Navitron Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC => Solar Photovoltaic Systems => Topic started by: MrK on April 02, 2020, 07:32:36 AM



Title: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: MrK on April 02, 2020, 07:32:36 AM
Hi folks, hope you are staying safe.

I'm getting conflicting information from suppliers re SolarEdge. I have an in-roof install planned with two arrays of PV panels. We have very little shading although there may be some on the second set of panels from another roof early in the day. One supplier is telling me we absolutely dont need SE and the other is saying...

'it is a misconception to think that solaredge is only required for heavy shading, it has a number of other benefits such as longer warranties, best in class after sales support, safe DC fire safety function, all panels degrade slightly differently and therefore the losses associated with solaredge are negated, also it is likely that during the winter the bottom row on the south elevation will get shade from the extension roof when the sun only peaks at 14 degrees'

He also says Modbus monitoring only available with SolarEdge and I quite like the idea of being able to work out whether or not I should consider adding battery storage

Over to you guys please


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: andrewellis on April 02, 2020, 08:06:59 AM
I have them and it was very easy to setup modbus over tcp. You will need to get your installer to enable it as the new models have no way of accessing the menus  without an app and installer login details. There is also a modbus over rs485 which I couldnít get working but I didnít do much diagnosis as the TCP option meant I was up and running straight away. Might have been a dodgy rs485 card I had.

Another benefit is they are G100 certified. So I have 6.4kw of panels and a 5kw inverter. It allows the export to be limited to 3.68kw but still use 5kw in the house if the demand is high. I wish Iíd gone for the 6kw model. Another benefit if you can also view all the panels individual performance. If one of them dies it will be very obvious.


There is a scary post from an installer in Australia who has experienced a very high failure rate.  I havenít found any other like that so I donít know if it is related to the higher temperatures they experience.


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: GeoffM on April 02, 2020, 08:30:03 AM
So it looks to me (a definite non-expert) that the decision is nothing to do with money as none of the suggested benefits will make any of that for you. It's whether the expense and any associated expense is worth it for the sake of a "gadget".

I've got loads of them around the house doing different things, none of them are much use in themselves really but they make me happy, so if you want it and can afford it, go for it - especially in these dark times!!!


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: RIT on April 02, 2020, 09:14:05 AM
What you don't say is how much more you are being quoted for a SolarEdge based solution compared to something else. A SolarEdge solution is likely to be more costly as it is more advanced and so should result in additional generation over its life, but it is very hard to do a 'value' calculation even when you have all the figures in front of you :)

The reply you got from the SE salesman lists one key advantage, that of you having shade during part of the year, but again you have to try and work out the real value of the extra output you would gain as few people expect to see much generation during the winter months anyway and your other quote is likely to be using an inverter that splits the panels into 2 groups. So depending on the panel layout, both configurations may have much the same shading hit.

Lines such as "best in class", "safe DC fire safety function" and even "Modbus monitoring only available with SolarEdge" are more spin than critical. If you have a fire in your loft its unlikely that once the firemen spot the panels they are going to ask what inverter tech you are using and then not rip out any DC cable that gets in the way because you have SolarEdge equipment. As for Modbus, yes it's a very nice solution, but other vendors such as SMA have solutions that do much the same.


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: dan_b on April 02, 2020, 09:18:29 AM
I've had SolarEdge for 7 years. For me it was quite an easy decision because of shading from next door's chimney, but it also allowed me to add an extra 4 panels on my west facing roof very easily a while later and for the whole system to just cope with different panels on different orientations with different shading issues without batting an eyelid.

The monitoring portal is very nice and easy to use.

The claimed overall system efficiency of SolarEdge is supposed to be higher than traditional string inverters so you may get more production overall.

They integrate easily with Tesla batteries.

They're launching their own SolarEdge car charger.

Eer.

Is there much/any price difference for you?   What would you spend the difference on?

It sounds like you may get some shading?  You've got 2 arrays on different roofs at different orientations?


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: nowty on April 02, 2020, 10:56:21 AM
If all the shading you are going to get is one row in mid winter, sounds like you don't need it.


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: MrK on April 02, 2020, 12:15:43 PM
All really helpful folks - thank you very much.

I think the conclusion is - 'you don t really need it, it wont give a huge amount of return. However, if it's not that much more money then it is quite nice to have so if the budget allows and its just for the sake of it, go for it'


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: bleem2k on April 02, 2020, 12:33:02 PM
I've got the Tigos (similar to solaredge but compatible with any inverter).. they appear to do the trick, we have a tree shadow right in the middle of our solar day as the sun swings round but they appear to do the right thing and allow each panel to continue to output as the shadow swings across them.

Nice portal (similar to SE) -

(https://i.postimg.cc/5XMsqQKy/image.png) (https://postimg.cc/5XMsqQKy)

In terms of additional energy, apparently it's 'reclaimed' (whatever that is) 324kWh, so when you * by FITS @ 5p its only £16 or so - financially doesn't add up!

(https://i.postimg.cc/FfMhFZsG/image.png) (https://postimg.cc/FfMhFZsG)

HTH.


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: MrK on April 02, 2020, 01:09:01 PM
so basically you are sayin that the value of the power 'optimised' by these active managemnt systems is not worth the investment in the system - just install the PV and a decent inverter and don't try to be too smart?


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: dan_b on April 02, 2020, 01:52:51 PM
One thing you'll find very quickly when you start generating your own electricity is you become obsessed with maximising every kWh you generate - and you'll soon start thinking "ooh if only I had an extra panel" or "ooh if only I'd gone for the 400W panels" or "if only I'd gone for SolarEdge" or "maybe if I bought a battery" or "if only I could chop down my neighbour's tree to get rid of that shading"...

As with computers/IT - there's always something better/faster you could spend more money on.  At some point you have to just decide "this is my budget, I want it installed by a certain date, what's the best bang for my buck in this precise moment".

SolarEdge will probably give you more output because of better overall system efficiency.  Whether you want to pay the extra for that is entirely down to you and your own circumstances.


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: Pile-o-stone on April 02, 2020, 04:54:24 PM
I've got the Tigos (similar to solaredge but compatible with any inverter).. they appear to do the trick, we have a tree shadow right in the middle of our solar day as the sun swings round but they appear to do the right thing and allow each panel to continue to output as the shadow swings across them.

Nice portal (similar to SE) -

(https://i.postimg.cc/5XMsqQKy/image.png) (https://postimg.cc/5XMsqQKy)

In terms of additional energy, apparently it's 'reclaimed' (whatever that is) 324kWh, so when you * by FITS @ 5p its only £16 or so - financially doesn't add up!

(https://i.postimg.cc/FfMhFZsG/image.png) (https://postimg.cc/FfMhFZsG)


HTH.


I also have Tigo's and like that you only need to fit them on the panels that may get shaded. I don't have the monitoring though - how did you set that up?


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: nowty on April 02, 2020, 08:00:16 PM
I have a few Tigo's too, I have only been using them for about a month but I am impressed with them.

I wrote up my experience of them in a post only the other day, see link below.

https://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,31584.0.html


Title: Re: SolarEdge - do i need it, is it worth it?
Post by: bleem2k on April 03, 2020, 11:27:57 PM
pile-o-stone, nowty - for the monitoring you'll need a Cloud Connect Advance (CCA) - https://www.tigoenergy.com/products/#cloud-connect-advanced (https://www.tigoenergy.com/products/#cloud-connect-advanced) ...and a Tigo Access Point - https://www.tigoenergy.com/products/#tigo-access-point (https://www.tigoenergy.com/products/#tigo-access-point)

This then feed the data back to smart.tigo.com from where all the dashboards are. This was all installed as part of my system so can't comment on the ease of install etc, I couldn't find any readily available information on the settings for the CCA so you may need an installer account or something (or be more persistent!)

The TAP box sits on the inside of my shed and an additional one up in the loft on my house (2 separate arrays here). The TAP communicates wirelessly with the panel mounted modules. Then theres a bit of cat5 between the TAP and the CCA, then the CCA connects wired or wirelessly to your network to feed back to the cloud portal. No local monitoring as far as I can see.

HTH. R