Distributed DC Architecture – Maximum Solar Power Harvesting
So we have a new blog, and we told you about our experiences from PV conferences around the globe, but we didn’t take the time yet to explain who we are and what we do. To get answers to all these questions you will have to keep following our blog, but I would like to start with a short but comprehensive description of the SolarEdge system and its benefits.
What is, then, Distributed DC Architecture anyway? In so many words it means transferring the role of tracking the Maximum Power Point (MPP) from the centralized PV inverter (whole system MPP tracking) to active electronics (chips) placed on each and every panel (panel-level MPP tracking)
Communication is then carried across existing power lines to a module- and system-level PV monitoring portal, so no added wiring is needed, and system owners and installers can get real-time, high resolution control of the PV system. You could actually use the solar monitoring software to display underperforming panels on a virtual site map. The system sends you updates and alerts, pinpointed to specific locations on the PV site map.
The fixed string voltage renders the limitations of traditional PV systems, such as under/over voltage evasion, uniform panel orientation and identical string length - irrelevant, allowing you maximum flexibility in the design of PV arrays and full utilization of the roof area. String length can be much longer if desired, so you’ll typically need fewer strings (and fewer combiner boxes, etc).
Moreover, partial shading, which is one of the most common factors affecting PV systems’ efficiency, is now limited to the shaded panels only, which even under partial shading conditions work at their optimum, and do not affect unshaded panels. This is what enables optimal roof utilization of very shaded roofs, such as this one, where a 100kWp SolarEdge system was installed:
As a result, solar power harvesting is maximized. Less wiring and other BoS components, shorter design and commissioning times, built-in communication hardware and longer standard warranty periods, make the SolarEdge system cost competitive as well.
On top of that, safety hazards related with PV installations, such as risk of electrocution and arc generation are eliminated by the SolarEdge distributed DC architecture, as power optimizers maintain a low voltage (1V) safe mode during installation, maintenance and fire fighting, in response to grid power disconnection, inverter shut down, high temperature or arc detection. Anti-theft and immobilization mechanisms ensure that modules with embedded powr optimizers can only be operated by their truthful owners. We will post a more elaborate “safety post” in the coming weeks.
A talented Sand Animation artist demonstrates the meaning of distributed architecture in the following movie:
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