SolarEdge

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SolarEdge Technologies Inc.
Type Private
Industry Photovoltaics
Founded 2006
Headquarters USA, Germany, Japan, Israel
Products PV Power Optimizers, PV Monitoring Portal and Solar Inverters
Website solaredge.com

SolarEdge is a provider of power optimizer, solar inverter and monitoring solutions for photovoltaic arrays. These products aim to increase energy output through module-level MPPT.[1] Established in 2006, the company has offices in the United States,[2] Germany,[3] Italy, Japan, and Israel.

History[edit]

SolarEdge was established in 2006 by Guy Sella, CEO and Chairman, Lior Handelsman, VP of Product Strategy & Business Development, Yoav Galin, VP of R&D, Meir Adest, VP of Core Technologies and Amir Fishelov, Chief Software Architect

The company is venture capital backed and investors include GE Energy Financial Services, Lightspeed Venture Partners, ORR Partners, Genesis Partners, Walden International, Vertex Venture Capital, JP Asia Capital and Opus Capital Ventures.

At the end of 2009, the company started mass production of its products by electronic manufacturing services provider Flextronics International Ltd.

In 2010, the company shipped an estimated 250,000 power optimizers and 12,000 inverters – amounting to a total generation of 50 megawatts and 70% of the power optimizers market.[4]

Technology[edit]

Background[edit]

Traditional photovoltaic systems (PV systems) are typically characterized by a centralized inverter or string inverter architecture*. In this topology the inverter performs Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for large quantities of solar panels as a whole. Since the solar panels are connected in series to form strings, the same current must flow through all the modules, so the solar inverter continuously adjusts the electric current in the system to find the average optimal working point of all the modules. As a result, potential power may be lost whenever a mismatch exists between modules.[2][3]* Panel mismatch is unavoidable in many cases, due to panel manufacturing tolerance, partial shading,[4] uneven soiling, or uneven tilt angle. In addition, power may also be lost due to slow tracking of dynamic weather conditions caused by moving clouds,[5] and on extremely hot or cold days when the system DC voltage may exceed the inverter’s permissible input voltage range*. Other drawbacks of traditional PV systems include:

  • System design is constrained by the need to match all strings’ length and orientation
  • Monitoring visibility and fault detection are limited to the inverter (or in some cases, to the string level)
  • High DC voltage is present as long as the sun is up, posing a possible risk of electrocution to installers, maintenance personnel and firefighters*

Solution[edit]

SolarEdge’s distributed photovoltaic system prevents energy loss due to panel mismatch by performing MPPT for each panel individually*. Maintaining a fixed voltage at all times allows strings to be combined regardless of length, tilt, or the type of modules in use*. Continuous performance measurement enables panel-level online monitoring and fault detection. To address the issue of PV safety, the SolarEdge system contains an automatic SafeDC™ mechanism which shuts off DC voltage on the panels whenever the inverter or the grid power is disconnected.

Offering[edit]

[1] SolarEdge delivers a distributed system that tackles the aforementioned challenges. Energy loss due to panel mismatch is prevented by performing MPPT for each panel individually. String voltage is kept fixed at all times, so strings can be combined regardless of length, tilt, or type of panels used. Continuous performance measurement enables online monitoring and fault detection at panel-level. Installer and firefighter safety is enhanced by shutting off the DC voltage whenever the inverter is disconnected. To achieve the above without raising the cost of the system, compared to standard inverters, SolarEdge provides panel optimizers as well as its own inverter and monitoring web portal. The solution is applicable for a wide range of applications, from residential roofs to large scale solar farms.

Products[edit]

Power Optimizer[edit]

The SolarEdge Power Optimizer is embedded into each panel by panel manufacturers instead of the junction box*, or retrofitted by PV installers onto regular modules**. The power optimizer optimizes energy output by performing Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) individually for each panel and maintains a fixed DC string voltage*. Power optimizers also collect performance measurements and telemetries of each panel, and transmit the data over existing power lines.

Inverter[edit]

The SolarEdge Solar inverter is responsible for DC to AC inversion while MPPT and voltage management are handled by power optimizers separately for each module. Fixed string voltage ensures operation at the highest efficiency at all times (98% maximum efficiency), independent of string length and temperature. The company offers single-phase inverters with a rated AC power output of between 3,000 to 6,000 watts*, as well as three-phase inverters with a rated AC power output ranging between 7,000 to 17,000

Monitoring Portal[edit]

A web-based and iPhone applications provide module-level*, string-level* and system-wide PV Monitoring. The software provides alerts on a wide range of issues affecting energy generation that might otherwise go undetected*. Data and alerts are presented on a virtual site map and can be pinpointed to specific location to reduce maintenance time and costs.

Installer Tools[edit]

SolarEdge provides a set of freeware software tools with its products. The Site Designer recommends string layout and inverter and power optimizer selection, according to the site’s size. The Configuration Tool allows remote configuration of the SolarEdge inverter* as well as real-time, on-site verification of correct installation, and the iPhone Site Mapping Tool application, allows for swift and easy creations of a virtual map of the PV site*.

Awards[edit]

SolarEdge was notably honored by receiving the following awards:

  • Red Herring: "100 Global Award 2010" (1/2011) [5]
  • Red Herring: "100 Europe Award" (5/2010) [6]
  • AlwaysOn: SolarEdge named a "2010 GoingGreen East Top 50" company (3/2010) [7]
  • Fast Company Magazine: SolarEdge named a "2010 World Top Ten Innovative Energy" company (2/2010) [8]
  • Frost & Sullivan: "2009 European Solar Photovoltaic Hot Investment Opportunity Award” (9/2009)[1]
  • The Guardian and Cleantech Group: SolarEdge named a "Global Cleantech 100" company (9/2009)[9]
  • Cleantech 2009 Tradeshow: “The Exceptional Product in the Environmental Protection Arena" award (6/2009).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]