Tigo Optimisers Review

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Jack Ayre

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Tigo In Brief:

Why install an optimiser? In short, to get more juice out of your system. For a variety of reasons, solar panel modules may under-perform. For example, if one panel is shaded, that will reduce output from the entire array. Tigo optimisers work discreetly on each panel to maximise power generation, squeezing a few more watts out of every cell, which amounts to quite a lot of electricity over the lifetime of the photovoltaic array.

The optimiser is a small electrical unit that fits on the reverse side of the solar panel and connects to the inverter, so is hidden from view and simple to install.

Tigo TS4 optimisers are considered among the best on the market.

The company offers a long 25 year warranty for the TS4 optimisers, which should last for the whole lifespan of your solar panels.

Tigo Company Overview:

The company hails from Silicon Valley in California. Founded in 2007, it develops flexible, Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE) to increase energy production, enhance safety, and decrease operating costs of solar installations. Tigo’s TS4 platform maximises the benefit of solar panel arrays and provides customers with the most scalable, versatile, and reliable MLPE solution available.

Tigo claims that its optimisers are so reliable that only 0.2% are returned as defective. Since its inception Tigo has been dedicated to making innovative renewable energy electronics. Today, Tigo systems operate on seven continents and produce gigawatt-hours of reliable, clean, affordable and safe solar energy daily for tens of thousands of customers.

The company has partners and distributors all over the world to supply, install and maintain the optimisers – and ESE is proud to be one of them!

Tigo Optimisers Specifications

TS4 Flex MLPE Platform

After years of research, development, testing, and certification, Tigo brought their innovative TS4 platform to the marketplace. The modular TS4 unit can be selectively deployed with different functionalities per module at different price points. This unparalleled flexibility is why the device is referred to as “Flex MLPE”.

Customers can maximise the safety and benefits of their PV systems by using any of the features that Tigo’s Flex MLPE platform enables:

  1. Optimisation: increase energy yield by reducing the impact of shade 
  2. Monitoring: lower operating expenses with deep dives into module-level performance
  3. Safety: reduce voltage at the module level when necessary, increasing safety and meeting electrical codes
  • Ten seconds to connect up each PV module
  • Each TS4 connects to the PV module at the junction box and clips to the module frame.
  • No bolts required
  • No ground wire required
  • Tigo devices are water and corrosion resistant
  • Polycarbonate cover is water-resistant to 1.5m deep – proven in the harshest environments.

Why Use Module-Level Power Electronics (MLPE)?

The objective is to maximise the benefit from your solar panel investment. This is like having a turbocharger for your car, it increases the performance from the same engine. The TS4 units connect to the junction box of a PV module to unlock different features to ensure you get the most from your residential power array.

Tigo TS4 Flex MLPE increases energy output, enables module-level monitoring and enhances the safety of your system with module-level rapid shutdown in case of an emergency.

The Tigo TS4 optimisers work with any installation. It can be deployed on new arrays, or added to an existing solar system as part of our solar PV upgrades package. The unit is attached to the rear of the solar panel, so is completely hidden from view.

The increased energy yield from optimisation can be seen in the Tigo Energy Intelligence monitoring platform. This is one of the most detailed module-level monitoring systems available. Users can see current and historical energy output, power, and other key metrics down to the minute – allowing you or your installer to identify issues and resolutions remotely 24/7/365.

TS4-A-2F

Description

The Tigo TS4-A-2F is a reliable, cost effective rapid shutdown solution that meets the latest module level shutdown requirements, including NEC 2017/2020. The TS4-A-2F is both IEC and UL certified for global acceptance. It is UL PVRSS certified for connectivity with the largest network of inverters, many of which have a built-in RSS transmitter. By connecting to two modules, the TS4-A-2F reduces labour time and enables 16% fewer connections on a 14 panel string compared to single channel MLPE.

Functions

Rapid Shutdown

Features and benefits

  • Single MLPE connects to 2 PV modules
  • IEC and UL certified
  • Meets US NEC rapid shutdown safety requirements
  • UL PVRSS certified with the largest network of inverters
  • up to 1400W (700W per channel)
  • 16-80V, up to 25A (per channel)
  • MC4 (standard) connectors
  • Snaps to module frame for easy mounting
  • Does not require ground wire
  • PLC communication
  • 25-year warranty

Configuration

2 modules per TS4

Required

RSS Transmitter

TS4-A-F

Description

The TS4-A-F enables cost effective rapid shutdown functionality in a 1 module to 1 TS4 configuration. The TS4-A-F is both IEC and UL certified for global acceptance. The TS4-A-F is UL PV Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS) certified with hundreds of inverters to comply with NEC 2014, 2017, and 2020 rapid shutdown requirements. Many of the inverters have integrated the RSS transmitter, which communicates with the TS4-A-F over PLC, enabling plug and play installations.

Functions

Rapid Shutdown

Features and benefits

  • Up to 700W per channel
  • IEC and UL certified
  • Meets US NEC rapid shutdown safety requirements
  • UL PVRSS certified with the largest network of inverters
  • 16-80V, up to 25A (per channel)
  • MC4 (standard) connectors
  • Snaps to module frame for easy mounting
  • Does not require ground wire
  • PLC communication
  • 25-year warranty

Configuration

1 module per TS4

Required

RSS Transmitter

TS4-A-O

Description

Optimisation is a Flex MLPE function available as an integrated modular junction box base (TS4-O) or as an add-on unit (TS4-A-O). Design using unequal string lengths, mixed orientations, or areas of mismatch. Install in shaded areas with a reduced setback ratio. In addition to optimisation, the TS4-A-O enables module level monitoring, and rapid shutdown in compliance with NEC 2014, 2017, 2020.

Functions

  • Optimisation
  • Monitoring
  • Rapid Shutdown

Features and benefits

  • Suitable for up to 700W solar modules
  • The higher performance optimiser with Predictive IV Technology (PIV)
  • The ONLY optimiser with selective deployment
  • Includes the benefits of Safety & Monitoring
  • Meets US NEC rapid shutdown requirements
  • Optimises right out of the box
  • Shade and age tolerance to maximise lifetime yield
  • Works wirelessly with the TAP & CCA
  • 25-year warranty

Configuration

1 module per TS4

Required

CCA + TAP

TS4-A-S

Description

Safety is a Flex-MLPE function that enables rapid shutdown and module-level monitoring. It is UL PV Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS) certified with leading inverters to meet NEC 2014, 2017, and 2020 rapid shutdown requirements.

Functions

  • Monitoring
  • Rapid Shutdown

Features and benefits

  • Suitable for up to 700W solar modules
  • Module-level monitoring with Tigo Energy Intelligence
  • Includes rapid shutdown functionality
  • Meets US NEC rapid shutdown requirements
  • Works wirelessly with the TAP & CCA
  • 25-year warranty

Configuration

1 module per TS4

Required

CCA + TAP

TS4-A-M

Description

The TS4-A-M enables module-level monitoring through the Tigo Energy Intelligence platform. Remotely detect and diagnose performance issues. Alert notifications enable you to proactively intervene early and maximise system uptime.

Functions

  • Monitoring

Features and benefits

  • Enables module-level monitoring
  • View key performance information of each module
  • Lower O&M costs
  • Does not include rapid shutdown functionality
  • Works wirelessly with the TAP & CCA
  • 25-year warranty

Configuration

1 module per TS4

Required

CCA + TAP

Pros and Cons of Tigo Optimisers

ProsCons
  • Tigo optimisers are a great product that ESE Solar use on most installs
  • It is an additional cost for the owner of the solar panel system
  • Stops panel mismatches
  • Fits all solar panel systems available in the UK
  • Reliable product
  • Exceptional monitoring on a handy app to track performance
  • Excellent warranty

 

Tigo Optimisers FAQs

Q: How do solar panels lose power?

A: A power mismatch occurs when the electrical output of a cell is significantly different compared to the adjacent ones, this produces a power loss in the system.

In a solar panel array, modules are connected in series into strings which are in turn connected in parallel into the inverters. A mismatched module produces a smaller amount of electricity than other panels and essentially drives down the power output of all the other modules in that string. Up to 10% of the total generated power can be lost by mismatches in the modules.

Q: What can be the sources of power mismatch?

A: Mismatch during the manufacturing process: a cell or panel is not of the same quality as its siblings and produces less power.

Mismatch by weather variables: such as clouds blocking sunlight which causes a temporary shading on the module. High temperature is also a factor that can decrease the power output and can cause power mismatches due to the cooling effect being different for every module on a string.

Mismatch by different module orientation and local shading: In many cases, modules suffer from shading on residential roofs because of various obstacles such as chimneys, trees, another module or roof, etc. The roof area might also require modules to be installed on multiple orientations and tilted angles so each panel is producing a slightly different amount of power.

Mismatch by uneven degradation rate: modules degrade for many reasons such as soiling, mechanical wear and tear, ageing at different rates, and other issues as the panels get older.

Q: What is the main benefit of a Tigo Optimiser System?

A: Tigo optimisers are customisable for each solar array – you are not getting an off-the-shelf product, but a specific system for your needs – this unparalleled flexibility is why the platform is referred to as “Flex MLPE”.

Tigo Optimisers Review Summary

Tigo Optimisers are a great solution for a solar array user who wishes to maximise power output and ROI. They are also a good product to use if the system is having power mismatches, for example if an area of the system comes under shade for some of the day.

Tigo units are compact, easy to install behind the panels, and thus do not mar the aesthetics in any way. They come with software that allows panel-by-panel monitoring so you can see immediately where there are any power mismatches.

Overall, Tigo optimisers are among the best upgrades you can apply to your solar power system. 

Speak with one of our solar experts today at ESE Solar, and we’ll be able to advise more about how a Tigo Optimiser could make your solar array work even better for you!

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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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