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Author Topic: Tigo TSA-O Optimizers  (Read 1767 times)
nowty
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« on: March 28, 2020, 12:29:51 PM »

I thought I would share my experimentation with using Tigo Optimizers here at Nowty Towers. Similar to Solar Edge but you can use them on almost any inverter, you donít need any monitoring hardware and you only need to use them on panels where they are needed. The spec is also good enough to use on higher panel wattages (up to 475w) or higher voltage panels (up to 90v open cct V).

They work by adding a variable voltage from zero to the open circuit voltage of the panel to the string at the full existing string current in order to boost the overall string power even if they are partly shaded or in a non-optimal position. So they have their own MPPT for the panel and I presume a step down converter to reduce down the voltage and boost the current to match the existing string current.

There are a few places on my property where an extra panel would fit or an existing difficult string could be enhanced with one of these.






I added this 325w (60v) panel to an afternoon sunny facade of my car port in series with four existing 250w (30v) panels.





I added this 325w (60v) panel to a morning sunny wall in series with three existing 245w (42v) panels.





I added a Tigo to an existing panel (top right) which temporarily shades from my garden fence and added another two panels (with Tigo's) in series (bottom two), both different panel type and slope.





I first started with just one on the facade of my car port and I was very pleasantly surprised how well it worked. So from there I bought a few more and tried them in several different places. With all the changes I have monitored the string voltage, current and power in different conditions and have frequently disconnected and re-connected the new panel(s) to see the differences.

I have found that the overall string current is slightly reduced, but only slightly, typically 0.1A. The string voltage is always higher and the power is almost always higher. The only conditions I have found it slightly worse is in very heavily overcast conditions when there would hardly be any production anyway.

Everything works best in constant illumination whether that's full sun or overcast. If the conditions are rapidly changing, i.e., full sun, followed by heavy cloud shading, back to full sun again, then it works fine with just a single panel added but where I have more than one panel added, the tracker in my inverter sometimes loses the peak but regains it again within a few minutes when it does its global peak scan. Still overall its much better than before so I am happy with the results.
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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
kdmnx
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2020, 02:51:21 PM »

I used 2x Tigo optimisers with the two panels I fitted yesterday. I have been wondering how I could know if theyíre doing a good job. Glad you are happy with yours.

How much did you pay for them?
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nowty
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2020, 03:53:26 PM »

How much did you pay for them?

£45 delivered.

I have found them as cheap as £35 but they tend to be the older model with slightly lower spec so you need to be careful if using with a Panasonic higher voltage panel.
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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
pj
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2020, 12:24:44 PM »

These devices would seem ideal for directly connecting two PV panels to a 3kw immersion heater giving a simple and complete standalone Hot Water solution.
The max output of 90v gives 3000*90*90/(240*240) = 420W max. Current at this wattage would be about 4.5A, easily switched by a regular thermostat.
The device takes care of impedance matching, delivering max power from the panels at any level into the heater.
Also, they are ideal in that they are fully autonomous, with no setup needed, and no ongoing control required.

I know that directly driving immersion heaters from PV has been discussed on other threads - this would seem to provide an answer?
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stannn
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2020, 06:20:15 PM »

These devices would seem ideal for directly connecting two PV panels to a 3kw immersion heater giving a simple and complete standalone Hot Water solution.
The max output of 90v gives 3000*90*90/(240*240) = 420W max. Current at this wattage would be about 4.5A, easily switched by a regular thermostat.
The device takes care of impedance matching, delivering max power from the panels at any level into the heater.
Also, they are ideal in that they are fully autonomous, with no setup needed, and no ongoing control required.

I know that directly driving immersion heaters from PV has been discussed on other threads - this would seem to provide an answer?
This seems to be a very important observation pj as it could presumably also be used to power a storage heater.
Stan
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pj
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2020, 06:36:27 PM »

@Nowty - are you in a position to try an experiment? Take one panel, with one TSA-O and connect it to a regular kettle full of water?
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North Hampshire
nowty
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2020, 08:18:49 PM »

@Nowty - are you in a position to try an experiment? Take one panel, with one TSA-O and connect it to a regular kettle full of water?

What else am I going to be doing in this virus ridden world ? wackoold, I might have a go this weekend, fingers crossed!

I could rig up my 2 x 325w Kuro Panasonic panels (140v Open Circuit Voltage, 120v Max Power Voltage), which already have the Tigoís connected. So thatís 325w + 325w = 650w of solar panels.

The kettle I have is a 2kw one with a 28 ohm resistance element.

So 120v of panels would give 120v / 28 ohm = 4.3 Amps which matches the Panasonic panels nicely as they have a max power current of around 5.5 Amps.

I will have to make up some sort of cable with MC4 connectors. ballspin
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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2020, 11:02:00 PM »

Thermostats are not designed to switch DC current. Even at 90 volts you will get an arc. Dont forget arc welders operate at only 30v.
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nowty
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 01:55:48 PM »

Thermostats are not designed to switch DC current. Even at 90 volts you will get an arc. Dont forget arc welders operate at only 30v.

True but if you used them with Storage heaters, then they might never get hot enough to need the thermostat to turn them off.
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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
JohnS
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2020, 02:50:41 PM »

I would never trust them to switch off without arcing and welding..

Too much of a fail dangerously risk.

Probably invalidates any insurance.
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nowty
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2020, 03:09:08 PM »

@Nowty - are you in a position to try an experiment? Take one panel, with one TSA-O and connect it to a regular kettle full of water?

What else am I going to be doing in this virus ridden world ? wackoold, I might have a go this weekend, fingers crossed!

I could rig up my 2 x 325w Kuro Panasonic panels (140v Open Circuit Voltage, 120v Max Power Voltage), which already have the Tigoís connected. So thatís 325w + 325w = 650w of solar panels.

The kettle I have is a 2kw one with a 28 ohm resistance element.

So 120v of panels would give 120v / 28 ohm = 4.3 Amps which matches the Panasonic panels nicely as they have a max power current of around 5.5 Amps.

I will have to make up some sort of cable with MC4 connectors. ballspin

When PJ suggested this yesterday I initially thought that's crazy talk, but after giving it some thought, it might just work so I agreed to do the experiment. And it went as well as you could expect. Now you could argue that the panels I used in full sun are already matched quite nicely to the kettle but I think those Tigo's will allow it to efficiently boil the kettle even in weak or cloudy conditions. Obviously it will take longer but I think quicker than just directly connecting the panels to the load.

I used my 2kW kettle with the switch taped down as I donít think it would latch correctly using DC. I cut the plug off an extension lead and added the MC4 connectors directly to the live and neutral. I disconnected two 325w Panasonic panels (with their Tigoís) from the string and reconnected them to the extension lead.

I simply plugged the kettle into the extension and timed it to boil whilst measuring the current and voltage to the kettle.

As a control I timed how long the kettle takes to boil one litre when plugged into the mains and it took 3.5 mins. The two panels with very shallow angle will not get full power even in todays sun so its going to take at least 4 or 5 times to boil if it works.

Test Panels 2 x 325w Kuro Panasonic Panels (the two all black ones)



The two Tigos



Health and safety manager checking everything is ok fingers crossed!



Open circuit voltage 132V



On load voltage 115V



On load current 4.9A



Tea Time in 15 mins ! wackoteapot


Now I wonder how long it would take to boil with a string of 15 of these ?  Shocked sh*tfan
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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
pj
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2020, 03:29:01 PM »

 genuflect genuflect genuflect
Wow that's brilliant Nowty. Certainly proof of concept. As far as using a thermostat for DC goes, you can use contact suppressors to suppress the arc, so a regular cylinder thermostat would work, your measured current of 4.9A well inside the thermostat's limit.

As an afterthought - could you repeat this with less sunshine (what am I saying), maybe in the evening? I'm interested to see that voltage/current output of the Tigo is under less light as you suggest.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 03:31:57 PM by pj » Logged

North Hampshire
nowty
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2020, 04:24:30 PM »


As an afterthought - could you repeat this with less sunshine (what am I saying), maybe in the evening? I'm interested to see that voltage/current output of the Tigo is under less light as you suggest.


OK, its on again now at 4:30pm, sun is now way off the SSE facing panels and one is half shaded.

Voltage is 61v and current is 2A, not much but water is still warming up. The panels may shade up completely before the water is boiled but we shall see.

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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
nowty
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2020, 04:38:30 PM »

Shade now over more than one panel, voltage has dropped to 50v and current now at 1.8A, water temp is 50 degrees and 20mins have passed.

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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
nowty
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2020, 04:52:15 PM »

Its now 30mins and there is only about 1/4 of one panel left in the sun and at a very poor angle.

Voltage is now 30v and the current is 1.4A.

Water temp is now about 55 degrees.

I don't it will get any higher as its fairly chilly out now and what it gains, it loses to the atmosphere. But I think this shows that it still works even in non optimal conditions.
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12kW+ of PV installed and 60+ MWh's generated.
Home battery storage of 40+ kWh's.
Hot water storage of 15+ kWh's.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh's.
6kW Ground source heatpump.
EV BMW i3 (another 30+ kWh's of storage).
290,000+ litres of water harvested from underground river.
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