Solar Edge Inverters- Independent Review

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Overview of Solar Edge – Company History

Established in 2006, SolarEdge developed the DC optimised inverter solution that changed the way power is harvested and managed in photovoltaic (PV) systems. The SolarEdge intelligent inverter solution maximises power generation while lowering the cost of energy produced by the PV system, for improved return on investment.

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.

In March 2015, SolarEdge had an initial public offering on the NASDAQ with 7,000,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $18.00 per share, raising $126 million.

In May 2015, SolarEdge partnered with Tesla Motors or the joint development of a photovoltaic (PV) storage and backup power solution for the residential solar market, based on the Powerwall home and industrial battery packs that were unveiled in April 2015, and quickly received orders to a total value of US$800 million.

Solar Edge now has over 2,400 employees globally with a monitored site in over 130 countries. The headquarters are located in Israel with offices all over the world including the USA, Germany, France, Japan, China, India, and Australia.

A Brief Rundown on Solar Inverters

String inverters have traditionally been the standard in the solar industry. They send the power produced by solar panels to a central inverter that changes it from DC to usable AC power for your home.

Microinverters, on the other hand, convert DC to AC power at each individual panel and allow for monitoring and power regulation at the panel level. This is useful for homes that are located somewhere with shading from clouds, trees, or other buildings.

Solar Edge Inverters – Point of Difference

Solar Edge is best known for pioneering the concept of a string inverter matched with individual ‘DC optimisers’ on each solar panel. This means that it is somewhat between a string and microinverter system allowing for the best of both worlds. These optimisers allow:

  • individual panel monitoring
  • individual panel optimisation (i.e. shade or dirt on one panel will not affect the other panels like a conventional setup)
  • rapid shutdown of panels in the case of an emergency
  • slightly more energy generation over the lifetime of the system
  • A smaller string inverter because the Multi Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is all done at the panel.

SolarEdge Inverter Efficiency

While efficiency standards for residential inverters are generally 95 to 98 percent, SolarEdge inverter plus power optimizers boast a maximum efficiency of 99.5 percent.

There are a few different reasons why SolarEdge inverters are so effective. The first is that they are more efficient than normal string inverters because they avoid loss of power caused by individual panel shading or malfunctioning. They are also more effective than microinverters for larger systems because they are not limited by the cap of 21 microinverter panels, due to voltage regulations.

If panels are shaded, SolarEdge power optimizers reconfigure their output so that the combined voltage is roughly 350 volts. The result is that an output drop in one or more panels does not impact the overall effectiveness of the others.

Therefore, SolarEdge is thought to be a leader in the market regarding power optimisers.

SolarEdge Inverter Value and Warranty

The main value proposition of SolarEdge inverters is that they can offer the benefits of both string and microinverters at the same time, at a price point between the two.

Systems are also completely expandable. Homeowners can add another array much more easily in the future if energy needs increase. This is a more difficult process with a traditional string inverter, which may require a second central inverter installation. And it’s less expensive than adding more panels with built-in microinverters.

The SolarEdge inverter itself has a 12-year warranty, and their optimizers have a 25-year warranty which is on the higher end of industry standards, which typically fall between 5 and 12 years on average.

SolarEdge also gives you flexibility in that if you decide to use their optimisers but wish to go with another inverter brand, you will be able to set this up without issue. SolarEdge built independent operation technology into their optimizers, so they can be used with most any other inverter.

SolarEdge Inverter Limitations

Of course, any inverter can have its limitations and SolarEdge is no different. SolarEdge is more on the pricier side so expect to pay around 20-40% higher cost on average than other high performing and highly rated inverters. Keep in mind that inverter costs generally only run between 10-20% of your total system so it can depend greatly on the rest of your set up including your Solar Panels and Solar Battery.

Whether the size and scope of your system will need enough power to fully make use of SolarEdge optimizers is another consideration on whether to go with SolarEdge.

A Full Range of SolarEdge Inverters Available in Australia 

The majority of SolarEdge’s Inverters are approved by the Clean Energy Council for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is Australia’s home solar rebate program.

SolarEdge Inverter Specifications

 

Single Phase Inverter with HD-Wave Technology 5.0kW

SolarEdge 3-Phase Range 5.0 kW 

SolarEdge StorEdge Hybrid Inverter 5.0 kW

 

Rated AC Power Output4985W4985W4985W
Maximum Continuous Output Current23A11.5A27A
Maximum DC Power7750W9450W6750W
Maximum Inverter Efficiency99.2%98%97.6%
Dimensions with Safety Switch/Connection Unit450 x 370 x 174 mm775 x 315 x 191 mm962 x 315 x 184 mm
Weight 11.4Kg22.0 Kg26.5 Kg
Warranty12 Years (Extendable to 20 and 25 years)12 Years (Extendable to 20 and 25 years)12 Years (Extendable to 20 and 25 years)
Operational Temperature Range-40°C to 60°C 

-40°C to 60°C

 

 

-20°C to 60°C

 

Made inChina/HungaryChina/HungaryChina/Hungary

Example of a SolarEdge Commercial Solar Project 

In 2014, Honda Motorcars’ dealership in Ohio, USA wanted to install a carport canopy that would protect its fleet of automobiles, attract new customers, and power the facility. Dovetail Solar and Wind, were commissioned to run the project, and straight away they knew that SolarEdge’s inverters were going to be the best option. An inverter is generally only 10% of the costs of a commercial solar project, however, it is responsible for 100% of the energy production. Therefore, SolarEdge’s optimized inverter architecture offers the best of both worlds IE the design flexibility and energy boost of MLPE (Module Level Power Electronics) combined with the cost effectiveness and simplicity of a string inverter.

Fun Facts on The Project

– More than 80% of the steel used for the structure came from recycled cars

– The project will cover at least 75 – 80% of the facilities energy

– Green Energy Ohio named Honda their Business of the Year in 2015

Honda Dealership

Dillon Bohler

Solar Consultant at Solar Choice
Dillon Bohler