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TIGO Micro Inverters - Company and Inverter Overview

We'll go over the following contents in this article regarding Tigo. If you prefer a single PDF file, see the Tigo Learn Article Outline - PDF


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TIGO/GENERAL:
How reputable is Tigo?
What components do I need in a Tigo system?
What are the advantages of a Tigo system? What are the differences between the Tigo covers?
How do I address rapid shutdown and shading when using Tigo?


PANELS:
What panels can I use? (basic considerations)
To what extent can I mix and match panels?
To what extent can I have strings of uneven lengths on the same MPPT?
To what extent can I shade modules?
To what extent can I have different azimuths?
How is the maximum string length determined?


INVERTERS:
What inverters can I use?


ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT:
What additional equipment do I need?

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TIGO/GENERAL:
How reputable is Tigo?

Tigo (pronounced TAI-go) is an international Silicon Valley-based company founded in 2007. At the time of writing, Tigo products have been installed at 24,000 sites with over 2.2M units shipped. Their mission is “to increase customer’s ROI by delivering smart PV technology, designed to yield maximum energy harvest at minimal cost.” By modularizing the standard PV system with retrofit optimizers, Tigo systems increase visibility to the money-making portion of a PV system.

More info on Tigo case studies here: https://www.tigoenergy.com/why-tigo/case-studies/



What components do I need in a Tigo system?
Tigo systems include:
• TS4 (Integrated) or TS4-R (Retrofit) technology [see diagram below; functionality is added as you move to the right, e.g. every tier includes the features of the products to the left]


o Integrated: Tigo optimizer already built into the module (“smart modules”); full featured
o Retrofit: Tigo optimizer can be added to any new or existing module; selective features
• Gateway: Communication antenna (mounted underneath array; wirelessly communicates with array
• Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA): universal data logger mounted in the inverter or in Tigo’s NEMA rated external enclosure box; sends system info to the cloud


What are the advantages of a Tigo system? What are the differences between the Tigo covers?
• Flexibility/modularity: different mix-and-match covers with different functionalities; choose which ones you need
• Selective deployment: install only where needed
• Predictive IV: optimization-only does not require communication, and works out of the box




How do I address rapid shutdown and shading when using Tigo?
• Is rapid shutdown required? Use TS4-F or higher. TS4-F communicates via PLC; no monitoring required.
• Is monitoring required? Use TS4-S or higher. TS4-S communicates via Gateway and PLC; monitoring required.
o Note that the CCA and inverter must be powered from the same AC main per diagram below:





PANELS:
What panels can I use? (basic considerations)

“The TS4-R addresses the need for a retrofit solution that can be mounted on any existing installed PV system, connected to the existing PV module JBox, improving energy harvesting, greater flexibility, and increased control over the existing PV system.”
Design your system so string voltage never exceeds 500 Vdc at any temperature (cold temperature check).

To what extent can I mix and match panels?
Limited by the ratio of voltage and current mismatch (mismatch must be less than 25%; see link for how they calculate it). One of the best features is that “the power variation between the different modules has no restrictions. As long as current and voltage variations obey the 25% rule, you can mix and match modules with any power rating or technology available: Mono-crystalline, Multi-crystalline and even Thin-film.” 
{Source}


To what extent can I have strings of uneven lengths on the same MPPT?
Variance in string length of up to 25% is allowed
Note that selective deployment of optimization (where only a select number of modules are optimized) is intended for systems with a single string per MPPT. If parallel strings are connected to the same MPPT, every module on the string must be optimized (“full optimization”).
{Source} (with example!)

To what extent can I shade modules?
If an optimizer is used, shading is not a concern. Obviously you don’t want to place a module where it is shaded 365 days a year; the Tigo optimizer can’t produce energy from shade.
“The amount of shade you can design into your system is determined by how much energy a Smart Module can recuperate from mismatch. If 50% of the lost energy can be recuperated from a shaded module*, the percentage of annual impacted hours is reduced.”
{Source}


To what extent can I have different azimuths?
Voltages of strings on majority azimuths should be sufficient for the inverter to start
Note that there's no limit on how different the azimuths are, if startup voltages of the inverters are met.
{Source}



How is the maximum string length determined?
TBD by standard voltage/current limitation calculations.
 
“Short string voltage must be above the inverter MPP minimum and the longest string must be below the inverter MPP maximum voltage. Remember to adjust the voltage of the shorter string for the historical high temp for your area.”



INVERTERS:
What inverters can I use?

Tigo optimizers are designed to work with virtually any inverter out there. In fact, Tigo complies with over 2000 types of inverters from over 80 companies!

https://support.tigoenergy.com/hc/en-us/articles/202368968-Inverter-Compliance 

More information on SMA-Tigo here!
Each string outputs 12.5A continuous {source}. Proper fusing for a single string is 15A.
If the SMA inverter model listed above is used in Off-Grid mode do not use in combination with an SMA Sunny Island, regardless of DC string voltage of the inverter.




ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT: (optional, for monitoring and rapid shutdown):
What additional equipment do I need?
Tigo Cloud Connect Advanced
• Powered via 12/24V DC
• Up to (360) TS4 (total smart modules) per CCA
• Up to (7) Gateways can be connected in series to each CCA using RS-485 cable
• Communicates with Modbus-equipped inverters, AC meters, weather stations, etc.
• Data from 3rd party devices can be viewed on the Tigo website along with DC module level data
• With <50 TS4 units, barcodes and complete online configuration must be scanned and processed. Tigo now has a mobile app so you can use your smartphone instead of a laptop.


Tigo Gateway
• Powered via Cloud Connect Advanced
• Can communicate with up to (120) TS4 smart modules per Gateway.
• Up to 7 Gateways can be connected in series to each CCA using RS-485 cable
• Comm range (15) m / (50) ft radius. Located within line of sight of optimizers (wireless signals can be blocked by roof obstructions). Add more Gateways if obstacles are present.
• Not recommended for metal rooftop usage