Optimise your optimiser knowledge

July 2017

What can I use the three different optimisers (TS4 R M, TS4 R S and TS4 R O) for?

1. Module level Monitoring.
In combination with the communication kit, TS4-R-M optimisers can display Yield in Sunny Portal.

If you would like to see an example, go to www.SunnyPortal.com, click on Example PV systems and open SMA Power+ Solution. The page will open and below you will see the module level monitoring.

2. Module level shutdown.
In combination with the communication kit, the TS4-R-S optimisers can eliminate the voltage of any panel, so that no string voltage is present in the system. Operational monitoring is an added free bonus.

3. Optimisation for deviating panels.
Among the panels with a different production (for example, due to temporary shade or different orientation), a TS4-R-O optimiser can be added. If the yield of these panels is too low compared with the other panels, the optimiser will improve this panel by lowering the voltage, which increases the current. The DC optimiser is selectively deployed on those panels that will produce less, primarily in terms of power (shade, older panels, etc).
The communication kit is not required to enjoy this feature.

4. Optimisation for deviating panels (including monitoring/shutdown).
In combination with the communication kit, TS4-R-O optimisers can be deployed to improve deviating panels. The remaining panels can be equipped with the monitoring function (TS4-R-M) or with the shutdown feature (TS4-R-S). For the deviating panels, the TS4-R-O optimiser will also perform the monitoring and shutdown function.

How does optimisation work with TS4-R-O optimiser?

The TS4-R-O optimiser does not need communication to work. It will perform measurements itself to see if the panel yield can be improved. If improvement is possible, the optimiser will get the maximum yield from the panel and adjust it to the same (higher) current of the rest of the string. If it cannot improve the power because the panel is working optimally, the optimiser will not consume any unnecessary energy and switch itself off. Smart system!

How does shutdown work with the TS4-R-S (or TS4-R-O)?

An optimiser of type TS4-R-S (or TS4-R-O) is installed behind each solar panel. After initialising communication, the optimisers will transmit their yields and know if they can produce energy. When communication is switched off by removing the mains voltage, each optimiser will switch off the power of its panel.

How does monitoring work with the TS4-R-M (or TS4-R-S or TS4-R-O) optimiser?

An optimiser of type TS4-R-M (or TS4-R-S or TS4-R-O) is installed behind each solar panel. After initialising communication, the Gateway – which is also located on the roof – can wirelessly read the output of any optimiser. From the Gateway, there is an RS-485 cable to the Cloud Connect Advance, which is connected to the cloud, and thus the internet. Yield, voltage and current are shown on each panel. This visualisation can be viewed on the Sunny Portal web portal, alongside the other pages that show all the inverters’ functions.

What panels do I apply the TS4-R-O optimisation to?

The TS4-R-O optimiser is a buck converter that will reduce panel voltage to improve panel current when needed. Therefore, the optimiser is only used on those panels within a string where a reduced current is expected. Here are some examples:

 panels that are partially shaded ;

• panels with a different orientation ;

• mix of panels, in which case, you apply the optimiser on the panels with the lowest current (usually the older panels or panels with lower power)

 panels optimised in combination with monitoring: a combination of TS4-R-M (blue) monitoring optimiser and optimisation optimiser TS4-R-O (yellow).

Which panels can be equipped with optimisers?

The updated version of the TS4-R-O can reach up to 475W, within the limits of 75V and 12A. Almost any panel can be made smart.
On the datasheet you will find all parameters of the three optimiser types.

View datasheet

Which string inverters can work with optimisers?

All SMAinverters from our current portfolio can work together with Tigo optimisers. Sometimes there are design rules that impose limitations on the panel voltage. See Sunny Design for this and the overview in the Technical Information.

Can the TS4-R-O Tigo optimiser work together with the inverter’s shadow management system (OptiTrac Global Peak)?

Yes, testing has shown that it is not necessary to disable shade management in the SMA string inverter. OptiTrac Global Peak controls shade management on the whole string, the TS4-R-O optimisation optimiser manages the panel to which it is added.

What’s the difference between the TS4-R optimiser and a smart module with built-in Tigo TS4 optimiser?

The retrofit version of the optimiser (TS4-R-...) is sold through SMA and is also fully supported by SMA (calculations, training, monitoring, service). It can be added to any solar panel. Some panel manufacturers build the optimiser (TS4-...) directly onto their panel. The Monitoring, Shutdown, or Optimisation feature is the same as SMA’s TS4-R optimisers and, consequently, they can also be used together in a PV installation.

Where can I mount the TS4-R optimiser?

All optimisers are fitted with a bracket that is slid onto the panel frame. Due to the barbs, it is not necessary to use other fasteners. Usually, it is placed in the top right corner of the panel, but if cable length allows, the optimiser can also be placed in a different corner, or on the frame, etc.You can view the solar panel with optimiser as a smart panel that you can simply connect in the string.

Why does Sunny Design fit all panels with optimisers, while I only want to equip some of them with optimisers?

If you want to work with monitoring or shutdown, all panels will be provided with an optimiser. Gateway and Cloud Connect Advance will also be added to your design.If you want to work with optimisation only on certain panels, you can specify how many panels should be optimised. If multiple strings are connected to one MPP tracker, all panels will be optimised, otherwise the ideal voltage across the strings may differ.

An example of per-panel visualisation

On Sunny Portal, the SMA web portal, you can monitor a PV installation. If you apply the Power+ Solution (Tigo Optimisers + Communication Kit), you can also monitor each panel separately.Go to www.SunnyPortal.com and click on Example PV systems. These are active PV systems where you can view all monitoring pages. The SMA Power+ Solution & Storage system is also publicly accessible and shows you what per-panel monitoring looks like.

Where can the Tigo Gateway be mounted? Does it have to be on the roof?

If the customer wants to use the operation monitoring or shutdown function per panel, the Tigo Gateway will be placed in the centre of the solar panel field. You must ensure that the distance between the farthest optimiser and the gateway is sufficiently small so that they can communicate with each other wirelessly. We recommend a distance of up to 10–15 metres with an unobstructed view. If the roof structure allows enough signal to pass through, it is also possible to place the gateway under the roof. If obstructions are present, you can place multiple gateways so as to reach all optimisers.

Could I accidentally link my gateway to my neighbour’s optimisers?

No, the link between gateway and optimisers is established using unique barcodes.

How do I connect my Cloud Connect Advance to the internet?

The Cloud Connect Advance is equipped with an RJ45 port so you can connect to the router via an Ethernet cable. There is also a WLAN antenna available to transmit data wirelessly to the router.

Can I reuse an optimiser from a monitored system in a non-monitored system?

No, once an TS4-R-O optimiser has been connected to a Gateway, it will wait for the signal from this device before it will leave the Off mode and transmit voltage.