Module level monitoring sans optimizers

icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,355 ✭✭✭✭
I’m designing a remote site, grid tie array for a client.  We are most likely going to ground mount the system, so we don’t have to include rapid DC shutdown.  So...the question is, is there technology out there to do module level monitoring with out the use of optimizers?  I know that you can string level monitor direct with an SMA inverter without optimizers.  Assuming ideal sited PV with no micro shading issues, optimizers add nothing except cost and the ability to monitor.

the advantage of module level monitoring is the ability to see a problem early and tend to it.  Additionally, the advantage of optimizers is if you have a bad module you don’t lose the whole string.  That said, with string level monitoring, you can quickly see when the entire string is effected and take action accordingly.  

The disadvantage of adding optimizers is (aside from added cost) is many more multiple points of potential failure.  With a ground mount, optimizers are (relatively) easy to replace, but if you don’t have them, you never need to replace them.

Finally, any opinions of the Solar edge vs the SMA systems?  I have some experience with SMA/Tigo, but none with SE.

Thanks for any input,

Tony
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