How Do Solar Optimisers Work?

When considering investing in a solar panel or solar tile setup for your home or business, or if you already have a solar setup, a solar optimiser will allow you to be more efficient with solar power.

Read on to find out why.

Solar Power Jargon You’ll Need To Know

Before we delve into solar optimisers, there’s some jargon related to solar power you’ll need to be familiar with:

  • AC – alternating current. This is the type of power that a house or commercial premises will use.
  • DC – direct current. This is the type of power that will be generated from a solar panel or solar tile.
  • Solar Panel – a traditional solar panel that is mounted to the roof of a building.
  • Solar Tile – a style of solar panel designed to function as both a generator of power and as a roof tile.
  • Current – is used to refer to the flow of electricity in a circuit, or how much electricity is flowing in a circuit. Measured in amperes.
  • PLO (panel level optimisation) – another term used to refer to solar optimisers.
  • MLPE (module level power electronics) – another term used to refer to solar optimisers.
  • String – a term used to describe when solar panels are set up in series to generate power and charge a solar battery.

What Is A Solar Panel Optimiser?

A solar panel optimiser is a piece of solar technology that’s designed to allow your solar tech setup to realise its full power-generating potential. Optimisers are designed to increase the power output of a solar setup by streamlining current transfer between panels.

How Do Solar Panel Optimisers Work?

Optimisers work by bypassing the panel in your setup that is generating far less electricity than the other panels. This may seem counterintuitive, but by bypassing the panel, you’ll be increasing the efficiency of all other panels. Collectively, this will increase the power your setup will generate by a significant percentage.  

Why Are Solar Optimisers Important?

Optimisers for solar panels are important due to solar panels being set up in a ‘string’ network. The upside of a string design is that it is highly efficient at capturing sunlight to convert into electricity. The downside is that the string of panels is limited by the panel performing at the lowest efficiency. 

In essence, if you have four panels operating at 80% capacity and one at 50% capacity, the whole string of panels will be limited to 50% capacity. In bypassing the 50% panel, all your other panels will benefit from an increase in overall efficiency.

The reason this works is that the current that charges your solar battery will not be restricted by the underperforming panel.

Different Types of Solar Optimisers 

There are various types of solar optimisers out there from leading brands such as Tigo, but they fall into three different categories:

  • Microinverters
  • Discrete optimisers
  • Smart panels (that use integrated DC optimisers)

Generally, the most expensive option tends to be a microinverter, with the least expensive being smart panels.

The different types of optimisers are designed for use in different kinds of setups, so it’s always best to talk to a solar tech professional about your personal requirements before deciding what to buy.

Who Should Invest In Solar Optimisers?

Optimisers are an optional piece of solar technology in that they aren’t needed for panels to generate electricity. However, investing in optimisers is a great way to get more out of your investment.

We strongly recommend optimisers for those who:

  • Have panels positioned in the shade for portions of the day cycle.
  • Live in climates that are particularly cloudy.
  • Want more responsive and robust safety mechanisms in place when a fault is detected.
  • If you think you’d benefit from detailed analytics about how each solar panel is performing.

Wanting To Invest In Solar Technology?

If you want to invest in solar technology, Smartly provides an extensive range of high-quality solar technology to choose from. We provide everything you’d need in one place to set up your solar power array, no matter if you need it for commercial or residential use.
Reach out to Smartly now, and our solar experts will happily advise you on the next steps to take for investing in solar technology.