor system performance and track, diagnose, and resolve issues with the equipment precisely and swiftly.

Solar Modules Become Smart Modules for Maximum Output

The S-Series Power Optimiser for Residential Installations

SolarEdge’s most advanced Power Optimiser, the S-Series, is the ideal instrument to bring increased energy output and protection to a residential solar array.

By using SolarEdge Sense Connect technology, with system alerts, the rooftop solar array will have high levels of safety and resilience. The Solar Optimiser is configured for swift installation and bringing into service.

SolarEdge Optimiser Benefits:

  • Boosts module-level production with DC optimisation, despite shading or dirt on panel
  • Users experience 100% system visibility with module-level monitoring
  • Arrays can deploy higher wattage modules such as the M10 for maximum power density

S Optimiser Series:

  • S440: supporting PV modules up to 440Wp, Isc 14.5A, 60V
  • S500: supporting PV modules up to 500Wp, Isc 15A, 60V
  • S500B: supporting high voltage modules with 500Wp input power, Isc 15A, and input voltage of 125V.
  • S650B: supporting high voltage modules with 650Wp input power, Isc 15A, and input voltage of 85V.

SolarEdge Optimiser Features

  • SolarEdge claims its optimisers have three S’s: “Smart. Simple. Safe.”
  • SolarEdge Sense Connect is an innovative safety feature, providing a higher level of site protection by identifying abnormal thermal events in the connector and configured to prevent electric arcs from forming, which will prevent electrical abnormalities damaging the equipment.
  • The system uses continuous monitoring for overheating, which could be due to installation problems or normal wear and tear.
  • It will initiate automatic inverter shutdown, if needed, when it detects an abnormally high temperature.
  • The communication system sends out real-time alerts for fast identification and resolution of issues
  • SafeDCTM – Automatically reduces DC voltage to touch safe levels
  • Rapid shutdown – discharges the conductors to safe voltage levels at the flip of a switch
  • Simplified wiring for faster installs – With three short cables and one long one, connecting Power Optimisers is very easy. This also makes installation safer, because there is little exposure for personnel to potential isolation faults. Overall installation should be quicker and safer than competitors products.

 

Key Benefits:

  • High efficiency (99.5% peak efficiency, 98.8% weighted efficiency)
  • Mitigates all types of module mismatch-loss, from manufacturing tolerance to partial shading and ageing degradation
  • Compatible with multiple module types, including high current and bi-facial
  • Advanced, real-time tracking of module performance
  • Built-in, industry-leading safety features for maximum protection of people and property
  • Designed for extreme environmental conditions
  • 25-year product warranty, among the best in the sector
  • Available frame-mounted in advance, for quicker installation

 

SolarEdge Optimiser Pros and Cons

Pros:

  •  Individual solar panels output is boosted
  • Monitors each panel via an advanced mobile app
  • Full tech support with SolarEdge
  • Real-time and historical data access

 Cons:

  • Can be costly in the long run, as any optimisers failure could require scaffolding for repairs
  • Expensive for only marginal gains on many properties
  • SolarEdge has been slow to dispatch stock in some cases

SolarEdge FAQs

Q: What happens if there is a power outage?

A: The SolarEdge system will shut down for safety reasons. It will automatically resume operation when the grid comes back up.

Q: How do I join the online monitoring system?

A: Your installer will register your email address and then you can set up the system and login.

Q: How long is the warranty?

A: 25 years for solar optimisers

SolarEdge Optimiser Summary

SolarEdge optimisers can be deployed with most kinds of solar panel arrays, although they will work best with complete SolarEdge systems. The optimisers are intended to be a leading-edge innovation to squeeze more power out of the system. There are many conditions where it can perform sub-optimally, for instance, shade, cloud cover, or dirt on the panels.

Optimisers boost the output before it reaches the inverter. Though this is another financial outlay the gains in terms of increased energy and quicker ROI could be worth it. Consult your installer to estimate whether this product could benefit your particular rooftop photovoltaic array.

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Born in North West England, Jack kicked off his career in the insurance arena, dealing with claims for three years. Always up for a challenge, Jack leapt out of his comfort zone and embarked upon 5 years of excitement with the military.

Working for the Ministry of Defence, Jack specialised in counter-terrorism which took him to places such as Dubai, Oman, Iraq, Norway and Bahrain. During this period he worked with various Governments implementing strategic operations to prevent terrorism.

After travelling around various countries Jack increasingly came across various forms of solar from large solar farms to domestic solar panels. From here Jack took a keen interest in all things solar and started reading about the technological capabilities with a view to entering the industry after his career in the Ministry of Defence.

Once home after 5 fruitful years, Jack had 3 months leave in which he immersed himself in a solar crash course and got applying for jobs within the solar sector. He came across ESE Solar, a long-established forward-thinking company whose head office was only a stone’s throw away from him. He picked up the phone to see if there were any vacancies and within a week had a successful interview and obtained a full-time job, starting in the technical team.

Within the first few months, Jack onboarded in various online courses during work and social hours to speed up his knowledge of all things solar. Due to his strong work ethic and thirst for knowledge Jack was promoted to Head of Technical at ESE Solar. He currently leads the team and oversees the product development of new technologies within the company alongside assisting where necessary on their maintenance department.

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