SMA Module Level Optimization – Make More Energy & Money

SMA’s Optimizers with their “selective deployment” capability allow your solar system to make more energy and generate more money.

 

Solar systems love the sun. The more sun they can soak up, the more energy they can generate. But it isn’t always possible for a solar system to be in full perfect sunshine throughout the day. It might be a favourite cheery tree in your backyard, or a building development next door, but sometimes partial shade on a solar system is unavoidable. Luckily, for dealing with shade SMA has 2 solutions.

  1. The lowest cost and simplest is OptiTrac Global Peak (click here to see a short video explaining how it works). OptiTrac is included with every SMA inverter, at no additional cost.
  2. The SMA Optimizer provides maximum energy generation (click here to see a short video explaining how it works) and at lower total costs that competitor DC-DC optimizers or micro inverters.

 

How do they generate more energy?

Unlike competitor DC-DC optimizers or micro-inverters, SMA’s optimizers do not do an electrical conversion. Instead they use an intelligent approach called “impedance matching”. This process is more efficient that DC-to-DC or DC-to-AC conversion, and so hence there are fewer electrical losses leading to more energy generation from each PV module. The other reason they generate more energy is they intelligently detect when a PV module is shaded and so only operate if the PV module needs optimizing. Otherwise it just lets the PV module operate normally further reducing efficiency losses. Lower losses and more efficient operation mean more energy generated out of each PV module.

 

Why are they a cheaper solution?

Each optimizer in a solar system represents an additional cost. Since the SMA Optimizer solution uses “impedance matching”, there is the added benefit of the ONLY on shaded PV modules. Normal DC-DC optimizers or micro-inverters need to be installed on EVERY PV modules, whether shaded or not. Because the SMA Optimizer can be installed only on shaded panels, it can be installed for a much lower cost that competitor solutions, meaning they payback the extra system cost sooner, generating you more money as well as energy.

 

Cost benefit example

The following example shows the energy generation differences between 4 different systems:

  1. SMA with OptiTrac
  2. SMA Optimizer (99.6% efficient)
  3. Competitor DC-DC Optimizer (98.4% efficient)
  4. Competitor Micro-inverter (96.5% efficient)

 

The equipment costs displayed below are sourced from a single distributor which sells all 3 manufacturer solutions. The payback time was calculated by comparing the additional cost of the optimizing solution, to the additional solar energy generated which offset energy supplied by the grid.  These were the following assumptions:

  • System Size = 2.5kW
  • Grid consumption tariff = $ 0.27 / kWh
  • PV array shading = 4 panels, 20% of the day

 

The simplified operation of the different systems is shown in the following graphic:

Energy generation differences between different types of systems with shading optimization

Energy generation differences between different types of systems with shading optimization

 

The total energy generation and relative additional costs are based on the above information.

 

sma-optimizer-blog-return-on-investment

 

The SMA Optimizer solution provides the maximum energy of all options, thanks to its innovative “impedance matching” technology to minimize losses and increase system efficiency. 4-5 times sooner than competitor solutions. For maximum energy, at lowest cost, paying back your investment in solar energy sooner, SMA Module Level Optimization is the clear winner.

 

More information

Find out more about the SMA Power + solution here.

 

NOTE: The example shown above is for illustrative purposes only, based on the assumptions outlined. Changes to these assumptions would change the projected outcome.

 

3 Comments
  1. Malik Muhammad Akram says:

    can sunny island S6.0H support on grid aswell as off grid system and what should be the circuit topology to supply energy in the national grid aswell as to the site appliances where its installed
    total capacity of the system is 39.0KWA

    Reply
  2. GF says:

    Is the SMA optimizer from item #2 in the first paragraph the same as the TS4-R Module?

    If I were to get TS4-R Modules installed on every solar panel, would I then be able to have panel level monitoring using the sunny portal here:
    https://www.sma-america.com/products/monitoring-control/sunny-portal.html

    I assume this one – but I am confused because your optimizers are not micro inverters.
    Micro Inverters in SUNNY PORTAL – User Manual
    English (US) Number: SPortalMGate-US-BA-en-10

    In any case, using a sunny boy main inverter and sunnboy optimizers on the panels, does sunny boy provide some sort of panel level monitoring. If so, is extra hardware required for the portal aside from the sunnyboy inverter itself?

    Reply

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