Technology Overview – SolarEdge

The SolarEdge three-fold architecture consists of power optimizers which perform module-level MPPT, a highly reliable solar PV inverter, and a web portal for module-level monitoring and fault detection. The power optimizer is embedded into each module by module-manufacturers, replacing the junction box, or retrofitted by PV installers onto c-Si, thin-film and CPV modules. The system features the following technological advancements:

Module-level MPPT:

A highly-optimized algorithm ensures that each module is constantly kept at MPP, preventing power losses even under panel mismatch or partial shading conditions. On top of the added energy benefit, module-level MPPT is faster than MPPT performed by a centralized inverter, allowing the modules to better react to changes in sun irradiance and temperature, and minimizing power loss on cloudy days when changes in irradiance are frequent and fast.

Highly Efficient DC Conversion:

Each power optimizer employs DC-DC conversion allowing it to either boost or buck the output voltage of the module without changing the output power. The DC conversion is highly efficient with a peak efficiency of over 98%.

Fixed String Voltage:

A unique SolarEdge innovation: The string’s voltage is maintained fixed at the optimal point for DC to AC inversion, regardless of the number of modules in a string, their performance, or environmental conditions. The fixed string voltage enables constraint free site design, optimal inverter efficiency and reliability, and reduced installation cost.

Advanced Power-Line-Communication:

All power optimizers continuously measure and communicate a range of module-specific status indicators. Performance data is transmitted from the power optimizer to the inverter over the existing DC power lines (PLC), eliminating the need for additional wiring. In the inverter, a built-in communication gateway with LAN and wireless connectivity options, enables easy broadband connection to a remote monitoring server.

ASIC Technology:

One key factor in increasing the efficiency and overall reliability of the power optimizer is the elimination of discrete components and their integration into Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs): The high-voltage, high-current, analog blocks are implemented in a high-voltage Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) process, geared specifically for harsh-environmental conditions such as those of the automotive industry. The logic-based digital blocks are implemented in a mature, extremely high-yield process developed by the world’s largest semiconductor fabrication plant.