Tigo’s TS4 MLPE platform earns UL certification for meeting rapid shutdown regs

tigo ts4 mlpe rapid shutdown

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has certified Tigo‘s UHD-Core TS4-S for fully complying with National Electric Code (NEC) 690.12 Rapid Shutdown regulations. The TS4-S joins the UL Certified status of Tigo’s TS4-L (Long Strings) and TS4-O (Optimization) announced last February; all products are currently shipping.

The UL Certification now applies to 600V, 1000V, and 1500V PV system designs with Tigo’s TS4 MLPE modular platform using any type of module with a maximum output power of 475W. The built-in automatic over voltage and over temperature protections continue to reduce liability and improve the safety of installers, customers, and first responders in case of emergency.

“Tigo’s UL Certification enables our partners to meet NEC demands like module-level shutdown now, while also offering the most cost effective and flexibly designed systems on the market,” said Zvi Alon, CEO of Tigo. “

To see Tigo’s TS4 platform with a Sunpreme bifacial smart panel, visit Booth 8401 at Intersolar North America’s Exhibition in San Francisco on July 11-13, 2017.

Get to know NEC 2017 revisions: Updated PV labels, rapid system shutdown


— Solar Builder magazine

MLPE boom: Analysts expect big things from module-level power electronics market

The module-level power electronics industry is witnessing an intense growth phase. Demand is driven by increasing solar photovoltaic (PV) installations across the globe and modernization of grid infrastructure capable of accommodating module-level power electronics (MLPE) technology within the system.

APS PV Microinverter

Example of MLPE — APsystems microinverter

“With movement towards renewable power and distributed power sources, the MLPE market is expected to sustain further significant growth in all regions of the globe,” said Energy & Environment Research Analyst Manoj Shankar. “To gain a competitive advantage and increase market share in a highly consolidated and fiercely competitive market, MLPE companies must innovate their products to reduce prices, seek geographic expansion, and invest in partnerships or merger and acquisition strategies.”

Global Module Power Electronics (MLPE) Market, part of Frost & Sullivan’s Power Generation Growth Partnership Service (GPS) program, finds that the market is expected to grow from $648.7 million in 2016 to $1.16 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4 percent.

Other developments include:

• The residential and commercial segments will see rapid growth in the next three years due to new installations and low product prices.

• Rising installations of rooftop solar in Asia-Pacific, especially in China and India, will see the market moving towards Asia-Pacific from North America.

• Reduced MLPE costs will lead to a higher adoption in many developed and developing nations.

• Changes in government policy will aid the solar industry in new markets such as Latin America and Africa.

• The total MW-level MLPE installations are expected to increase from 3.3 GW in 2016 to 10.7 GW in 2021 at a CAGR of 26.2 percent.

• Enphase Energy and Solar Edge Technology Inc are the two major players that dominate the market due to their early mover advantage.

• Prices of microinverters and DC optimizers are expected to be on par in the near future with traditional inverters, leading to higher adoption by consumers.

• Competition from other technologies, increased usage of other sources of power, lack of protocol standards, and regulations and tariffs are key factors that are hindering growth in the market.

“Renewable energy targets and regulations are set to play a major role in the development of the MLPE market as countries move towards more efficient and sustainable power generation,” noted Shankar.

— Solar Builder magazine

PV Pointer: How inverter advancement is leading the way for the solar industry

For the past decade, the solar energy industry has been focused on reaching grid parity, which occurs when solar energy generates power at a Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) equal to the price of purchasing power from the grid. In many regions around the world and in some states in the U.S., we have already reached and surpassed grid parity. This does not mean that the race towards a lower LCOE has stopped. In fact, the industry is now competing against itself in order to provide more advanced and efficient solar energy solutions. As inverters have a significant impact on LCOE, we believe that a key to driving the advancement of the solar industry is inverter innovation.

Advancements in MLPE

advanced inverters

We can see the impact of inverter innovation by looking back at the past few years in which a number of new inverter technologies were introduced that helped to advance the PV market. One particularly important innovation was the introduction of module-level power electronics (MLPE) to inverter topology. By moving functionality to the panel level, this distributed inverter topology unlocked new value that was not previously accessible, such as more energy, high-resolution monitoring, design flexibility, and enhanced safety.

In fact, this inverter advancement has even been called a potential disruptive technology for the PV industry due to its ability to offer value and improve the LCOE of systems. If the past few years are any indication of the future advancement of the PV industry, then the inverter can continue to drive the PV industry forward.

RELATED: Module-Level Electronics O&M Equation: Looking at the solutions to address MLPE issues 

Inside the brain

There are many reasons why the inverter is key to this continued advancement, but the central reason is that the inverter acts as the brain of the system. As the PV system brain, the inverter is responsible for maximizing energy production, smart grid interaction, safety functions, monitoring, storage, smart homes, and more. This means that when inverter technology advances, it not only improves the inverter itself, but it also has the potential to impact all of the other additional functionalities it manages. In comparison, when improvements are made in another component, such as, a panel, the impact of this improvement is typically limited and may not necessarily affect other components in the system. Because inverter progress can help to advance the entire PV system, its improvement is strategic to the PV industry.

RELATED: How the cell-optimizer, string inverter combo could change PV systems 

Shift to digitization

As the functionality of inverters is expanding, inverters are simultaneously shifting towards digitization. This means that more of the DC to AC conversion processes is happening electronically versus mechanically. By entering the digital age, inverters have a faster trajectory for advancement and can now follow in the footsteps of other technological trends such as, smartphones, computers, and televisions.

SolarEdge HDwave inverterSolarEdge has made significant progress in digitizing inverter functionality with its HD-Wave inverter. Not only has this had the immediate effect of increasing efficiency and power density of the inverter, but it will also allow the pace of inverter advancement to significantly increase compared to what we witnessed over the past 20 years.

This means that the responsibility for improving PV systems, mainly comes down to the inverter. So, the question remains, what is the industry doing in order to continue advancing the inverter?

First of all, the regulatory organizations are placing additional demands on the inverter that manufacturers need to meet. Some examples include new safety regulations NEC 2017, revenue grade metering, and smart inverter standards.

From the demand side, homeowners and installers are requiring that inverters provide more value, such as monitoring, efficiency, reliability, building energy automation, and more. Lastly and most importantly, inverter manufacturers, like SolarEdge, are focusing their efforts on providing more innovative solutions to gain a competitive advantage in the market. This healthy competition will allow the inverter to continue to help PV proliferation around the world.

Lior Handelsman is VP of Marketing and Product Strategy, Founder, SolarEdge

— Solar Builder magazine

Tigo’s MLPE module platform now UL certified for NEC 2017 Rapid Shutdown regs

Tigo logoTigo, a top brand for MLPE solutions, received UL and IEC certification for its TS4 MLPE modular platform for fully complying with National Electric Code (NEC) 2014 and 2017 690.12 Rapid Shutdown regulations. Tigo is the only UL-certified MLPE solution with multiple inverters from various inverter manufacturers. Tigo is now shipping its UL-certified offering worldwide, including the TS4 Safety (TS4-S), Optimization (TS4-O), and Long Strings (TS4-L) functional covers.

“We are proud to announce that our inverter partners are now enabled to use UL- and IEC-certified Tigo optimizers with module-level deactivation. Our new 2017 offering provides our customer with the lowest cost solution with fully optimized performance and safety features,” said Zvi Alon, CEO of Tigo.

RELATED: Module-Level Electronics O&M Equation: Looking at the solutions to address MLPE issues 

The UL and IEC certifications apply for 600V, 1000V, and 1500V PV system designs using any type of module with Tigo’s TS4 MLPE modular platform. Newly released TS4-L and TS4-O also uniquely discharge capacitors in the inverter that ensure zero voltage at any given time. In addition, the built-in automatic over current and over temperature protection reduces liability and is safer for installers, customers, and first responders in case of emergency.

Tigo is now shipping its UL-certified offering worldwide as a module integrated, retrofitted, with optimization, or standalone solution.

— Solar Builder magazine

SMA launches new Power + Solution — a flexible MLPE, string inverter residential concept

As residential PV becomes a bigger part of the energy landscape, both consumers and solar professionals are demanding more from their solar technology. To meet the growing demand for fast, cost-effective and high-performing solar solutions, SMA America has launched its new Power+ Solution. Combining the proven Sunny Boy U.S. inverter with the TS4-R Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE), the new SMA solution cost-effectively optimizes residential PV systems and ensures higher energy yields.

Power+ solution-sma

Now available for ordering, the SMA Power+ Solution can be applied per module for operational simplicity or selectively for faster installation.

“Every solar PV project has unique challenges and objectives, and a one-size-fits-all approach does not meet the needs of today’s solar landscape,” said Sven Schreiber, executive vice president of the Residential business unit at SMA. “With the Power+ Solution, integrators can choose to apply the technology in a way that optimizes ROI for their individual business model.”

Selective deployment

The TS4-R module components of the SMA Power+ Solution can be used like traditional MLPEs and satisfy all of the challenges that incumbent solutions address, but unlike traditional optimization, which requires MLPEs on every module, the Power+ Solution can also be applied selectively. SMA believes this reduces installation time, service risk and ultimately cost. Selectively deploying TS4-R can save up to 90 minutes of installation time per residential system while realizing greater energy production and roof usage, and providing a higher ROI.

Selective deployment is also ideal when it comes to service and O&M. Fewer components mean fewer potential points of failure and less risk, and when service is required, it is simpler.

Full system details

For integrators opting for full deployment, installation can still achieve significant time saving.

The module-based DC technology is supplied by the universal TS4 platform, which offers various levels of plug-and-play functionality. The TS4 is available as a factory integrated component through leading module suppliers. It is also available as an add-on, retrofit option exclusively through SMA, and makes any system instantly smarter and more powerful. Benefits of the TS4 line include module-level monitoring, shutdown code compliance, shade mitigation and increased string lengths.

The TS4 works seamlessly with the Sunny Boy US inverter, the fastest PV inverter to install. This allows installers and distributors to realize additional cost savings by reducing the total number of products they must carry. Now, integrators can carry one line of inverters for MLPE and non-MLPE applications, which reduces warehouse space while also improving flexibility when installation requirements change at the last minute.

— Solar Builder magazine