How do Tigo Optimizers Work?
Predictive IV uses module behavior statistics in conjunction with Impedance Matching to predict the optimum settings for a module to generate its maximum energy. Performance parameters are set locally, which enables real-time response to changing site conditions for the highest operational efficiency. This feature is part of the TS4 MLPE platform and is found on the TS4-O (Optimization)
Predictive IV technology also allows for selective deployment of optimization. TS4-based modules can be selectively placed as needed to utilize more than one feature set within the same PV array. For example, it allows for optimizers to be placed only where modules are shaded, providing a performance boost at a lower cost than full deployment.
The image below shows the output of a string with a single shaded module (measured with an AC meter), both with and without selective deployment. In this example, 18.5% of lost energy was recovered.
Measurements of selective placement experiment, taken by an AC meter. Greater energy yield with PIV is highly noticeable.
Impedance matching can be understood with the help of a loose analogy to a water pipe composed of sections of varying diameters. Modules with higher generating capacity, such as the one on the left (150 watts), are like pipe sections with a large diameter; the center module, operating at only 50 watts (caused by shading), represents a narrower pipe.
A 50W module will produce less current than a 150W module
Connecting modules of varying output in a string is analogous to connecting pipe segments of different diameters— the narrow sections will affect how water flows through the entire structure. Similarly, modules with low generating capacity bring down the efficiency of the entire array. The flow of current through lower-generating modules is impaired in two crucial ways:
- The weaker module will handle a higher current, thus resulting in heat dissipation.
- The weaker module will start to leak, further decreasing the overall power output of the string.
Tigo's Impedance Matching technology solves the problems caused by panel mismatch. Tigo’s patented approach creates a parallel path for current to flow around weak panels, enabling optimal energy flow. This bypass tunnel maintains the optimal flow of energy throughout the string.
Illustration of bypass tunnel in action
For modules equipped with TS4 junction boxes, or the TS4-A-O, optimization calculations are performed at each module.
For add-on models (ES, and 2ES series) and the 1st generation smart modules, the Cloud Connect or MMU is needed to assist with the sophisticated analysis algorithm that results in each optimizer applying the ideal Impedance Matching Factor (IMF) to ensure the best performance in the array.
All Optimizer data received by the CCA are stored and used by Tigo to constantly improve and increase performance. The CCA can also be used as a data logger for 3rd party devices, such as inverters, AC meters, and weather instrumentation.
For further reading, refer to our Optimization whitepaper below.