solaredge q and a

Q&A with SolarEdge

Home electrification requires many types of equipment: from solar panels to inverters to storage to electric vehicle (EV) chargers; navigating everything you might need can be difficult. SolarEdge, one of the leading inverter companies, offers a range of equipment you’ll need if you’re looking to electrify your home, making it easier to set up one cohesive solution. We sat down with SolarEdge to learn more about their background, the products they offer, and what advice they have for you as an energy shopper.

Find out what solar + storage costs in your area in 2022

The history of SolarEdge

Tell us about SolarEdge’s history and growth as a company. How has SolarEdge evolved through the years, and how do you want consumers to view you today?

Established in 2006, SolarEdge developed the industry’s direct current (DC)-optimized inverter solution, which changed how power is harvested and managed in photovoltaic (PV) systems. It allows homeowners and businesses to maximize power generation while cutting energy costs and improving return on investment.

SolarEdge established itself as a market leader in under ten years and launched an IPO on the NASDAQ in 2015. Since then, they’ve continued to advance smart energy by addressing a broad range of market segments through a diversified product offering, including:

With 360 patents awarded, 368 additional patent applications, and 16 years of global experience, SolarEdge has become the world’s largest solar provider and is at the forefront of smart in the home with the launch of the industry’s first-ever DC-coupled smart energy ecosystem: SolarEdge Home. Meanwhile, SolarEdge is impacting entire regions through a fast-growing portfolio of commercial, utility, and community solar projects.

What’s SolarEdge’s mission?

SolarEdge’s mission is to become the leading provider of inverter solutions across all PV market segments and make clean, renewable solar energy more accessible to everyone.

How does SolarEdge hope to improve the clean energy industry?

SolarEdge is making affordable, clean energy a reality for all, directly supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 7. We are constantly advocating for the energy market to become decarbonized, decentralized, and digitized.

To date, we estimate the cumulative impact of SolarEdge systems translates into the prevention of 17.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to powering 3.1 million homes with electricity for an entire year – every year. This is based on 22.4 gigawatts (GW) of optimized Inverter systems shipped worldwide.

By leveraging world-class engineering capabilities and a relentless focus on innovation, we have led the global creation of smart energy products and solutions that power everyday life and drive future progress.

Inverters & power optimizers

What makes your inverters stand out from others on the market?

  • SolarEdge inverters come with a record-breaking 99% CEC efficiency, which means more power and savings for system owners.
  • PV, batteries, and EV chargers can be coupled with the inverter behind the main panel, taking up much less room than traditional alternating current (AC)-coupled microinverter systems while potentially preventing thousands in main panel upgrades (MPUs).
  • Our unique DC-coupled design allows for more modules and kilowatts (kWs) per string without needing a system upgrade.
  • Installers can oversize systems up to 200% with our SolarEdge Energy Hub (compared to the industry standard of 120%), allowing system owners to power their batteries, EVs, and homes on more clean energy and less grid.

What do you wish more people knew about the differences between string inverters, systems with optimizers, and microinverters?

Optimized systems, like ours, have a unique ability to bring homeowners the most power for their money through the ability to monitor individual modules and make real-time adjustments to ensure maximum solar. With our exclusive, patented SolarEdge Power Optimizers (individually attached to each module), when one module is shaded or damaged, others will compensate to prevent any loss. That means higher system efficiency and up to 3-5 days of added yearly production.

While microinverter systems can also make modules function independently as smart modules, they are subject to AC limitations that result in power loss at the module level and much less cost-effective investment.

String inverters lack both optimization and the ability to allow modules to act independently. Therefore, modules cannot produce independently; as a result, shading or damage at the module level leads to much less production and even shutdown.

Can you explain the difference between your single-phase and three-phase inverters?

​​Our single-phase inverters, such as the Single-Phase Inverter with HD-Wave Technology and Home Hub Inverter, are commonly used in residential homes, whereas the three phase inverters are typically used for businesses, industrial applications, and for powering large equipment.

Our three-phase ground mount and rooftop inverters are ideal for a broad range of projects, including community solar, small utility-scale, carport, and floating PV. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Greater energy production by pairing with Power Optimizers
  • Reduced installation costs with unique SolarEdge design
  • Lower operations and maintenance (O&M) costs with module-level monitoring & pinpointing issues
  • Peace of mind with arc fault protection, rapid shutdown & SAFE DC

Three Phase Inverter Power Ratings: 10kW, 17.3kW @208V grid; 30kW, 40kW @480V grid

Three Phase Inverter with Synergy Technology Power Ratings: 50kW @208V grid, 80kW, 100kW, 110kW, 120kW @480V grid

Storage

More and more companies are starting to add storage to their line of products: what led to SolarEdge’s decision to launch a battery project? 

“The need for reliable, home backup power has never been greater. SolarEdge has put our unmatched expertise into a single integrated solar and battery solution that makes installs easier and powers more of our consumers’ everyday lives with clean, renewable energy at less cost. We are turning houses into smart energy homes that can continue to grow alongside evolving industry trends and live uninterrupted, even when the grid is off,” explains Peter Mathews, General Manager, SolarEdge North America.

What differentiates the SolarEdge Energy Bank?

  • 5kW of continuous power, up to 30% more than AC-coupled batteries of comparable size (normally 3.8kW), so homeowners can backup more/larger devices on a single battery
  • 10kWh capacity per battery, with the ability to stack 3 per inverter and 9 per backup interface (up to 90kWhs of potential storage)
  • 100% depth of discharge
  • DC-coupling allows batteries to be stacked behind the inverter, meaning fewer MPUs and lower installation costs
  • 94.5% round-trip efficiency, which is up to 5% higher than similar batteries, enabling homeowners to use more of their stored power
  • Industry-leading warranty: 10 years with no power cycle or discharge limitations, plus a $250 labor reimbursement for the first 5 years
  • Our homeowner app, mySolarEdge, includes features like Weather Guard and Backup Reserve to help homeowners better control their energy anytime from anywhere

Can you tell us more about Weather Guard?

Weather Guard is a feature in the mySolarEdge app, made exclusively for SolarEdge system owners with battery backup. When enabled, it is designed to detect severe weather and utility power shutoffs and will trigger a full battery charge to help ensure homes stay on when the grid goes down.

How should consumers think about sizing their Energy Bank storage system? 

Homeowners should know what they would like powered in an outage and understand that more or larger devices require more batteries.

It is also important to factor in power AND capacity – often, only capacity is considered, leading to a less desirable backup experience.

  • Power: determines the number and size of the devices your battery can power in an outage (in kWs)
  • Capacity: determines the length of time your backup will last during an outage
  • Considering both will lead to an experience that delivers the power you need when you need it most.

What’s your current supply like – do you have products available?

Our products are available through our distribution partners. We encourage installers to reach out to their local distributor for details.

EV charging

Tell us about the SolarEdge Smart EV Charger.

Easily managed using the mySolarEdge app, the SolarEdge Smart EV Charger is a Level 2 charger enabling homeowners to drive on sunshine through integration with SolarEdge Home.

  • 40A (9.6kW) maximum charging power
  • Solar Boost mode enables faster charging on grid+solar
  • Can charge EVs on up to 100% renewable energy
  • Easy to install indoors or outdoors
  • Industry-leading 5-year warranty
  • May be used as a standalone charger, compatible with 240V outlets

How quickly can someone charge their EV with your charger?

The charger can charge up to 9.6kW, which is about 35-40 miles of range per hour, though charge time can vary based on the vehicle’s battery makeup. This is approximately 7 times faster than a standard 120V wall outlet, which usually charges at a maximum of 5 miles of range per hour.

Do you have any future plans for bi-directional charging?

Bi-directional EV charging is an exciting and emerging capability and perfect for DC-coupled solutions like ours. That’s because, unlike with AC-coupled systems, we can connect the EV charger directly to the DC side of our inverter. As a result, there’s less labor and cost.

That said, specific standards such as voltages, plug styles, and communication protocols are still in development. For example, the Ford Lightning truck and the GE Silverado Truck use very different methodologies.

SolarEdge is working to help resolve these inconsistencies over time and introduce a solution of our own.

Advice for homeowners

What do you think are the key things for homeowners to consider when selecting equipment? 

Solar

  • What system provides the most power and efficiency?
  • What system will cost the least, both at the time of installation and when more solar or smart energy devices are added later?
  • Will the main panel need to be upgraded? How much will that cost, and can a DC-coupled solution, like ours, help avoid that added cost?
  • What is the warranty for roof equipment (power optimizers, microinverters) and wall equipment (inverters, combiners, batteries)?

Battery / Storage

  • Which system has the most continuous power for the devices being backed up?
  • Will adding a battery require the main panel to be upgraded? Will using a DC-coupled solution avoid that upgrade?
  • Which system has the highest round-trip efficiency?
  • What is the warranty? Does it have conditions, such as power cycle or discharge limitations?

EV Charging

  • Does the EV charger allow charging on solar or just the grid? Can it charge from both simultaneously?
  • Does the charger integrate with the rest of your home energy system (e.g. solar, batteries, etc.)?
  • What is the warranty? Is it at least 5 years?
  • What is the approximate charge rate?

What questions are homeowners and solar installers not asking about solar products that they should be? 

  • Is the system I am buying/selling future-ready? Will it allow me/my customers to add solar, batteries, EVs, or other smart devices without a lot of added labor and costly main panel upgrades?
  • How much power does the battery provide? Is it enough to power the devices that need to be backed up?
  • Which system is the most efficient? Will it provide the most power/savings?  
  • What safety features are built into the system, both on the roof and on the wall?

Why do you think homeowners should choose SolarEdge’s products? 

  • Our products are a future-ready platform, allowing homeowners to choose options that meet their energy needs now and easily expand as they evolve – all without the added labor costs associated with costly upgrades.
  • Our products simplify the decision to live smarter by bringing solar, battery storage, EV charging, and consumption devices together under one roof with one app and one warranty.
  • More power AND savings: SolarEdge offers higher efficiency through optimized technology and up to 30% more continuous backup power than AC-coupled solutions (back up more switches and sockets!).
  • Confidence & Bankability: SolarEdge is the #1 solar inverter manufacturer in the world, listed on the S&P 500, traded on the NASDAQ, and endorsed by the planet’s leading insurers. We are part of 2.3 million installations across the globe and offer one of the industry’s best warranties.
  • Peace of Mind through industry-leading safety measures for all products. Featuring a built-in SafeDC™ mechanism, our inverters will automatically reduce voltage to touch-safe levels in an emergency or grid shutdown. Meanwhile, SafeDC™, arc detection, and mitigation features all combine for maximum protection of installers, maintenance personnel, and homeowners.

Start your electrification journey with EnergySage

Interested in a solar or solar-plus-storage system with SolarEdge equipment? On the EnergySage Marketplace, you can receive up to seven custom quotes from local installers. The quotes will include information about the proposed solar equipment, system design, financing, battery details, and more. If you want to install specific equipment – like products from SolarEdge – simply note it in your account so installers can provide a quote with that equipment.

Find out what solar + storage costs in your area in 2022
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About Emily Walker

Emily is a Content Marketer at EnergySage, where she's an expert in making energy fun and easy to learn about! She has a background in environmental consulting and has degrees in Environmental Science and Biology from Colby College. Outside of work, Emily is pursuing a Master of Science from Johns Hopkins University in Environmental Science and Policy. She also loves hiking, tending to her collection of houseplants, and trying out new restaurants and breweries whenever possible.

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