New stuff from Tigo: three Duo covers, partnership with SMA

Tigo, a pioneer of the smart modular Flex MLPE platform, is always announcing new products and partnerships. Here are the latest:

Three new Duo covers


These three new “Duo” covers are  add-on / retrofit solutions for its TS4 platform:

  • TS4-R-O-Duo (Optimization),
  • TS4-R-S-Duo (Safety), and
  • TS4-R-M-Duo (Monitoring).

The TS4-R-X-Duo brings smart module functionality to standard PV modules, adds smart features to new PV installations and upgrades underperforming PV assets. With UHD-Core technology and expanded specifications, the Duo supports two PV modules connected in series with a combined power of up to 700W and a combined voltage of up to 90V.

With a universal base and a range of covers containing flexible module-level power electronics (Flex MLPE), Tigo’s Duo increases freedom of choice when selecting features for a particular project and budget. All three Duo covers work with any inverter and any module within its electrical specifications.

Partnership with SMA

Tigo and SMA are joining forces to deliver total compliance with the newly released SunSpec Alliance specifications regarding Rapid Shutdown adoption for PV plants. SunSpec Alliance, certifier of PV components and communication standards, has defined the specifications of the powerline-based PV transmitter signal covering varying installation types and regions.

Tigo and SMA’s partnership brings the first transmitter and receiver offering that represents interoperability between the inverter and the PV module’s MLPE. SMA’s full line of US string inverters will be supporting the new SunSpec standard to fulfill the tightened module-level requirements in National Electric Code (NEC) 2017, becoming mandatory in January 2019. Tigo will expand its current offering to include a SunSpec Rapid Shutdown and add this capability to its TS4 Flex MLPE product line. The new addition is 100% compatible and certified by about 40 PV module suppliers currently using the TS4 platform – including Trina Solar, Itek, and Sunpreme. The new offering is also available for add-on or retrofit applications.

2017 Solar Inverter Buyer’s Guide


— Solar Builder magazine

Tigo solidifies rapid shutdown certified partnerships with more than 35 inverter types

tigo ts4 mlpe rapid shutdown

Tigo, pioneer of the smart modular Flex MLPE platform, has boosted its portfolio of international inverter partnerships to more than 35 inverter-types that are now Rapid Shutdown certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

SMA was first to adopt Tigo’s portfolio of Rapid Shutdown certified offerings. Additional commercial and residential inverter suppliers that also received the UL certification include:

  • ABB,
  • Fronius,
  • Ginlong Solis,
  • Kaco,
  • Sungrow,
  • Yaskawa – Solectria Solar,
  • and more.

Inverters ranging from 3kW to 30kW are certified with Tigo’s TS4 optimizers with UHD-Core technology and are shipping now. This brings the largest Rapid Shutdown solution offering with the widest adoption to market – providing Installers, EPC, and Owners the most cost-effective response to the NEC 2014 & 2017 code requirements.

“Customers looking for cost effective solutions that comply with strict safety regulations have a solution available. With Tigo’s UL Certification, our partners are exceeding these standards,” said Zvi Alon, CEO of Tigo. “We are excited to add more brands to the most diverse portfolio of approved partners in the industry.”

According to UL’s certification Rapid Shutdown Systems requirements for Distributed Generation Power System Equipment, the rapid shutdown protection is intended to reduce potential hazards and limit exposure to energized PV wiring and equipment to allow emergency first responders to perform work outside the energized area of the PV array. Also, these high reliability PV rapid shutdown systems have a higher system fault tolerance and reliability to perform their intended function under foreseeable single-point component and system failures. Only systems found to comply with these additional functional safety requirements are marked “High Reliability PV Rapid Shutdown System.”

— Solar Builder magazine

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