The optimal performance of rooftop array impacted by partial or full shading is no longer the sole domain of power optimizers or microinverters, claims SMA. Its new ShadeFix feature, which is applicable to all “updateable” SMA inverters by way of a firmware update, allows arrays to cope with partial or full module shading.
Interestingly, the German inverter giant claims that the ShadeFix feature allows rooftop solar systems to perform better than those equipped with optimizers over the lifetime of the system – by virtue of superior performance in periods in which there is no shading. While optimizers will incur power losses when unshaded, due to their inherent operational characteristics, SMA string inverters do not.
“SMA’s intelligent ShadeFix shade management is already integrated into SMA solar inverters,” says SMA Australia MD Michael Rutt. “Additional installations as with conventional power optimizers are not necessary. The system responds effectively to shading.”
SMA says that its ShadeFix intelligent MPP tracking reliably finds the optimal operating point of the rooftop solar system in the event of shading. By contrast, less advanced inverters will scan only in the range of either the local MPP (LMPP) or the global MPP (GMPP). The difference, SMA says, that alternative MPPs that occur due to the partial shading are missed.
According to Rutt: “ShadeFix increases the energy yield of your PV system under typical shading conditions. This makes SMA ShadeFix the most efficient solution for increasing the power of shaded solar panels in the most common cases.”
The SMA ShadeFix is an extension of OptiTrac Global Peak function and the company says that it represents the ongoing evolution of its soft-and-hardware solutions. That it is available without the hassle of optimizer installation is an additional windfall for installers.
ShadeFix is activated by default in our inverters and needs no further effort by the installer. It comes at no additional cost – representing SMA’s ongoing commitment to deliver value to its partners, without impacting on the payback period for a homeowner’s rooftop solar.