Solar Power Optimizers


What is a solar optimizer? How is it different from a string inverter or micro inverter? Let’s find out!

In this video, I will explain what a solar power optimizer is. This is a new technology that is emerging in the grid tied solar market. It has some impressive benefits over micro inverters and string inverters, especially if it is embedded in the solar panel itself.

For more information on micro and string inverters, here is the video I referenced:

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8 replies
  1. Mark Ketring
    Mark Ketring says:

    There is a lot of good information on this post but one major point that needs to be corrected is the statement about a failed optimizer in a contiguous string putting stress on the grid-tied inverter. That statement is incorrect as a failed optimizer will normally isolate itself from the series string circuit and will pass power through that comes from the other optimizers that are upstream from the failed module or the failed optimizer. Running an inverter under it's maximum DC input rating in no way strains or stresses that inverter. To the contrary, it can reduce the output stress and reduces clipping by the inverter on cold sunny days. Simply lowering the input of DC power will normally limit/reduce the AC output by a corresponding ratio or factor.
    The other update that needs to be corrected relates to the 250-watt limitation of size or rating of the current offerings in optimizers. Since 2017, larger optimizer sizes have almost continuously been introduced. 320 watt has been the current "norm" for quite some time, but 370, 400, 600 & even 730-watt commercial optimizers are readily available at the retail and wholesale level. That lineup provides a very good option for module-level-power-monitoring that an installer can utilize instead of using microinverters that are normally more expensive, especially on larger systems with high module counts.
    Other manufacturers like SMA are starting to offer optimized systems to compete with SolarEdge as the NEC continues to provide more comprehensive safety requirements including module-level rapid shut-down to help protect first-responders that may need to access the roof of a burning structure that is also covered with PV modules.

  2. Melque Salviano
    Melque Salviano says:

    Dear Friends, I would like more precise guidelines on the power optimizer. Some model design. I'm an enthusiast in this area and I'm studying a lot. And I saw that here in Brazil does not have anything on the internet about such subject. I wish I could use it to get by. I will import some items into my residential solar power project and would like to know what items to install in my home. If you are interested in a partnership, I would be very happy because I want to learn a lot and I saw that is a pioneer when it comes to solar energy.
    I await the anxious answer. Thank you!

  3. Jack Arson
    Jack Arson says:

    Hi, I am planning a 2 x 100 watt tracking array to run alongside my existing 400 watt fixed panels. My little solar system powers a couple 100AH SLA's with a Xantrex charge controller. Wouldn't optimizers help me out here? I noticed that you say they are only for grid tie systems. Thanks! I enjoyed you video.

  4. Zipplet
    Zipplet says:

    Interesting, I always thought about producing a device like that! My theory was: The shading issue lowers the panel voltage, but if you had a device per panel to boost the voltage up to the rest of the system it should be more efficient than just running with a shaded panel without any assistance. I suspect these devices probably work like that except they also do some MPPT tricks.


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