The main advantages of SolarEdge systems
1. Increased performance
SolarEdge systems can emit significantly more solar energy in all weather conditions. In a SolarEdge system, a small DC optimizer is integrated into each solar panel, with which each individual panel can output power independently of the other panels, which significantly increases the system performance.
Conventional PV systems consist of PV modules that are connected in a row, similar to Christmas tree lights. If a single panel is underperforming for any reason (e.g. cloud cover, dust, or dirt), the rest of the panels on that string will also underperform, reducing power generation across the string.
According to Renewable Energy World, shading only 9% of a solar system connected to a central inverter can lead to a system-wide decrease in power output of up to 54%.
The following image is a good example of how SolarEdge can significantly improve performance. In this image, despite the inconsistent shadow, the unshaded panels are working at their maximum performance, as each panel is independent from the rest of the array.
This is a great example of how microinverters can increase performance significantly. In this picture, the system works at almost maximum performance despite the spotty shadow.
Solar panels are manufactured within a power tolerance. Every manufacturer is different, but the better brands tend to have a tolerance range of 3%. For example, a 3650W panel from LG Solar can range from 365W to approximately 375W. The only way to take advantage of this is to use a system like SolarEdge or Enphase that has panel-level output. Otherwise, you are outputting performance at the rate of the worst performing panel in your array. In the best case this corresponds to the rating of the panels, in the worst case it can be much less.
Poorly performing panels
In an independent study by CSIRO for Choice Magazine, a panel of 15 of the most popular solar panels in Australia was tested. During the test, they found that 12 of the 15 panels were operating below their claimed rated power, some even by 10 W.
Since only one panel was used in the test, it was impossible to draw firm conclusions about specific brands. However, it has been pointed out that there are some major inconsistencies between a manufacturer's claimed power rating and actual power.
For example, a 260W panel from one of the largest manufacturers in China achieved a test result of 251W. This inconsistency shows the importance of having access to panel-level monitoring (we'll come back to this).
The star in this test was LG Solar; The 300W panel delivered a test result of 307W. This is in line with what we've seen from our LG Solar systems installed in Australia and underscores the importance of purchasing quality panels.
Trees aren't the only thing that can affect solar performance
Solar panels work with light (not heat). Therefore, the glass of the solar panels must be clean and free of dirt in order for the module to perform well. Tree shade is an immediate impediment that obviously affects performance, but it is the accumulation of dust, pollen, and pollution over the course of a few months that usually goes unnoticed. This is vital because even if you are monitoring the performance of your central inverter, how can you tell if a panel is performing poorly when you only have access to all of the system's performance?
Yes, the rain will wash away most of the debris most of the time, but in Australia we often have months without rain, our air is full of dust or maybe salt from the sea, and at certain times of the year pollen and pollution can affect performance, especially around us from main roads.
Heat is also one of the main factors that can affect the performance of a solar system. Since panels in the middle of the array usually get much hotter than the panels at the end of each row, it is important that each panel is optimized individually.
2. SolarEdge is one of the world's leading manufacturers of solar energy
Founded in 2006, SolarEdge developed the DC optimized inverter solution that is changing the way electricity is generated and managed in photovoltaic (PV) systems. The SolarEdge intelligent inverter solution maximizes power generation while lowering the solar system's energy costs for a better return on your investment.
SolarEdge is the world's largest manufacturer of DC-optimized systems and one of the leading providers in the world's largest solar markets. A solar system powered by SolarEdge is known to make solar energy smarter and safer. It's a smart choice for your home.
3. System security
Fire is becoming an increasingly common problem with standard solar technology. In a string inverter, high-voltage direct current flows from the control panels to a central inverter, which is usually installed near the measurement board. Any small mistake in wiring, a connection, or with the DC circuit breakers can cause an arcing fault with the power supply jumping over the loose connection. In many cases this can lead to a fire which can then spread in the home.
Safer Solar has been prescribed in many countries, including the United States. In Australia, however, it is still possible to install a string inverter. Except in extreme circumstances, Solaray recommends Safer Solar Systems to all of our customers who purchase either a SolarEdge or Enphase system.
SolarEdge systems offer increased safety and minimize both the risk of fire and electric shock:
- Whenever the AC power in the house is turned off, the SolarEdge DC cables are automatically shut down to 1V. Power optimizers turn off the DC voltage in the PV cables to protect installers, maintenance personnel, and firefighters.
- SolarEdge inverters also have built-in protection that mitigates the effects of some arcing faults that can be a fire hazard.
Alternatively, an Enphase system uses a small inverter under each panel called a “microinverter” so that the more dangerous DC power supply is converted to AC power immediately under each panel. This also helps in controlling the voltage as the panels are not lined up like in other systems.
Because both SolarEdge and Enphase systems can shut down instantly in the event of a grid problem, they are much safer if something goes wrong, whether it's a mouse chewing through a cable or a power outage situation .
4. No single point of failure
In the unlikely event that something goes wrong with any of the panels, the rest of the system that is not affected is usually still operational. This allows for less downtime and allows you to continue generating solar power during a warranty claim or service check.
5. Easily expandable
SolarEdge systems are expandable and only limited by your roof space and the size of the installed inverter. If a panel needs to be replaced in the future, there is no need to adapt the new panel to your existing array. In this way, you can take advantage of all the technological advantages over the next few years. For example, you may find that 400W panels will be the market standard 3 years from now.
With a standard string inverter, you need to match the inverter size to the panel array to ensure high performance. This means that adding panels usually requires replacing the inverter. The other limitation is that we need to customize the panels to add panels to a string. This limits the upgrade window to about a year as trying to find old inventory is nearly impossible due to rapid advances in technology and the fact that manufacturers in Australia only stock old panels for a small number of warranty claims.
6. Standard 12 year guarantee
SolarEdge offers a 12-year warranty on the inverter and a 25-year warranty on the power optimizer as standard.
The warranty for SolarEdge inverters can also be extended to 20 or 25 years directly with SolarEdge after installation in order to emphasize the quality of a SolarEdge inverter.
7. Battery compatible
The industry has now turned away from hybrid inverters that are DC coupled to a battery, making the SolarEdge Genesis inverter compatible with the leading batteries in the Australian market like the Tesla Powerwall.
A battery like the Tesla Powerwall can be installed in your solar system or upgraded at any time in the future. This is because the battery is connected directly to your measurement board where an additional gateway is installed to manage and monitor both the battery and the existing solar system.
Adding a battery to your SolarEdge system gives you access to a sophisticated energy management system that allows you to understand your energy usage patterns, maximize your savings based on your personal energy tariffs, and even keep an eye on the weather. When a storm is on the way, the system will charge the battery in case the power goes out.
For more information on a SolarEdge system with or without battery storage fill out the form below and we will contact you. We offer personal advice and pricing without the pressure to sell. We are here to help you: