The North American residential solar market has continued to grow over the last decade – and so have customer expectations for what their PV system can do for them.
Solar technologies have progressed such that homeowners that implement solar expect to have robust monitoring systems and to get the most energy from their system that is possible. At the same time, the National Electrical Code has been updated such that module level rapid shutdown is now a requirement across most of the US for the safety of firefighters and first responders.
In this example, a customer in San Jose, California had an array without any module level monitoring, shutdown functionality, or optimization and wanted to upgrade to get better visibility to module performance and increase power output by reducing the negative impacts from shading on the system from nearby trees.
The customer selected Tigo Optimizers, specifically the TS4-A-O, to be added to each of their solar modules. Tigo Optimizers enable the following key features for the customer:
• Increased energy yield - the Tigo Optimizers minimize the impact of any shaded modules, increasing the energy output for the entire array
• Greater visibility - with module level monitoring, the homeowner and installer can see realtime key metrics such at power output, voltage, current, and more
• Enhanced safety - with module level rapid shutdown, if there is ever an instance where roof access is required or first responders must visit the home for fires, the array voltage can be reduced to zero at the module level
• Easy addition - the Tigo Optimizers work with the existing PV modules and inverter and were extremely easy to add to the existing site
After the Tigo addition, the customer could view the performance of the entire system as well as each individual module through the Tigo Monitoring portal. In addition, the portal shows the increased energy that is generated by the modules as a result of installing the Tigo Optimizers at the site.
The primary reason for the addition of Tigo Optimizers was the additional output that the array would generate during the periods of shade that the rooftop gets throughout the day. Neighboring trees, a chimney, and power lines all cast shadows and affect the PV system’s production. With the TS4-A-O and Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA Kit) of communication accessories, this customer is not only able to generate more electricity than they did previously, but they have full visibility to the quantity of additional energy that is generated as a result of the optimizers.
"My PV system was originally installed in 2009 and adding Tigo optimizers to my system in 2017 was a big improvement. I’m getting more than 5% more output on average per year,” said the homeowner.
With the module level performance visibility comes additional benefits as well - for example it provides a better understanding of when the modules may need maintenance or cleaning.
“I am also able to see when the solar modules need cleaning, and immediately see the results of each cleaning. I get interesting monthly reports showing which solar modules are producing the most and the least energy,” added the homeowner.
• Tigo TS4-O (Optimization) added to modules increased output >5%
• The PV system was installed in 2009; Tigo upgrade was in 2017
• Configuration: 2 strings of 9x modules and a single phase inverter
• Tigo TAP and CCA, which communicate with the TS4’s, were added
• Module level monitoring is provided via the Tigo Monitoring portal
• Entire Tigo addition was simple and complete in hours