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July 28, 2020

Reclaimed Energy - quantifying the benefits of optimization

A summary of Tigo's unique optimization feature

Module mismatch can have a significant impact on a solar photovoltaic plant’s power production. When modules are not performing identically, the strong and weak modules have different power curves. A central inverter, optimizing for the entire array, must choose only one operating point for the entire array, which forces it to make compromises between strong and weak modules. Furthermore, as module IV curves change dynamically and independently throughout the day, it becomes challenging for the inverter to achieve maximum energy yield from the array.

Mismatch can result from things other than shading - see Tigo’s whitepaper on mismatch for more about the different factors that cause energy loss on a PV system.

Tigo customers utilizing the SMART website's monitoring portal or SMART app can view their PV system's reclaimed energy, which is equivalent to the extra kilowatt hours generated by a PV system with TS4 optimization. This energy would have otherwise been lost due to mismatch caused by shading or other factors. System owners can calculate their PV system's return on investment (ROI) with fully transparent measurements of total energy and reclaimed energy.  

Pictured: an array displaying module-level total energy. The modules are sorted into string view with partial shade on one string.
Pictured: an array displaying module-level total energy. The modules are sorted into string view with partial shade on one string.
Pictured: the same array showing reclaimed energy for each module. Numbers greater than zero indicate the contribution from the TS4 optimizer.
Pictured: the same array showing reclaimed energy for each module. Numbers greater than zero indicate the contribution from the TS4 optimizer.

Each string has one or more modules performing at their ideal level chosen by the inverter for the current conditions, and the TS4 optimizers allow string current to partially bypass underperforming modules for maximum energy harvest. In the second example above, the shaded modules are contributing energy instead of activating their bypass diodes. This also prevents wasted energy from being dissipated as heat and shortening the life of the PV module.

To see the benefits of reclaimed energy in the Tigo monitoring portal, install your TS4 optimizers (TS4-O or TS4-A-O) with a Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) and TAP.

Reclaimed energy adds up over time.
Reclaimed energy adds up over time.

The charts featured on Tigo’s SMART website and mobile app provide a detailed view of system production over time. Here, the contribution from TS4 optimization is shown as part of the total energy production.

Pictured: hourly production with reclaimed energy from significant mismatch.
Pictured: hourly production with reclaimed energy from significant mismatch.

Reclaimed energy is unique to Tigo’s TS4 platform and highlights the benefit of optimization with our Flex MLPE solution.

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