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Saturday 21st of July 2018. I’ve updated this blog, but have refrained from publishing it for legal reasons. You might want to come back and read it once it’s updated – which should be in a few days. But in the meantime, If you are not familiar with the product technically, have a read below. If you subscribe to the blog, I’ll send you an email as soon as it is updated.

The highly anticipated award-winning SolarEdge HD Wave inverter is now available. In part one of this post, I’ll explain solar panel optimisation and panel level shutdown; then I’ll explain why you may want to individually monitor every solar panel on your roof. In part two, I’ll look more specifically into SolarEdges’s new model. I’ll discuss my findings on the HD Wave efficiency claims, investigate the inverter’s operating temperature, and discuss a key component of the HD Wave: film capacitors.  Next, I’ll briefly cover Zigbee, a protocol they use for load control, and finally, I’ll discuss SolarEdge’s warranty.

Part One: Why SolarEdge?

SolarEdge is a huge player in today’s solar inverter market. Compared to their competitors, they are the new kids on the block. They only kicked off in 2006 with the first inverter sales in Australia in 2008. Today they are second only to SMA for the number residential inverters they are moving, and the way I read it, they are making bucketloads of cash, and are here for the long run. So what are they doing right?

It’s probably got something to do with their staff. While writing this post, I met with SolarEdge’s Country Manager Gavin Merchant and his technical marketing manager Adrian Hawke while they were in Brisbane. Both gents are infectiously passionate about SolarEdge although they approach the product from different mindsets. They corrected me several times on what might otherwise have been dodgy info on this blog. But SolarEdge is a whole lot bigger than Gavin and Adrian, so again, what are they doing so right?


To step back a bit, let’s look at one of the key components of any solar inverter: the Maximum Power Point Tracker (or MPPT). Standard string inverters have two MPPT’s. The panels on a house are divided into two groups (or strings) and connected to the two MPPT’s in the inverter. As the sun’s intensity changes throughout the day, the two MPPT’s will continually adjust the voltage and the current from the panels to achieve maximum power.

The problem with standard string inverters is that a string of panels works kind of like old school Christmas tree lights: if one panel is affected by shade or dirt, then all the panels in the string are affected. SolarEdge offers one solution to this problem. It takes the MPPT’s out of the inverter and effectively puts one MPPT (or optimiser) behind every panel.  So if one panel is shaded, it does not drag down the performance of the next.

SolarEdge is just one product that offers a solution to shade. The other contenders are Enphase (micro-inverters), Tigo, and the newcomer, Maxim. In my last post, I discussed how my test results showed Maxim outperformed SolarEdge in the shade. But what Maxim can’t do (at least not yet) is offer what SolarEdge does extremely well: panel level shutdown and panel level monitoring.

Panel Level Shutdown

I deliberately didn’t call this section “enhanced safety” or “SafeDC” as SolarEdge brand it, because that infers other solar systems are not safe. If solar systems are installed by electricians who follow today’s standards, your solar is arguably as safe as the rest of the electrical wiring in your home. The nature of electricity is that it is not 100 percent safe, but we can put measures in place to make it safer.

SolarEdge SafetySo Sunday BBQ lunch goes wrong, and suddenly your house is on fire. That’s bad. You run to your switchboard like a good boy scout and turn the main switch off.  Although your inverter turns off, your solar panels will still be pumping 600 volts potential through the solar cable in your roofspace. The firefighters are not amused as the solar cable arcs, and your roof potentially becomes live. It’s then that you realise you shoulda gone SolarEdge.

SolarEdge brings another level of safety. SolarEdge relies on communication between the inverter and the optimisers in order for it to operate. If the main switch is turned off, the inverter will turn off, and the optimised panels will produce a safe 1 volt each. This added level of safety may not be a be a major consideration for an individual purchase, but a collective higher level of safety in the solar industry is of huge importance. SolarEdge is raising the bar for safer solar systems. The rest of the industry will follow.

Panel Level Monitoring

SolarEdge panel level monitoring

SolarEdge Panel level monitoring

Every system we install today has an in-depth level of monitoring. With Fronius monitoring, we can see the DC voltage, DC current and power in individual strings. We can monitor AC voltage, AC current, power and even power factor in five-minute intervals. We can even see import/export power assuming a Fronius Smart Meter was installed. All this is historically recorded to infinitum assuming your inverter is online.

How much data can we possibly need from a solar system? I mean, it’s not like we’re sending it to Mars! Why would we possibly want to monitor individual panels? Get your nerd on – I’m going to give you four reasons.

i) To identify shading for tree growth and soiling,
ii) to identify panel degradation,
iii) to identify bypass diode failure, and,
iv) education. Because there is always more to learn about solar.

i) Identifying tree growth

SolarEdge shading SolarEdge works at it’s best on shaded roofs because shaded panels with optimisers will not affect the rest of the panels in that string. The problem is: as trees grow, the impact of that shade will increase. As this happens, you could jump on SolarEdge’s online monitoring platform and see the impact of this shading, and identify if it’s then worth the effort of getting out your sabre saw. Obviously, this only works if you are the type of person that would nerd it up and actually use this info.

To be the devil’s advocate, if you were that nerd, with a little more know-how, you could less specifically pick up shading issues with Fronius online monitoring, and jump up on your roof and have an educated guess about the offending branch. Let’s move on to the second and more compelling reason you might need panel level monitoring.

ii) Panel degradation

Liniear performance warrantyMost solar panels lose about 1% of their production per year, as shown in this “linear performance warranty” waste of space. But what if a few of your panels reduced their output to say 80% after five years? In your typical string system, it is extremely difficult to prove this, and your so-called “performance guarantee” isn’t really worth the paper it is written on. However, in theory, if one panel was running significantly worse than others on a SolarEdge system (assuming no shade or dirt) you should have enough information to go to the panel manufacturer to claim warranty.

In the past, I’ve not been too excited about individual panel monitoring, but I’m starting to think that this may be SolarEdge’s strongest hand. Assuming you purchase a decent panel with a warranty that covers parts and labour, and a manufacturer that actually honours their warranty without insurmountable conditions, then the ability to monitor the performance of panels individually may be invaluable in helping you identify a warranty case in years to come.

iii) Bypass diode failure

Solar panel Bypass Diode

Bybass diode

Bypass diodes are installed in solar panels to protect a panel against “hot spots”. If a panel (or a third of a panel) is shaded, it is “bypassed” instead of dragging down the production of the entire string of panels. However, bypass diodes can fail. If one does, it reduces the production of that panel by one-third.  This would be hard to pick it up with string system monitoring, but you can with SolarEdge’s individual panel monitoring. Although, it would require the user to keep their eye on the system performance and know the difference between a shaded panel and a failed panel. Again, in the years to come, panel level monitoring may help us detect a fault in your panel that could otherwise go unnoticed.

iv) Education

This is why I like individual panel monitoring: it helps me nerd it up. Last year, on one of our SolarEdge installs, we were supposed to relocate a TV antenna during the installation. Because of the age of the antenna, we asked a professional to install a new one. Something was lost in translation, and he never did the job. A month later we checked out the system online and noticed one panel had lost about 20 percent in production! Ooops! Obviously, we relocated the aerial immediately. Since then I have performed multiple tests to determine how SolarEdge performs in different situations. This knowledge helps us greatly in the design and installation of all kinds of systems.

SolarEdge has always had the advantages of optimisation, panel level shutdown, and individual panel monitoring over traditional unoptimised string systems. The New HD Wave was designed to lift the bar even higher. Let’s see if it has.

Part II – The revolutionary SolarEdge HD Wave

SolarEdge HD Wave specifications

In the early days, inverters used a heavy copper-wound transformer. Over the last ten years, inverters became “transformerless” which made them heaps lighter and more efficient. All inverter manufacturers today use SMA’s H5 Bridge technology – all except … the new SolarEdge inverter.
SolarEdge claims to have lifted the bar. They have replaced electrolytic capacitors with film capacitors and heavy magnetics with digital processing. There are three claims that SolarEdge makes that I’ll examine:

i) The HD Wave is more efficient.

ii) The HD Wave produces less heat and requires less cooling

iii) Film capacitors last longer than electrolytic capacitors.

i) Efficiency

Of course, I wasn’t going to take SolarEdge’s word that the HD Wave was more efficient, so earlier this year I gave Gavin Merchant, the Country Manager of SolarEdge a call to hit him up for an early HD Wave to test out. Gavin generously sent me his functional display HD Wave – one of only two in the country. I shuffled around the panels on my warehouse and set up this comparative test.

HD wave performance test

Maxim optimiser performance test

  • As an early control, I removed the external optimisers and ran both systems on two separate Fronius inverters. The panels were working identically.
  • Both the Fronius 3kW and the SolarEdge 2.5kW inverters use the same components as their respective 5kW models, so the comparison was fair.
  • Because the test was run during the winter months, we never saw clipping of the inverters. Monitoring was via Solar Analytics.
  • I refer to my previous blog where compared a Fronius 5kW vs a Solaredge 5kW in unshaded conditions. My tests showed that “over a 7 day period, SolarEdge and Maxim / Fronius were performing almost identically.”

The earth-shattering HD Wave test results

Over a 3 week period, the new SolarEdge HD wave performed about 1.5 percent better than the earlier model SolarEdge and the Fronius inverter!

SolarEdge VS Fronius comparison

Interestingly, SolarEdge generally only outperformed when production was low. It’s at the times you produce less, that you are more likely to self-consume solar power. The 1.5 percent performance increase could save you up to $40 dollars a year on a 6.5kW system. If you compared that to un-optimised systems and accounted for future mismatch and soiling (not to mention shading), then that figure can only increase.

ii) Less heat requires less cooling

I presumed that if the SolarEdge inverter produced less heat, it meant it would run cooler. It was EOFYS while I was writing this blog so I used the need to test this presumption as justification to buy a thermal imaging camera. Because the taxman was going halvesies on my new toy, I went all-out and bought a FLIR E8.

I repositioned my test wall so I had both my HD Wave and Fronius sitting at the same height.
This is what I measured.

Thermal testing the HD Wave

HD WAVE cover off

Thermal testing Fronius

FRONIUS cover off

Thermal image of Fraonius

FRONIUS cover on

Because the SolarEdge inverter requires less magnetics, it produces less heat, so it doesn’t need to do as much to dissipate that heat. This allowed them to put it all in a smaller enclosure and leave out the fan.

As you can easily see Fronius produces more heat, however, an internal fan expels the heat on top.

But which one actually runs cooler? Umm, yeah, well… While learning to use the thermal camera I learnt about a word called “emissivity”. When measuring the temperature metallic cap of a capacitor, I need to set a different setting for when I am reading a resin coating of a coil, and so on. That neighbours impossible. Bugger. So, I pulled out my old $50 aircon thermometer and used high-tech sticky tape to attach the probe above the capacitors. I put the lid back on and waited for them to warm up.

Apples for Apples

It didn’t work out well for SolarEdge. My results show the 2.5kW SolarEdge was running significantly hotter than the 3kW Fronius. But was this apples for apples? I knew the Fronius 3kW was the same build as the Fronius 5kW. From reading the SolarEdge HD Wave specifications, it seemed the SolarEdge 3 and 5 were also the same. However literally minutes before I intended posting this blog I received our first shipment of 5kW HD Wave inverters. I opened one to double check. The 5kW HD Wave has a much bigger heat-sink! (The HD Wave specifications/ data sheet doesn’t reflect that it is heavier). Rookie mistake.

The next morning I swapped both inverters for their 5kW models and tested again. I heated the room with the aircon and a couple of jaffle makers. NASA would be proud.

The test results were as follow:

At 2300 watts and 30 degrees ambient, SolarEdge ran a few degrees cooler than Fronius. It appears SolarEdge does run cooler internally, at least at half capacity. Surprisingly the “lower heat dissipation” claim of SolarEdge does seem to stack up.

Notice I didn’t run this test on a 40-degree ambient temperature at 5000W of production. On these days, all three of the Fronius fans would be cranking and would be more efficient at cooling. However, presumably, it would also be generating comparatively more heat.

The thermal image camera showed the heat dissipation remained the same, and although the test period was short, the 1.5 percent increase in production seemed to remain accurate.

iii) Film Capacitors last longer than Electrolytic capacitors

Are film capacitors actually better than their electrolytic cousins? SolarEdge have claimed electrolytics only last an average of 10 years, and by using film capacitors they significantly increase the expected life of the inverter. I consulted leading inverter manufacturers.

An anonymous comment from a well-respected figure was pertinent:

If correctly specified and chosen, and an inverter’s internal heat dissipation properly designed and tested, electrolytic capacitors have no problem to continue to operate for a product design life of 20-25 years. But the same is of course true for ANY component within an inverter.

I called my mate Andy from Sungrow. Sungrow is a quality but more affordable Chinese built inverter.

We design our electrolytics to last 15 to 20 years, tested at 50 degrees celsius. It is true though, that the 2 weak points on inverters are the electrolytics and the internal fans.

Joseph from ABB replied:

ABB have had power conversion devices which have been installed and are still running 25 years into their life. These devices … use extremely similar technology to solar inverters and tend to have an even more demanding load as they work 24 hours a day rather than only when the sun is shining.

Many products have been proven to last 20-25 years using electrolytic capacitors. The biggest factor is that the device is designed correctly to utilise the chosen capacitor type. The only advantage I can think of for remaining electrolytic free, is for the products to have a longer shelf life …

I didn’t need to ask Fronius because a few months ago they took me on a tour of their R&D facility in Austria. So I’ll quote my good, eloquent and uncensored self:

Fronius has had an inverter on accelerated testing in their labs for 18 months. I can’t exactly remember what they said that accelerated time equates to, but it embarresed the figure “25 years”. The idea that electrolytics only last for ten years is total bulI$h1+.

Thanks for your input M.C.
SolarEdge has a point that internal fans and electrolytic capacitors are a weak point in inverters, but I think a 20 year+ design life on electrolytics is fairly acceptable.

Zigbee Load Control

Load control is the ability to run an appliance automatically with excess solar power. Instead of heating your hot water from the grid and paying 28 c/kWh, you could heat your hot water with the solar that you would have otherwise sent back to the grid for 10c/kWh. Simple, affordable and reliable load control is, in my opinion, the most important “feature” of any inverter.

SolarEdge is handling load control in an interesting way. The are using a wireless communication network called ZigBee. At the time of writing, we cannot use both Wifi and Zigbee, and the hot water controller is not yet released. It’s a huge topic, so once the Zigbee is tweaked and I’ve have had a chance to play around with it, I’ll post another review.

The ugly inbuilt DC Isolator

The reality

The dream

The version of the HD wave that was on display at Intersolar in Germany looked small and schmicko. Australia, however, has this stupid regulation about inbuilt DC isolators that made SolarEdge feel obliged to favour function over form.

To match Fronius, their biggest rival, the Australian edition of the HD Wave added an enclosure below the inverter to house a DC isolator. The isolator works fine and I’m not doubting that it is ‘fit for purpose’. It just feels flimsy. You get the vibe that the engineers snuck it past the design department to get it to market in a hurry. To be honest, I’m not convinced it was necessary. I might have preferred a more competitively priced inverter without an inbuilt isolator. It certainly would have looked better.

At least they kept the display screen. Many inverter manufacturers are moving away from display screens and are forcing Grandpa Technophobe to keep his inverter online if he wants to monitor basic inverter production.


Earlier this year I was asked to give a short presentation about “Solar Optimisation” at Fronius International in Austria. I’ve never had an issue with SolarEdge inverters, but during the presentation, I raised the point that I have had 7 SolarEdge optimisers fail out of only 55 SolarEdge systems we have installed. In that room full of Fronius love, the lads unexpectedly defended the Fronius rival saying their experience of SolarEdge optimisers was one of reliability. Recently I called one of those gentlemen to get clarity on his position.

Rohan is the residential manager for Infinite Energy, a huge and reputable solar company based in Perth. They have installed over a megawatt of solar using SolarEdge, which is a truckload, or actually about six truckloads of panels. Rohan tells me their failure rate for embedded optimisers is .00212 percent. If you multiply that by six truckloads of panels, it adds up to just a little bit more than zero failures.

To balance this, not all companies have always found SolarEdge’s warranty process a walk in the park.
I’m keen to hear installer experiences, both good and bad in the comments below.


The SolarEdge warranty document reveals their own confidence in their product – kind of.

  • 25-year warranty on optimisers.
  • 12 years on the inverter
  • 5-years on the Zigbee and WiFi and the SolarEdge Meter.
  • It’s a limited warranty, and when you read the warranty document this means they pay for the replacement product or parts, but not labour.

However, SolarEdge has a labour reimbursement programme that would cover the cost (but not really any profit) for certified SolarEdge installers. I’d just like to see that reflected in their SolarEdge-warranty document.


SolarEdge is a financially stable company with a unique product. Optimisation will allow your panels to perform at their maximum, particularly in shaded conditions. SolarEdge offers an increased level of safety in case of a fire. More importantly, the production of individual panels can be monitored which may help identify a future panel warranty claim.

The new HD Wave is a redesigned inverter that I found operates 1.5% more efficiently than its predecessor. The inverter does not produce as much heat as a Fronius inverter. In my tests, although it did not dissipate the heat, the 5kW SolarEdge ran cooler internally than the Fronius even without the use of internal fans. SolarEdge believes they have solved a significant problem by replacing electrolytic with film capacitors. However, the industry does not entirely agree this problem needed to be solved. SolarEdge seems to be more reliable than my relatively limited experience. While it would be good to see the warranty document changed for it to reflect the SolarEdge’s labour reimbursement programme, you can’t help but be impressed with the duration of their warranty.

After my mixed review, I hope SolarEdge still considers me a friend.

Mark Cavanagh

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27 Comments on SolarEdge HD wave review

Mark C said :administrator Report a week ago

Hi Teanjai, I have a gen24 blog and youtube that explains what you are talking about.

    Teanjai said :Guest Report 2 weeks ago

    Hi Mark We read your review on SolarEdge and appreciate your sincere review. A sale man was trying to persuade to SolarEdge but I do not allow. I am planning to get solar panels and Pronius GEN 24 inverters on tracker because it said in the web that it will not need a battery when the sun is shining if there is a power outage. Hope I do not need to buy the battery now and if it work without battery, I would buy it if the price is not high way robbery. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you.

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    Simon said :Guest Report 10 months ago

    Hey, thanks for the info. We recently had a HD Wave Genesis inverter installed, Seems to be very very similar to the HD Wave.. with one major difference. - you can only get access to the optimizer data if you pay more money (nearly $300) to Solar Edge for access to their “Genesis Enhancement Pack” Pretty disappointed they are locking my data behind a paid platform.

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    Mark C said :administrator Report 4 years ago

    Hi James. Thanks for going solar with us! I might be the wrong person to ask because I avoid insurance policies as much as I can. The solar world will be a different place in 12 years. I'd hang on to the money if I were you! (as it turns out I'm replying to you from a back of a cab on the way to SolarEdge in Tel Aviv, Israel :)

      James said :Guest Report 4 years ago

      Mark, I see that Solar Edge offers an extended warranty up to 20 years for an additional Price. Do you think it worth purchasing? Recently installed the SE Inverter through your firm.

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      Mark C said :administrator Report 4 years ago

      Hi Mark, No, the inverter approved in Australia comes approved with the inbuilt isolator, and we wouldn't be able to modify it. There is a version of the inverter without an isolator, and we could supply our own isolator, but unfortunately, SolarEdge has not had that version approved in Australia.

        Mark F said :Guest Report 4 years ago

        Hi Mark, you mention the ugly inbuilt DC isolater.... If you were to install the inverter ABOVE an electrical meter box - would it be possible to install the top half of the inverter (the good looking component) above an electricity meter box and then hide the bottom half of the inverter (the 'ugly component') inside the meter box? Also, do you have any reference to the height regulations that inverters must be installed at? Thanks in advance.

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        Mark C said :administrator Report 4 years ago

        Hi Paul, around $2000.

          Ben Neville said :administrator Report 4 years ago

          Hi MCube, The P300 is a type of optimiser, and the SE500H is the product code for a 5kW SolarEdge HD Wave inverter. You would need both for a SolarEdge installation. What type of Jinko panel are you looking to get installed?

            Paul said :Guest Report 4 years ago

            How much does the SolarEdge 5kw converter cost? I only ask as I may need to replace my converter

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            Mcube said :Guest Report 4 years ago

            Hi Mark, Thanks for the review. Currently, trying to understand whats the difference between Solar Edge p300 and SE5000H? Which version would you choose for 24 Jinko panels? Cheers!

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            Geoff said :Guest Report 4 years ago

            Our new solar system with a Solar Edge SE5000H inverter failed on the third day. Wiped out some tv channels, amateur radio, and stopped altogether after another few days to produce any power. Installer Metro Solar has told us it will be a week before the inverter will be replaced. It has to come from Sydney. Not happy!!

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            Mark C said :administrator Report 4 years ago

            HI CP, I would go with the HD wave. He is correct that you don't need a 3 phase inverter with NET metering. The HD Wave is the later technology and is more efficient. Mark

              Mark C said :administrator Report 4 years ago

              Hi TheG. Not sure what you mean by cheaper versions. The HD Wave looks a bit flimsy and not so elegant sitting next to a Fronius Primo. It's DC Isolator looks like an afterthought for the Australian market. But it performs well in my testing, and we haven't had any reliabilities with the inverters themselves.

                TheG said :Guest Report 4 years ago

                Mark, how does the relays in the new HD wave inverter look ? I heard they were cheaper versions?

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                Cp said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                I have 3 phase power and my installer recommended installing single phase inverter SE5000H (HD Wave) instead of 3 phase SE5000. Said that the net metering would take care of feeding into one phase. Cost is the same so which one would you suggest that I go with?

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                Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

                Hi Steven. Tigo is a great optimiser if you don't want to monitor individual panels. SolarEdge has a much more integrated panel level monitoring setup. THe ability to monitor individual panels will be a huge benefit in years to come as panels potentially begin to degrade. We mainly only use Tigo now where only a few panels are in the shade, and we can "selectively deploy" Tigo optimisers on several panels only. This is cheaper than using SolarEdge. .... .... .... .... SolaioEdge has had reliability issues in the past, but it seems with their later generations reliability has increased. In reality, we will find out in the next ten years I guess!

                  Stephen said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                  Hi Mark, How does Solaredge optimizer compare with Tigo optimizer? Heard that there are some issues with Solaredge Optimizer recently.

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                  Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

                  Hi Steve, yes it is just as easy to add more panels with SolarEdge (because you don't need to have even strings). Yes, you will need the SolarEdge "Modbus Meter" if you want to see consumption monitoring. Without it you will only be able to see what your inverter produces on the SolarEdge's monitoring platform. (btw, Solar.web and "smart meter" is the Fronius names). Currently, you cannot use wifi and Zigbee load control at the same time. So either you hardwire your router connection or don't use the features of Zigbee. If you really want to use Zigbee don't want to run the LAN cable, you'll have to wait for the upgraded HD Wave - possibly by the end of the year. Hope that all makes sense!

                    Steve said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                    Hi Mark Appreciate your response - very useful. Just a couple of questions. I know that with enphase micro-inverters it's easy to add more panels, is it possible to add more panels with Solaredge & power optimised panel installations? or is it a major effort? Is a Solaredge smart meter also required with HD Wave inverter. I understand the zigbee->wifi would be needed to access a router to reach solar.web. Just trying to sort out the end to end tech requirements and optional aspects. Steve

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                    Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

                    Hi Steve. I'm really liking the new HD Wave. It's better than the previous model, which was also a good inverter. External optimizer is the better option, especially because you get to choose the panel.The REC 290 is a good option. It will be more expensive to use an external optimizer, so I guess the question may be how much better is the external optimizer with REC. That's our own thought in our sales process at the moment. I'd say it's worth paying $500 more for REC, but may not be worth $1000 more. That's obviously totally subjective! Either way is a good choice! Make sure you do a background check of the company you are choosing! Seach "Background" at the top right hand of this page.

                      Steve said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                      Hi Mark I'm interested in SolarEdge & whether you believe the new HD Wave is a better solution for a residential system than the older model?. Also if you believe a panel with the integrated optimisers say CS, would be better than a panel with an external p300 optimiser? I'm considering either the RECTwinPeak2 290 with external v the Canadian 275 integrated and we'll add battery in 2-3 years. Any thoughts ? Thanks

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                      Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

                      Hi Greg, the optimisers we had fail were embedded on Jinko panels. I'd be inclined to blame Jinko - I have no trust in their panel these days. The Fronius no doubt runs louder when the two external fans kick in. We tell customers not to install it near their home office etc. Mark

                        Gregg said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                        Mark, I love your blog posts. I find it refreshing that you share your experience in testing products with the world rather than squirreling away the info. I am from the USA, but am planning to install solar next year with battery backup. I am interested in knowing what model of Solaredge optimizer went bad in your installations. Comment about heat measurement. Solaredge, by not having a fan, got rid of a reliability weakness. I suspect in order to not have a problem with the electrolytic capacitors at the higher heat levels due to less airflow, they moved to film capacitors which are more stable at temperature extremes. Film capacitors are also more efficient (meaning less internal resistance) So the other inverter manufacturers have added fans to dissipate the heat where Solaredge made the design more tolerant to extremes in heat along with generating less heat in the first place. I like the idea of no fan because it should run quieter. It would be interesting to have a measurement of sound level when both inverters are running with panels in full sun and power drawing near the rated load. Again, Love the blog posts.

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                        Mark Stevens said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                        Good idea. You should point that thermal image camera at the J-boxes when a bypass diode is activated. That reminds me, the other benefit of SolarEdge is the optimisers can prevent a bypass diode from activating in the first place. The first two examples in this SolarEdge whitepaper explain how -

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                        Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

                        Interesting, thanks for that Mark! I'm starting some stress testing of panels next week (to help justify that camera). That's given me a fun idea :)

                          Mark Stevens said :Guest Report 5 years ago

                          "However, bypass diodes can fail. If one does, it reduces the production of that panel by one-third. This would be hard to pick it up with string system monitoring, but you can with SolarEdge’s individual panel monitoring." Correct. If the bypass diode fails shorted, that 1/3rd of the panel is down for good. Without panel-level monitoring, that would probably go unnoticed. Another scenario would be if the bypass diode fails open. This would leave the shaded cells vulnerable to a hotspot that could burn through the backsheet... which could also go unnoticed. An excerpt from a Sunpower whitepaper... "Further, an activated diode runs at an elevated temperature reducing the remaining life of the diode... Depending on how a diode fails, it can either permanently remove a substring from that module’s production or allow a shaded cell to run in reverse bias unmitigated... generally causing backsheet damage."

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