The SolarEdge DC Optimiser is, as the name suggests, a DC optimiser that connects to individual solar modules, turning them into smart modules and increasing energy output from PV systems by tracking the maximum power point of each module.
One of the current debates in the solar industry is between the up-and-coming microinverter and the older, more conventional string inverter.
Microinverters took the industry by storm, touting superior shading performance and panel-level monitoring for potential hazards.
String inverters, on the other hand, promote themselves by having fewer moving parts, higher efficiency levels (on paper) and a less complicated installation process.
As time went on, the microinverter block seemed to be gaining ground on the old guard.
But with the rise of DC optimisers, the trusty string inverter has made a comeback.
In this article, we’ll tell you all about these DC Optimisers from SolarEdge, one of the best solar brands on the market. We’ll inspect its features, advantages, and disadvantages, before giving our expert opinion on its viability.
With that in mind, let’s get into this review!
What is the SolarEdge DC Optimiser?
SolarEdge, an Israeli-based premium inverter manufacturer, is turning DC optimisers into a viable microinverter alternative.
The SolarEdge DC Optimiser offers a market-leading efficiency of 99.5% and strives to amplify the power output of your solar system by reducing losses due to partial shading.
In 2010, shortly after launching this device, SolarEdge shipped 250,000 DC optimiser units – becoming 70% of the global market.
SolarEdge DC Optimiser Key Features
- Superior Efficiency (99.5%)
SolarEdge claims that its DC Optimisers can help your system reach up to 99.5% efficiency compared to standard inverter efficiencies between 95% and 98%. SolarEdge offers better tolerance to partial shading and is quite confident in its product, providing a 25-year warranty on all power optimisers.
To ensure the safety of its customers, firefighters, and installers, these modules come equipped with SafeDC™.
This means your panels ‘switch off’ at the module level whenever the inverter or grid power shuts down. Thus, the circuit lowers to a safe level, preventing potential electrocution or damage to your home.
SolarEdge has implemented IndOp™ or independent operation technology into its optimisers, granting them compatibility with most inverters regardless of the type and requires no additional interface.
How do DC Optimisers Work?
DC optimisers aim to reduce the impact of shading across a string by optimising at the panel level and increasing power output as much as possible. They function by using MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking.
A solar panel’s ability to achieve maximum power output depends on the circuit’s voltage, current and load characteristics.
MPPT tracks these variables and alters the current and voltage levels to extract the most power under all conditions, whether it be sunshine or rain.
Why Should You Get a DC Optimiser?
Here are the main reasons you should consider a DC optimiser for your solar installation:
SolarEdge power optimisers can deliver a more extensive solar module.
Normally, you can only attach 21 panels with a microinverter equipped. However, with SolarEdge inverters, you can design your optimal PV system with up to 33% more panels than with fixed string voltage.
As a result, you don’t have to rely as much on grid power. On top of that, you’ll achieve superior efficiency and greater flexibility with longer strings of different lengths.
Battery integration becomes a breeze.
When coupling a battery to an existing system, it’s always recommended that the battery is DC-coupled.
This means the battery is connected to the rest of your system on a DC circuit since they store power using DC electricity. Since DC optimisers use DC current in place of the inverter, it becomes far more accessible to DC couple your new battery.
Benefits of the SolarEdge DC Optimiser
- 1.3x more power than a typical microinverter.
- A more extensive solar module can be set up with SolarEdge power optimisers.
- Seemless coupling with a battery or most non-SolarEdge inverters.
- Smart module real-time tracking.
- Some of the best module-level safety features on the market.
- The potential to enhance the performance of your entire solar system.
Disadvantages of the SolarEdge DC Optimiser
- Higher initial costs for your setup.
- A more complicated installation process.
- Greater amounts of space for the system to set up.
SolarEdge App and Monitoring Portal
Choosing SolarEdge means its power optimiser links directly through its advanced monitoring system, easily converting your panels into smart modules.
Smart modules constantly track the maximum power, which you can view on the mySolarEdge app.
By receiving panel-level information on your system’s health, you can make better decisions about how to address damaged components, remove shading or alter your electricity usage. What’s more, you can access remote customer support, reducing any unnecessary visits to the company’s office.
Is Solar Panel Optimisation Worth it?
Without panel-level optimisation at the module level, your system is reduced to the lowest common denominator.
While standard inverters use MPPT or PPT at a system level, they cannot make changes on a panel level.
This can be especially problematic for systems that experience partial shading or have panels across a multi-faceted roof.
This occurs because the panels experience varying levels of sunlight, creating an imbalance across each string.
In fact, panel mismatch occurs when one panel is less efficient than the one next to it, creating a system-wide production dip.
In case many consumers aren’t aware; if one panel suffers mismatch losses from manufacturing, the tolerance to partial shading is reduced for the entire string.
Our Verdict on the SolarEdge DC Optimiser
With the promise of greater efficiency and improved system production, optimisation could be critical if you live in an area that regularly faces weather fluctuations.
SolarEdge’s optimisers are some of the best on the market, sporting 99.5% efficiency, intelligent tracking, and automatic safety features.
To sum up, if your system requires DC optimisers to boost panel performance, we can confidently state that the SolarEdge is worth your consideration.
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