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  • Replace single optimiser? worth it?

    Hiya, newbie here, need some advice
    I have a failed solar edge power optimiser, the system is 7 years old.
    Solar edge have remotely diagnosed that a replacement is required and will cover the part under warranty (about £50-£60) but say they don’t cover labour.
    I have an insurance policy which covers faulty workmanship but currently I only have evidence of a faulty part. So it seems labour costs are down to me. I have a few questions
    I have seen elsewhere that SE sometimes do pay labour (not sure about scaffolding) although the warranty seems to be clearly parts only. I have no installer to help me as mine went bust. Anyone know under what circs they pay? or should I forget it?

    The cost of labour and scaffolding seems prohibitive to me for 1/12th of the generation. I am wondering if it’s best to just do nothing and wait until something else fails before paying for scaffolding. Are there any downsides to doing nothing that I’m overlooking? It’s 7 years old so chances are in the next 5-10 years something else would go wrong.
    Anything else I’ve overlooked?

    Many thanks in advance

  • #2
    This situation involving the poor serviceability and less than advertised reliability of under array electronics is why I recommend against these types of systems... I suggest sir, that you get yourself set up with whatever equipment is needed to work on your array as you will have an ongoing need to service these optimizer units.
    BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >3000kW installed

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    • #3
      Thanks for you comment, but there is no way I will be getting set up either to go out on a 2nd Storey roof or to play with DC.

      I will not be getting this fixed until other problems warrant the cost of scaffolding.
      Last edited by lisyloo; 04-09-2021, 08:46 AM.

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      • #4
        Welcome to the dirty little (semi) secret of optimizers - labor isn't usually covered under warranty, and getting at an optimizer or a microinverter on a panel in the middle of an array can be involved. That's the kind of thing that is a consequence of violation of the KISS principle.

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        • #5
          Just because the optimizer failed does not mean the panel is not producing.
          Normally when these fail, only the reporting and or the optimization fails, but the panel still produces like if there was no optimizer.

          So unless you have a lot of shade issue hitting that panel, you will likely not suffer any loss of production because of it.
          But your reporting will be off by that one panel if it is no longer reporting its production

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          • #6
            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
            .........That's the kind of thing that is a consequence of violation of the KISS principle.
            It sure is but I have not seen any simple Rapid Shut Down solutions at the panel level that don't require additional hardware. At some point the simplicity of the string inverter has been undermined by regulations. I can't disagree with the motive of safety for first responders but it has eroded the benefits of the KISS principle.
            Last edited by Ampster; 04-09-2021, 09:59 PM. Reason: Erosion of KISS
            9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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            • #7
              Originally posted by scrambler View Post
              Just because the optimizer failed does not mean the panel is not producing.
              Normally when these fail, only the reporting and or the optimization fails, but the panel still produces like if there was no optimizer.

              So unless you have a lot of shade issue hitting that panel, you will likely not suffer any loss of production because of it.
              But your reporting will be off by that one panel if it is no longer reporting its production
              This is a great piece of information. If this was my system, I would get something like a Shelly EM and put it on my inverter AC line to see my true power output vs reported output.

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              • #8
                Ditto on disliking the Rapid Shutdown rule. Adds a lot of expense, more complexity, a lot less reliability, a lot less serviceability, for a negligible increase in fire service safety. There is a grass roots, installer led initiative trying to back down the rapid shutdown code rule. Go to www.fixmlsd.com/. Also Solar Builder magazine did an article on the issue: https://solarbuildermag.com/news/pros-choice-solar-installers-launch-petition-to-fix-module-level-shutdown-issues/
                BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >3000kW installed

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by scrambler View Post
                  Just because the optimizer failed does not mean the panel is not producing.
                  Normally when these fail, only the reporting and or the optimization fails, but the panel still produces like if there was no optimizer.

                  So unless you have a lot of shade issue hitting that panel, you will likely not suffer any loss of production because of it.
                  But your reporting will be off by that one panel if it is no longer reporting its production
                  .... not sure how that would be possible or desirable with a Solar Edge system. The string current can be up to 15A... if you bypassed the optimizer and fed that directly though a panel that only 'wanted' 9A that seems like a bad idea. Solar Edge systems need the optimizers functioning to work.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nwdiver View Post

                    .... not sure how that would be possible or desirable with a Solar Edge system. The string current can be up to 15A... if you bypassed the optimizer and fed that directly though a panel that only 'wanted' 9A that seems like a bad idea. Solar Edge systems need the optimizers functioning to work.
                    I cannot be sure of the details for Solar Edge, but I know that is how it works for Tigos.
                    And it would make sense that the fail safe of an optimizer would be to not take everything down when one fails...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                      It sure is but I have not seen any simple Rapid Shut Down solutions at the panel level that don't require additional hardware. At some point the simplicity of the string inverter has been undermined by regulations. I can't disagree with the motive of safety for first responders but it has eroded the benefits of the KISS principle.
                      IMO only, not looking for better solutions to the Rapid Shutdown requirements that don't involve the use of multiples of temperature sensitive equipment placed in relatively hot, wet and otherwise sever and not easily accessible environments such as roofs - which is what using micros and optimizers amount to - ignores the KISS principle. To your point about solutions What's needed is a better mousetrap for string inverters. Micros or optimizers vs. string inverters is a classic violation of the KISS principle.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by scrambler View Post

                        I cannot be sure of the details for Solar Edge, but I know that is how it works for Tigos.
                        And it would make sense that the fail safe of an optimizer would be to not take everything down when one fails...
                        Yeah... Tigos are a bit different but in either case I'm pretty sure they fail in bypass. The rest of the string will work fine. I accidentally removed an optimizer once by pairing the inverter when there was snow covering a panel so the optimizer was offline. The system basically 'deleted' that optimizer and the others adjusted their voltage to makeup for the absence.

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                        • #13
                          I can tell you that when SolarEdge optimizers fail, the PV panel connected to that optimizer is shut down. The optimizer will let the current from the rest of the string of optimizers flow through, but the failed one produces no power.
                          BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >3000kW installed

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by solarix View Post
                            I can tell you that when SolarEdge optimizers fail, the PV panel connected to that optimizer is shut down. The optimizer will let the current from the rest of the string of optimizers flow through, but the failed one produces no power.
                            +1 for Tigo then

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