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HERTZLIA, ISRAEL: SolarEdge Technologies, an innovative solar power harvesting start-up, announced the company’s highly anticipated PV energy harvesting system will be revealed for the first time at Intersolar Munich 2009, taking place from May 27-29.
Leading up to the conference, SolarEdge Chairman, CEO and Founder Guy Sellawill give a featured presentation on May 26 on the topic of“Breakthroughs in Distributed DC Architecture” at the PV Industry Forum.
While the solar industry has taken enormous strides to reduce the dollar per watt cost of PV-generated electric power through increased cell efficiency and other innovations, traditional PV installations still suffer from a broad range of limitations.
Centralized architecture and standard design constraints today cause power losses on average of 20 percent per solar field and lead to poor roof utilization, fire and maintenance safety issues, and ineffective panel theft prevention measures. In addition, current architectures do not enable the module and system-level monitoring for issue identification and performance tracking.
At Intersolar 2009, SolarEdge will introduce the first PV panel-integrated power harvesting system, which can be embedded in practically all types of solar panels available today. The module and system-level combined solution enable maximum power generation throughout the solar lifecycle while dramatically reducing complexities and costs. System owners enjoy significant power increases while installers are able to reduce installation costs and maximize roof utilization, all resulting in lower dollar per watt electrical power.
“We are very pleased to be working with leading companies in the market and are excited to finally show the industry our unique holistic approach,” said Guy Sella, chairman, CEO and founder of SolarEdge. “By addressing the problems that the industry has overlooked or considered unavoidable, SolarEdge reduces the lifetime cost of PV energy, thus making PV more affordable and paving a faster way to grid parity.”
Solar power harvesting provider SolarEdge announced the opening of a new European office to be located in Dresden, Germany. The Dresden office will provide sales and technical support for the company's solar power harvesting and monitoring systems and meet the growing demand for PV power harvesting systems to maximize power generation of each module throughout the solar life cycle. Currently, SolarEdge maintains offices in Herzelia, Israel; Palo Alto, California; and Tokyo, Japan.
According to Zvi Lando, SolarEdge's vice-president of sales, Germany has long played a pioneering role in the development of the European solar industry and has been an early adopter of SolarEdge’s breakthrough power harvesting technology.
“It is a natural fit for SolarEdge to open our European headquarters within the world’s largest PV market,” said Lando. “This location allows us to quickly and thoroughly execute an aggressive distribution strategy with dedicated support for customers and partners in key markets like Germany and throughout Europe--areas that are quickly realizing the dramatic potential to maximize power generation of PV sites with SolarEdge while reducing costs and complexities,” Lando also said SolarEdge has several key strategic alliances including one with Germany’s Schott and Gehrlicher.
A leader in the industry, SolarEdge's distributed power harvesting and monitoring system tackles common solar performance problems, such as lost electricity production from partial shading and other glitches in the electronic equipment that transports power between the panels.
The SolarEdge system sells at the cost of standard inverters, but also comes with a multitude of added benefits, including MPPT Circuit Per Panel (maximizes power harvesting and solves panel mismatch and partial shading power losses); Fixed String Voltage (ensures operation at the highest efficiency at all times, independent of string length and temperature, enabling constraint-free site design, full site space utilization, reduced installation time and maintenance costs); In-panel Electronics (improves safety for installers, electricians and firefighters); and Power-line Communication (offers a new level of system feedback and monitoring capabilities including module-level monitoring and theft prevention).
SolarEdgeis a provider of holistic PV power harvesting and monitoring solutions for maximum energy at a lower cost per watt. The company works with industry-leading partners to embed its active electronic solution directly into PV panels. Unlike centralized architectures that can not optimize the power of each panel, SolarEdge performs MPPT per panel while communicating across existing power lines for granular visibility and control. As a result, the SolarEdge systemic approach provides more power from any given installation, eliminates design constraints, provides complete visibility, solves all safety issues, and provides anti-theft, all while reducing the cost of energy.
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With a $23 million investment, SolarEdge takes PV systems to the next level of efficiency.
GE just invested in them. Now, Guy Sella, Founder, and CEO of Israeli company SolarEdge is planning a revolution. Don’t be alarmed though, this one isn’t dangerous. His goal is to transform the way photovoltaic systems are now operated, in terms of efficiency, safety and cost.
“People haven’t been looking at photovoltaic systems from a holistic point of view,” Sella tells ISRAEL21c. “Panel manufacturers care only about the panels and panel conversion efficiency. The people that develop classical inverters only care about the efficiency of the inverter. I asked: can we create a system that is better than we currently have?”
The answer, according to SolarEdge, is yes. The Herzliya-based has created “intelligent panels” that work together with a central PowerBox, which would replace the passive panels that are the current norm.These new panels provide 25 percent more energy as well as solutions to some of the serious problems that plague current systems.
No feedback, no function
Today’s photovoltaic systems have a number of major disadvantages, according to Sella. For instance, there is no feedback from individual panels. If a panel is broken or not functioning properly, there is no monitoring system to detect the problem.
“In fields today you have hundreds of thousands of panels,” says Sella. “Even if some of them are not working, they don’t have any monitoring level, so you as the field owner can’t know if they are working. After a big hailstorm, people habitually walk through the field with a notebook, visually checking each panel and writing down its condition.”
Another problem with having no monitoring system is that people can easily steal the panels, which are worth between $600 to $800 each. These antediluvian conditions would be abolished by SolarEdge’s technology.
Turning passive panels into intelligent devices
In current systems, all the panels in a photovoltaic system are connected to an inverter box, which in turn connects the system to the power grid. SolarEdge, however, has taken all the technology in the inverter box and put it into an electronic chip, or ASIC.
Each photovoltaic panel contains its own ASIC chip, turning each panel into an electronic device that can alert the owner both to its functionality and possible theft. The system will also be connected to the internet, so the owner can go online to check the status of each panel.
These intelligent panels also provide more energy than current photovoltaic panels. “The panel can now optimize its energy output, and can verify that it is converting the maximum energy that it has,” explains Sella.
An additional advantage is that the very different voltage system created by this technology is much safer, says Sella. Current systems use thousands of volts in their DC lines and are impossible to turn off, a serious hazard in cases of fire. The inability to shut off powerful voltages also makes these systems potentially dangerous to install.
With the SolarEdge system, the panel-embedded electronics can be shut down individually, either through the central power box or via the panel itself.
An excellent rate of growth
Confidence in SolarEdge is high. Founded in 2006, by Sella and co-founders Yoav Galin, Lior Handelsman, Meir Adest, and Amir Fishelov, who met in an elite technology unit of the Israel Defense Forces, the70-member company has raised $23 million in the past year, despite the poor economic climate.
It plans to start shipping products from mass production lines in Israel late this month.
“SolarEdge has partners all over the globe – in the US, Germany, Spain, France, and Japan,” explains Sella. “Through our partners, we have access to 40-50 percent of the world market, which is basically wherever there is solar energy.”
This market is in the range of $30-40 billion; and Sella estimates that the worth of his own product is somewhere in the region of $3 billion.
Not surprisingly then, Sella is optimistic about the solar energy market even in the current recession. “The growth rate of the solar energy market makes it interesting. I’m not aware of any market since bubble days that has had this level of growth rate,” he says.
Eventually, Sella predicts, “Solar energy will be cheaper than fuel cells, and energy harvested from photovoltaics will either be cheaper or the same as fossil fuels.”
SolarEdge Technologies, an innovative solar power harvesting provider, and Flextronics, a leading global EMS provider, announced thatSolarEdge has selected Flextronics as its global manufacturing partner for high-volume production of SolarEdge’s distributed PV power harvesting and monitoring systems.
The announcement came after six months of close collaboration between the two companies on preparing dedicated production lines located at Flextronics' factory for the mass production of SolarEdge systems at exceptional quality. Production has commenced during the previous quarter and is expected to reach an annual capacity of 200MW.
“As SolarEdge continues to rapidly scale to meet growing market demand, we are focused on forging first-rate partnerships that will support our promise of reliability and excellence to our customers,” said Guy Sella, chairman, CEO, and co-founder, SolarEdge. “Flextronics has an impressive global reach and a successful track record of quality manufacturing services for the solar industry. This partnership will help us more quickly answer customer needs for an effective solution to improve the performance of solar energy systems through panel optimized yield and monitoring.”
“We are very excited to join forces with an innovative company like SolarEdge that leads the way into affordable solar energy production at grid parity,” said E.C. Sykes, president, Flextronics’ Industrial Market Segment. “We are all set to deliver a quality product at mass volumes. Flextronics is prepared to leverage its global resources including production and logistics facilities in Mexico, Hungary, and China to support SolarEdge’s strategic future growth.”
SolarEdge provides holistic photovoltaic power harvesting and monitoring technology to maximize the energy output and cost efficiency of solar PV units. The company works with industry-leading partners such as BPSolar, Schott Solar, GE, Gehrlicher Solar, Isofoton, HaWi Energitechnik, and many others to embed its technology into photovoltaic panels to increase their power output by up to 25 percent and provide superior monitoring and control, without increasing costs.
Flextronics Solar Division provides core competencies in design, manufacturing, assembly, testing, and aftermarket services. These include expertise in markets such as semiconductor capital equipment, energy, and electro-mechanical equipment, PV component assembly, and balance of system (BOS) products. Flextronics solar partners benefit from its extensive global operations footprint, scalable regional manufacturing, and logistics solutions, and operational excellence leveraging Lean SixSigma and Flextronics best practices.
SolarEdge Technologies has introduced a new line of distributed solar power harvesting products. The company says the new units include the first commercially available modules with embedded power optimization; power optimizers for 350 W modules; and 8 kW, 12 kW, and 15 kW three-phase inverters that expand the current range of PowerBoxes and inverters.
SolarEdge PowerBoxes are power optimizers performing maximum power-point tracking and monitoring on a module level to enable constraint-free design, improved maintenance and safety, and up to 25%more energy from residential and commercial PV systems, according to the company. These PowerBoxes are now embedded directly into solar modules manufactured by SolarEdge partners.
In addition, the company range of Add-on PowerBoxes now supports modules of up to 350 W. AOB350 PowerBoxes are available from distributors worldwide, to be connected by installers and integrators to almost any crystalline silicon module.
A new L-shaped mounting bracket is also now available to support PowerBox mounting that is co-planar with the roof, in sloped roofs, and inbuilding-integrated photovoltaics applications.
These products and other new items will be formally introduced at Intersolar Europe next month.