For a power electronics supplier like SolarEdge, moving into the ruthlessly competitive solar module game was no small move. But by providing the PV panel with power optimizer pre-installed, it allows installers to decrease installation time and cost – while continuing to deliver the proven advantages like module-level monitoring and access via the SolarEdge App.
“I’ve been installing solar for many years now and we have been big supporters of SolarEdge,” explains SEA Solutions’ Joe Harvey. He, along with his business partner have been operating the installation company for three years, having previously carried out solar installations for five years before that, on a contract basis. “Having installed many other different brands, I’ve found the product and service really good.”
Harvey says the major benefits of the SolarEdge smart panel are that everything is covered by the one warranty, and the speed of installation. “For us, being a small, family business, I do all the installations and quoting and where I can do quick installation it gives me time for more quotes in the afternoon and [attend to the] running the operation of the business.”
SolarEdge officially launched its smart panels to the Australian solar market in July. Previously it had supplied the new modules to a select group of Australian installers, including SEA Solutions. The modules deploy a mono PERC cell technology, with five busbar interconnection. In a 60-cell configuration, the module has a power output of between 300–310 Wp. The modules are covered by a 15-year product warranty and are suitable for string lengths of between eight and 25 modules, for a residential system.
SEA’s Harvey says that the quick installation is a plus for him and his business. He adds that the SolarEdge App is a “extremely popular” with his customers. “It’s the drawcard for a lot of our customers when they are choosing the SolarEdge product,” says Harvey. “Solar is a big investment for people and to be able to monitor it, to know that you’re product is working, is important.”
Harvey relates that hailstorms over the past year have highlighted the value of module-level monitoring. “We can monitor and can actually tell who has been hit by hail due to the panel level monitoring,” he says. “It delivers peace of mind to customers.”
Along with the SolarEdge smart panel, the Israel-headquartered company introduced its EV charging single-phase inverter to the Australian market in 2019. The EV charging solar inverter will become available in Q4/2019.
The solar inverter comes with an integrated EV charger, allowing an EV to be charged simultaneously by rooftop PV and grid electricity. This, says SolarEdge, makes for up to four times faster EV charging than a conventional system. Along with speed, tapping the solar output to power the EV also reduces electricity costs and reduces charging-related carbon emissions.
SolarEdge reports that the EV charging solar inverter and smart panel is a part of the company’s “one-vendor smart solar energy residential offering” – which also includes its storage solutions, StorEdge and its “smart energy suite.”
“Being under the same umbrella is actually really good,” says SEA’s Harvey. “Selling the one product all covered by SolarEdge makes sense.”