‘Focused on innovation’: SolarEdge on its new products and ONE management platform at Intersolar Europe 2024

“We’ve always focused on innovation, but historically that’s been more on the hardware side, but now we’re also looking at the software side,” said Christelle Barnes. Image: SolarEdge.

Israel-headquartered firm SolarEdge has unveiled a new inverter and battery for residential customers, and a new energy optimisation platform for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, at Intersolar Europe 2024, as the company looks to “address the challenge of meeting our increasingly varied customer needs throughout Europe.”

That was the view of Christelle Barnes, UK country manager at SolarEdge and vice chair of trade body Solar Energy UK, who spoke with PV Tech at the event in Munich yesterday. The company’s newest product for the residential market, a 20kW inverter, uses silicon carbide switches to minimise its size and weight, while boosting efficiencies and power density. Barnes noted that such a product is particularly useful at a time where there is a greater penetration of electrification in the residential space, with devices such as electric vehicles (EVs) more common than ever.

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Managed by the SolarEdge ONE energy optimisation system, the new residential inverter, together with a new residential modular battery platform, also previewed at the show, is designed to optimise time of use or dynamic energy tariffs.

“We’ve always focused on innovation, but historically that’s been more on the hardware side, but now we’re also looking at the software side,” explained Barnes. “SolarEdge ONE allows homeowners more control over the energy usage, dynamic tariffs, rate optimisation [and] different time of use profiles.”

Barnes noted that the system can be used to manage other aspects of the residential energy setup, including EV chargers and heat pumps. SolarEdge also launched its new energy optimisation platform for C&I customers, named SolarEdge ONE for C&I, at Intersolar. The platform is designed to automatically manage energy production, storage and consumption, and also offers engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operations and maintenance (O&M) teams advanced PV monitoring and fleet management tools.

SolarEdge’s announcements follow the launch of a new project planning platform for the C&I sector by software developer PVcase, as the solar sector, as a whole, pays more interest to O&M efficacy, as projects grow larger, and the potential productivity gains by optimising O&M functions grow in parallel.

SolarEdge also launched its TerraMax inverter, combined with supporting H13000 Power Optimizers, in Germany at the event, which is aimed for use in small-to-medium utility-scale installations. The company notes that this inverter, which includes up to 80-module string lengths, can reduce balance of system costs by as much as 50%.

A ‘very fragmented’ European solar industry

The new products showcased at Intersolar reflect what Barnes called a “very fragmented” European solar industry, where the complexity and the number of variables across the continent present a challenge for manufacturers and developers.

“The portfolios that we have here, on the stand, have to adapt to a very wide range of customers and a very wide range of markets,” said Barnes.

Barnes suggested that shifting market conditions have a cyclical nature, that could be of benefit to SolarEdge.

“[Europe is] definitely a challenging region [but] things tend to go in cycles,” said Barnes. “Our knowledge of these markets allows us to develop solutions that work in multiple regions, and also puts us in a strong position to navigate any changes that might come in the future.”

“Having a lot of data and managing that data securely is routine for us,” added Barnes. “However, the positive change we’re seeing in the industry now is the increasing focus on all aspects of cybersecurity. That’s something SolarEdge takes very seriously. For example, we recently announced our compliance with the UK’s Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 (PSTI) regulation introduced recently.”

The news follows an uneven performance in SolarEdge’s recent financial results. In the first quarter of this year, the company saw its inverter shipments increase to 946MW, a quarter-on-quarter increase that is also a fourfold year-on-year decrease. In January, the company announced plans to lay off 16% of its global workforce, to cut operating expenses following struggling sales figures.

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