California: Save $22k with 30% Longer Strings

Location: Sunnyvale, CA
System Size: 429 kW
Modules: 1,716 Trinasmart PA05.20
Inverter: KACO new energy 50 TL3
Installer: Cobalt Power Systems

Figure 1: Picture of the commissioned system in Palo Alto, CA

The JCC project in Palo Alto, CA demonstrates the
unique advantage of Tigo Energy’s patented smart
module technology, which enables 30% longer
strings. The project saved over five cents per watt
on balance of systems costs by reducing the number
of strings required on the installation.

Figure 2: Trinasmart enables string lengths of 18 modules as
compared to 14 modules in 600V system configurations.

Lower Balance of Systems Costs
On the JCC project, ThinkNRG was able to take
advantage of the new capability of Tigo Energy’s
smart module technology, increasing string length
from the traditional 14 modules to 18 modules while
still remaining under 600 Volt safety norms.
By increasing the number of modules in a string
they were able to install 27 fewer strings, 3 less
combiner boxes, and 13,500 feet less wire. This
reduced significant material costs while also allowing
for a much quicker installation.
Table 1 shows that the installer was able to save
$0.05 per watt or nearly $21,500 by reducing the
number of strings on this array from 123 to 96.
This translates to a 25% reduction in total electrical
balance of systems costs.


Longer Strings
Tigo Energy’s smart module technology enables the
module manufacturer to program a hard-stop
voltage into their module. This means that the
module output will never exceed this programmed
number regardless of temperature or insolation.

This is represented on the module spec sheet,
replacing the Voc of the traditional module with
whatever number the OEM chooses to use and 0% is
used as the temperature coefficient.

This easily enables installers to put up to 18
modules in a 600V system or 30 modules in a 1000V
system while still being compliant with NEC 690.7

The Result
The project is expected to save the campus over
$1.5 million in energy savings over 20-years. The
installation successfully demonstrated the
advantages of Tigo Energy’s smart module
technology enabling up to 30% longer strings. The
balance of systems cost savings and the expected
3% additional energy the project is expected to
produce represented strong improvement in the IRR
expected by the system owner.

Table 1: Project Economics of JCC Installation 

Figure 3: Fewer strings means less combiner boxes, fuses, copper, and man-hours per installed kW


To view a pdf version of this case study use the file below.

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