Solar power has been commercially available for the past 30 years, however, today it still only accounts for less than 2% of worldwide power production. Traditional solar PV systems suffer from a number of issues that have slowed its full market potential. These issues range from mismatch between panels to predictability, reliability, bankability, and safety of the asset.
All of these issues can be addressed by communicating directly with the solar module.
Tigo has introduced a solution, called a Smart Module, which enables a solar module to communicate with the cloud. Smart Modules deliver detailed information to Tigo's online Asset Management system in order to increase value across the entire PV supply chain. Tigo calls this exciting new initiative PV 2.0 and is confident that it will significantly accelerate the adoption of solar while substantially increasing the addressable market.
The goal of PV 2.0 is to harness communication to tap into a diverse group of industry players which will work together to increase the value of solar while lowering costs. With the exciting advancements of PV 2.0, we can expect wider adoption of solar as a source of alternative energy.
If Your PV Panel Doesn't Communicate, You're Living in the Past
For decades PV systems have operated essentially as a black box, with no efficient way to pinpoint problems bringing down the productivity of an array. Because standard PV systems only monitor the AC output of an array, it is very difficult to discern which module is under-performing if a system suddenly begins to dramatically decrease production. Without the advanced communications function offered by Smart Modules, the only way to handle suspected operating problems is for technicians to visit the site and manually search for the cause of failure. This is costly, labor intensive and time consuming.
Unlike standard PV systems, Tigo’s communicating modules enable unprecedented visibility into the internal workings of any system. This means that if there is a problem on any module in an array (i.e. sting disconnect, failed bypass diode, soiled modules, vegetation overgrowth), the Tigo system alerts the owner immediately. Instant detection of specific problems affecting particular panels enables the owner to pinpoint issues remotely and dispatch the correct personnel for quick repair. This increased understanding of system issues not only cuts down on maintenance time and cost, it also improves the system performance over time.
Communicating modules are the next big step in PV technology. Tigo’s technology provides unparalleled visibility into the internal workings of PV systems on a panel level, thus increasing the productivity of any system significantly. Communicating modules will accelerate the adoption of solar while substantially increasing the addressable market. This exciting new technology from Tigo will also result in a wider ecosystem of players, each of which will add their own skills and intellectual property to driving the industry forward.