Unknown Israel-based solar start-up SolarEdge
has emerged from the shadows this week with the news that it has signed a major technology partnership with BP Solar
designed to accelerate the rollout of its new PV panel optimisation system.
The company’s technology is designed to replace the central inverters that typically serve a string of solar panels in an array – an approach that has been labelled as "outdated" by experts who claim that using a single inverter to turn AC into DC power allows the worst-performing solar module to reduce energy outputs for the whole array.
SolarEdge’s technology, which is scheduled for launched before the end of this year 2009, seeks to tackle this problem using software and semiconductors designed to monitor output from each module and boost voltages where required to optimise outputs.
According to the company’s estimates, the system can improve the energy efficiency of both domestic and commercial solar arrays by between 15 and 20 per cent, at no extra cost compared to traditional inverters.
The company added that the use of tracking software means it can also remotely detect when a panel has been broken or stolen.
Under the terms of the deal with BP, the two companies will work together to integrate SolarEdge’s technology into BP Solar’s modules.
Chief technology officer for BP Solar, Eric Daniels, said that the two firms were already testing the system to emulate 25 years of volatile solar field conditions, adding that he and his team had been "impressed with the initial performance and reliability tests of SolarEdge’s solution".
The two companies also announced that they had secured an undisclosed amount of funding from both the US and Israeli governments to jointly develop and test the new technology.
This article was published at 17:21 Mon 01 June 2009.