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Energy Management and storage solutions: Solar interview with Lior Handelsman

Mr. Lior Handelsman is managing SolarEdge’s marketing activities as well as the company’s product management, future product definition and positioning. Furthermore, Mr. Handelsman is responsible for the company's business development activities. In this solar interview he explains the functioning and advantages of the company’s Energy Management and storage solutions.


1. SolarEdge presented a new smart energy management solution at the Intersolar Europe. What does that mean for the installer and for end customers?

Lior Handelsman: Grid electricity prices are constantly on the rise. This is a motivation to install large PV systems that allow owners to minimize consumption from the grid during the day. However, in some countries local regulations limit the amount of PV power that can be fed-in to the grid or do not allow any feed-in whatsoever, while allowing the use of PV power for self-consumption. Therefore, without an energy management system, PV systems cannot be installed (if no feed-in is permitted) or are limited in size (if feed-in is limited to >0W limit). As a specific example, SolarEdge's Smart Energy Management solution will increase the profit of PV systems that need to meet the German regulation for 70% feed-in limit.


2. How does the new feed-in limitation feature that is integrated into the SolarEdge inverter firmware increase the potential of PV self-consumption?

The SolarEdge Smart Energy Management feature allows for increased self-consumption. The solution offers a feed-in limitation option, integrated into the SolarEdge inverter firmware, which dynamically adjusts PV power production according to the grid requirements. This allows system owners to install larger PV systems in order to meet their consumption needs without needing to add complex or expensive hardware.


3. The storage solution StorEdge™ shall be available later this year. What are the distinctive features of this storage solution?

Using real-time energy monitoring, the SolarEdge Smart Energy Management is an end-to-end solution for self-consumption providing 24/7 optimization of PV energy to minimize electricity costs. The SolarEdge Smart Energy Management solution dynamically controls PV energy according to rapid consumption feedback and pre-set grid limitations. Any energy that is not instantaneously used can be stored in SolarEdge’s StorEdge™ battery system for future use.

·   The StorEdge™ solution performs battery-level optimization. Each battery has an individual charge controller ensuring optimal charge/discharge which increases effective capacity and lifetime.

·   The optimizer's battery pack operates similar to a regular SolarEdge PV string. This eliminates losses, risk, and costs associated with high currents.

·   With plug and play design, it is simple to increase capacity by adding packs in parallel. There is no need for sizing or system redesign.

·   The pack can be installed at the same time as the PV system or added at a later stage

4. What are the advantages of power optimization in the PV self-consumption market and which developments do you expect in the European and the global markets?

Power optimization systems allow users to increase their self-consumption by producing more energy from a PV system and in addition by  installing larger systems while complying with the grid feed-in limitation. SolarEdge's storage solution, based on an optimized battery pack, uses the same optimization technology that is widely-deployed and field-proven in our DC-DC power optimizers. This provides for:

·   Longer battery lifetime: Optimizing depth of discharge per battery

·   More Capacity: Extends effective battery capacity by mitigating battery mismatch

·   Fault Tolerance: If one battery malfunctions, the others provide additional power to compensate

·   Serviceable:

o      Easy pack maintenance in case of battery malfunction

o      Added/replaced batteries can be of different sizes/types than the original

In addition, the fixed voltage allowed by SolarEdge power optimizers enables the connection of PV modules on the same inverter DC input as the batteries, making this a highly efficient and cost-effective solution utilizing a single inverter for both functions.

In regards to the future of the global and European markets, SolarEdge expects to see increased feed in limitation regulations as the PV market matures. This in turn will create a higher demand for energy storage solutions. This will further increase the demand for module-level electronics that create smart PV systems.

Other trends that we are noticing are the importance of improving energy production and increased safety. As subsidies are decreasing, the financials of the PV systems need to be more competitive - more energy needs to be produced with decreased costs.

The SolarEdge solution decreases the BoS cost by allowing longer strings while increasing energy output, through improving system uptime and eliminating power losses due to module level mismatch.

In terms of safety, we are seeing a number of new safety regulations being passed to protect installers, maintenance personnel, and firefighters. For example the  VDE-AR-E 2100-712 in Germany and the rapid shutdown requirement of NEC 2014 690.12 (1) through (4) in the United States. These new regulations, while important, can create require costly solutions and upgrades.

The SolarEdge SafeDCTM solution meets the most advanced regulations. The solution is an integrated feature in SolarEdge system and therefore does not require additional, costly PV hardware. The system works by shutting down DC current, as well as voltage in module and string wires, when the inverter is turned off or in safety mode.