Module-Level Power Electronics Platforms: Page 4 of 4
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Founded in 2006, SolarEdge Technologies offers an end-to-end power electronics solution for distributed power projects. Its system includes module-level power optimizers, module-level monitoring, single- and 3-phase string inverters, and a dual-port inverter for energy storage systems. Guy Sella, currently serving as CEO, and Lior Handelsman, vice president of marketing and product strategy, founded the company. SolarEdge began commercial shipments of its first-generation string inverter, module-level dc optimizer and monitoring systems in 2010. The company’s global headquarters are in Herzliya, Israel, and its US division is headquartered in Fremont, California. SolarEdge completed its IPO in 2015 and trades on the NASDAQ exchange with stock symbol SEDG.
SolarEdge offers both module-integrated and module–add-on power optimizers. Its P-Series optimizer is designed to integrate with a single module. The product lineup has five models. The P300 and P320 optimizers are compatible with 60-cell modules and have a maximum input voltage of 48 Vdc and an MPP tracking range of 8 V–48 V. With a maximum input voltage of 60 Vdc, the P370 optimizer is compatible with higher-power 60- and 72-cell modules. Developed for 72- and 96-cell modules, the P400 optimizer has a maximum input voltage of 80 Vdc and an MPP tracking range of 8 V– 80 V. Rounding out the series, the P405 optimizer is compatible with the high-voltage and low-current characteristics of thin-film modules. It has a maximum input voltage of 125 Vdc and an MPP tracking range of 12.5 V–105 V. SolarEdge also offers a five-model P-Series Commercial optimizer lineup. The company designed the higher-power P-Series Commercial products for use with two PV modules connected in either series or parallel. All P-Series optimizers are rated for 1,000 V applications, carry a 25-year warranty and are designed specifically for integration with SolarEdge inverters.
SolarEdge’s inverter portfolio includes both single- and 3-phase models, as well as a dual-port inverter for projects that require energy storage. In 2017, SolarEdge began shipping a new line of single-phase inverters with its HD-Wave architecture. The inverter topology allows for high-power conversion efficiencies with a small form factor that is also extremely lightweight. The highest-capacity HD-Wave model, the 7.6 kWac SE7600H-US with disconnect switch, measures 17.7 by 14.6 by 6.8 inches (height by width by depth) and weighs only 26.2 pounds.
In September, SolarEdge and LG announced a partnership targeting the high-end residential and commercial PV rooftop markets in North America. The package combines LG’s high-efficiency NeON modules with SolarEdge’s string inverters and P370 and P800 power optimizers for residential and commercial installations, respectively. It also includes free module-level monitoring. The residential ac module is compatible with SolarEdge’s HD-Wave and StorEdge inverters, as well as its recently launched inverter-integrated electric vehicle chargers.
SolarEdge Technologies / Fremont, CA / 510.498.3200 / solaredge.com
Headquartered in San Jose, California, SunPower has achieved an impressive level of not only component but also business integration with its SunPower Equinox system for residential applications. All of the system’s components—module, microinverter, racking and monitoring—are SunPower products and come with 25-year product and production warranties.
As a business entity, SunPower dates back to 1985, when its co-founder, Dr. Richard Swanson, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, earned grants from the Electric Power Research Institute and the US Department of Energy to support his research into cost-effective PV cell designs. Additional investments by two venture capital firms led to the incorporation of SunPower in the same year. SunPower held an IPO in 2005 and trades as SPWR on the NASDAQ exchange. In 2011, Total, a French multinational oil and gas company, purchased a 60% stake in the company. In 2014, SunPower acquired Austin, Texas–based microinverter designer and manufacturer SolarBridge Technologies, paving the way for its ac module platform.
The SunPower Equinox system includes SunPower ac modules and factory-installed microinverter, a low-profile InvisiMount rail-based racking and mounting system, and an EnergyLink monitoring platform. SunPower’s 96-cell SPR-X22-360-C-AC ac module has a nominal STC rating of 360 W with a +5/-0 power tolerance. Its average module conversion efficiency value is 22.2%. On the ac side, the SPR-X22-360-C-AC module has a maximum continuous power rating of 320 W. It supports single-phase 20 A branch circuits of up to 12 ac modules.
SunPower / San Jose, CA / 800.786.7693 / sunpower.com
Headquartered in Los Gatos, California, privately held Tigo Energy was founded in 2007. Tigo was one of the first developers of dc optimizer platforms for PV systems and has ramped up its product innovation and release in recent years. The US Department of Energy awarded Tigo $3.5 million in 2012 as part of the SunShot Initiative incubator program. In 2016, SMA Solar Technology acquired a 27% stake in Tigo, opening the door for the development of dc-optimized SMA inverter designs.
Tigo developed its TS4 universal platform for both factory-integrated module applications, where the TS4 platform replaces the standard module junction box, and for retrofit applications, where installers deploy add-on units in the field. The TS4 system base provides a single plug-and-play interface for electronic covers that offer a range of functions: diodes that provide bypass functionality similar to that of conventional modules, except that the diodes are field replaceable; diodes plus monitoring; diodes with monitoring and safety, including NEC 690.12 rapid-shutdown compliance, module-level deactivation, automatic or manual shutdown, and overvoltage and overtemperature protection; diodes with monitoring, safety and module-level optimization; and finally, diodes with monitoring, safety, optimization and longer, higher-voltage string configurations. The TS4 platform is CSA listed to UL 1741. This year Tigo Energy has extended its modular TS4 platform design to support 1,500 Vdc PV systems.
In addition to partnering with SMA, Tigo has built relationships with inverter manufacturers thanks to the push to develop systems that meet NEC 2017 rapid-shutdown requirements. This cooperation has allowed companies including ABB, Fronius USA, Ginlong Solis, Kaco new energy, Sungrow USA and Yaskawa–Solectria Solar to certify that their inverter products meet rapid-shutdown requirements when used in conjunction with Tigo’s TS4 safety product.
In the fall of 2017, Tigo announced two new products. Its TS4 Duo add-on or retrofit product supports two PV modules connected in series with a combined power of up to 700 W and a combined voltage of up to 90 Vdc. Tigo offers three covers for the Duo product, including TS4-R-O-Duo (optimization), TS4-R-S-Duo (safety), and TS4-R-M-Duo (monitoring). Both the TS4-R-O-Duo and TS4-R-S-Duo are NEC 690.12 rapid-shutdown compliant and were pending UL approval at the time of publication. Additionally, Tigo released its new SMART App, which enables installers to design, configure, register commission of and monitor customers’ PV systems from the field via a mobile phone.
Tigo’s TS4 solution is available as a factory-integrated J box solution from module manufacturers including ET Solar, Jinko Solar, Sunpreme and Trina Solar. Tigo backs its TS4 products with a 25-year warranty.
Tigo Energy / Los Gatos, CA / 408.402.0802 / tigoenergy.com
Joe Schwartz / SolarPro / Ashland, OR / solarprofessional.com