Now a leading global inverter company, SolarEdge was initially founded in 2006. Its founders include Guy Sella, CEO and Chairman, Lior Handelsman, VP of Marketing and Product Strategy, Yoav Galin, VP of Research and Development, Meir Adest, VP of Core Technologies, and Amir Fishelov, Chief Software Architect. SolarEdge’s founders and executive team bring extensive multidisciplinary experience in business, power electronics and photovoltaic systems. The company’s core founding group and technology management team have worked together for more than 15 years. The combination of the team’s entrepreneurial spirit, business track-record, and collaboration fosters the type of innovation that has made SolarEdge a leading player in the PV electronics markets.
SolarEdge invented an intelligent inverter solution that revolutionized the way power is harvested and managed in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The SolarEdge direct current (DC) optimized inverter system maximizes power generation at the individual PV module level while lowering the cost of energy produced by the solar PV system.
Addressing a broad range of solar market segments, from residential solar installations to commercial and small utility-scale solar installations, the SolarEdge system consists of inverters, power optimizers, storage solutions, and a cloud-based monitoring platform.
The SolarEdge system enables superior power harvesting and module management by deploying power optimizers to each PV module while maintaining a competitive system cost by keeping the alternating current (AC) inversion and grid interaction centralized using a simplified DC-AC inverter.
Module manufacturers, installers, and system owners enjoy the benefits of SolarEdge technology, which allows maximum power production through module-level maximum power point tracking (MPPT), optimal roof utilization through constraint-free design, and
enhanced maintenance and accurate troubleshooting through module-level monitoring. Another benefit is the DC shutdown for installer, maintenance personnel, and firefighter safety through SolarEdge’s SafeDC™ mechanism.
Since beginning commercial shipments in 2010, SolarEdge has shipped approximately 5.3 Gigawatt (GW) of its DC optimized inverter systems and products have been installed in solar PV systems in 120 countries.
SolarEdge’s mission is to become the leading provider of inverter solutions across all solar PV market segments and broaden the availability of clean, renewable solar energy.
In March 2015, the company had an initial public offering and is currently listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “SEDG.”
Optimise your PV business with SolarEdge DC Optimised Inverters
With the current state of the PV market in India, the installation business is becoming more competitive. As the cost per watt of PV hardware drops, installers can find it more difficult to stay profitable. Installers are looking for ways to improve their competitiveness and bottom line. Inverter selection can be key to this process.
Inverters account for only about 10% of a PV system’s cost, but they significantly influence soft costs such as permitting, customer acquisition, Balance of System (BoS) costs, labour, and more. The inverter also affects secondary costs, such as monitoring, reporting, and Operation and Maintenance (O&M). The SolarEdge DC optimised inverter solution can reduce these costs and as such, can help installers to optimise their business.
A Better Inverter
Traditional PV inverters have two main functions: converting DC to AC and tracking the maximum power point for the string.
However, by splitting the traditional inverter functionality into two functions, the power optimiser to maximise energy production for each module and a simplified inverter that is only responsible for DC-AC inversion and grid management, SolarEdge was able to overcome the inherent drawbacks of traditional inverters. This new solution offers system owners many benefits, but it also provides value for installers.
More Energy and Better RoI
Connecting each module to a power optimizer allows the modules to produce at their individual maximum production potential. The maximum power harvesting from each module offers more energy by mitigating module-level mismatch. While this offers system owners more energy for their system, it can also help installers win more projects by offering PV systems with more energy production and a better RoI. By increasing the percentage of systems successfully completed, installation companies’ efficacy is improved. This helps decrease the average cost/watt of customer acquisition.
Longer Strings with Lower BoS Costs
With the SolarEdge DC optimised inverter, installers and system owners benefit from constraint-free design. In a SolarEdge system, the string voltage is always fixed, regardless of temperature or string length, allowing longer strings and reduced BoS cost. This means that with SolarEdge, installers can design systems with parallel strings of unequal lengths, multiple module orientations and capacities, and layouts in a single string. This design simplicity allows installers to be significantly more time efficient in designing PV systems.
More Design Flexibility
The design flexibility also allows for longer strings of up to 12.75kWp per string. These longer strings allow for fewer strings to be installed and ultimately reduce BoS costs by up to 50%. This can help the installer in providing a competitive price quote for a system that can also provide more energy.
An additional benefit of the SolarEdge DC optimised inverter solution’s design flexibility is the ability to maximise system size. The combination of the previous benefits allows more modules to be designed into rooftop systems. For a system owner this means more power and more revenue, but for installers it gives a competitive advantage and helps to increase the average profit per installation.
Another important aspect in PV systems is safety. Many new regulations are coming online in advanced markets that call for a means to shut down the voltage of PV cables when the sun is shining. This can often be costly to implement, but with the SolarEdge DC optimised inverter, its SafeDC™ technology is embedded into the system – without any additional costs or design required. In a SolarEdge system, whenever AC power is off, DC wires are de-energised. Power optimisers decrease the DC voltage in the PV wires to protect installers, maintenance personnel, and firefighters. In some locations, there may not be such safety regulations, but system owners may have concerns about firefighters’ willingness to fight a fire due to safety issues with a traditional PV system or insurance costs may increase. These can cause a potential installation to be cancelled. However, with SolarEdge’s
SafeDC™, this hurdle can be easily overcome. By offering peace of mind, without any additional costs, SolarEdge offers installers another competitive advantage.
Improved O&M with PV Asset Management
As PV systems age, a growing cost to both system owners and installation companies is Operation & Maintenance (O&M). However, with SolarEdge’s free cloud-based, module-level monitoring platform, this can turn a potential drawback into an opportunity. With module-level performance monitoring, automatic alerts, and remote troubleshooting, installers benefit from less trips to sites, less time spent on site, and system owners have a higher system uptime. In fact, O&M can be a potential new revenue stream for installers, by offering different levels of O&M services to system owners.
The bottom line is that the SolarEdge DC optimised inverter solution offers value throughout the entire supply chain. It helps installers to increase revenue and decrease expenses, while also improving the RoI for system owners.
About the Author
Lior Handelsman, VP Marketing and Product Strategy, founded SolarEdge in 2006 and currently serves as our Vice President, Marketing and Product Strategy where he is responsible for SolarEdge’s marketing activities, product management and business development.
Prior to founding SolarEdge, Handelsman spent 11 years at the Electronics Research Department (‘‘ERD’’), one of Israel’s national labs, which is tasked with developing innovative and complex systems. At the ERD he held several positions including research and development power electronics engineer, head of the ERD’s power electronics group and manager of several large-scale development projects and he was a branch head in his last position at the ERD.
Handelsman holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (cum laude) and an MBA from the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology in Haifa.