Optimised Panels

Optimised Panels

Today’s PV systems are typically comprised of panels connected in series to one another to form strings, and on larger systems, several of these strings are connected in parallel to form an array. Due to the nature of PV modules connected in series, the lowest-performing module will impact the performance of the entire array unless each individual panel can be optimized.

Solar Photovolataic Optimers enable each panel in an array to work independently of other panels in the string. Normally, if you have a number of panels in a single string, if one panel is shaded, or under-producing, it affects the output of all other panels in the string.

If you have partial shading, or roofs facing different directions, you need some way of ensuring that each panel is free to run at its optimal voltage and current.

Micro inverters are often proposed as a solution for partial shading. However, individual panel optimisers can perform all of the functions of micro inverters at a lower cost and without any of the disadvantages of micros;

  • Each panel has its own MPPT management, so temporary shading on one panel has no effect on other panels in the array
  • In the event of fire, once the grid is off, the panels are isolated from each other, so there is no high DC voltage on the roof or in the building
  • Ideal for industrial installations – a cloud gateway allows online monitoring of each panel, simplifying maintenance work
  • Optimising increases the output power of a new array by 1.5% (half the panel tolerance) and this percentage increases over time as different panels deteriorate at different rates.
  • If you are adding new panels to a site with old ones, you can put both panels on the same string.
Optimized Panels

Tigo Optimiser – can be used with any panel or retrofitted to existing sites

Online monitoring of every panel provide assurance that all is well
Online monitoring of every panel provide assurance that all is well

However, micro inverters have disadvantages not suffered by optimisers;

  • Regardless of quality, inverters can fail due to grid surges or other faults. Replacing inverters on a roof is much more difficult, and with one inverter per panel, failure is more likely than with string inverters.
  • Micro inverters contain power electronics whereas the electronics in optimisers do not include power electronics or any grid connection which are the main cause of inverter failures.
  • Optimised panels and string inverters cost less than micro-inverters
  • Optimisers also reduce open circuit voltages, so on industrial installations you can have more panels per string, reducing overall costs.

You can look at the monitoring of a typical partially shaded domestic site by clicking HERE

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