In order to increase the feasibility of solar as a widely used source of electricity, the cost simply must come down. In recent years the cost of PV modules has dropped significantly, however, balance of system (BOS) costs have failed to keep pace. This means that BOS costs represent an increasing percentage of total cost per watt, and because of this, recent focus has been centered on reducing BOS costs.
Tigo’s patented smart module technology is driving BOS costs down. This technology enables 30% longer strings; longer strings mean fewer strings, and fewer strings mean fewer modules, fewer combiner boxes, and less wiring. This decreases material costs significantly while also facilitating quicker installation, thus reducing BOS.
Case Study: Palo Alto JCC
In this case, Tigo’s smart module technology allowed installers to increase the number of modules per string from 14 to 18 while still remaining under 600 Volt safety norms. This had a significant impact on the amount of materials necessary for the project. Installers were able to decrease their materials by 27 modules, 3 combiner boxes, and 13,500 feet of wire. This not only saved the installer money on materials but on labor as well (about 50 hours).
By reducing the total number of strings in the array from 123 to 96, the installer was able to save $0.05 per watt, or nearly $21,500. This translates to a 25% reduction in total electrical BOS costs.
Tigo’s ability to elongate strings by 30% is revolutionizing solar. Increased string length results in fewer strings, and with fewer strings comes an overall decrease in materials required for an array. This reduction in materials combined with the shorter installation time leads significant BOS savings.
Note: Only Smart Modules, i.e. PV modules with Tigo's optimizer integrated into the junction box, offer the longer strings functionality. Add-on optimizers, such as the 2ES, are not equipped with this feature.