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Solar Panel Kits and Products

SMA TS4-R Smart Modules: Complete Overview

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SMA TS4-R Smart Module

Solar inverter technology has expanded rapidly over the last five years, with huge advances made in expected lifetime, output and overall efficiency. When considering solar, it is important to consider the various inverter types (string, string with optimization, micro, hybrid, and battery based). Here, we will explore string inverters with optimization using SMA America’s flexible TSR-4 (TS4-R-O, TS4-R-S, TS4-R-M and TS4-R-L) optimizer technology. We will provide details each optimizer, explore their monitoring solutions, overview recommended installation sites, and briefly compare the TSR-4 optimizers with SolarEdge’s P-Series optimizers.

TS4-R Module Technology Overview

The TS4-R is one of the most flexible string with optimizer technologies, their flexibility is the primary factor that makes the technology affordable. The TS4-R optimizers are an optional add on that can be used for safety (rapid shutdown), monitoring, optimization, or a combination dependent on individual system needs. What truly makes the optimizers stand out is their compatibility with other modules in the series. For example, if you have a multi-directional installation and only need optimization for one roof, you can use the TS4-R-O power optimizer modules, and the TS4-R-S for monitoring and shutdown for the rest of your modules. This saves on installation and equipment costs as the optimizers cost more than the monitoring and shutdown units. Ultimately, their platform offers integrated power with various functions, and functionality increases in each individual unit.

Like all optimizer and microinverter technology, the monitoring function allows the entire solar array to be monitored at an individual level which helps to identify any module faults, which enables you to rectify errors quickly. While most solar systems rely on reactive servicing, SMA solar system include smart, automatic servicing which provides quick resolution means. In accordance to new shutdown regulations, users can be sure that their system is compliant and takes advantage of module level shutdown for instances that require a specific part of the system to be turned off. In addition, the Power Plus optimizers work only when they have to, unlike other models which operate consistently. Due to this, SMA’s optimizers produce less heat which leads to greater system reliability.

See Here: TS4-R Specifications
See Here: 
TS4-R Brochure
Product   Function Application & Recommended System
Optimizer - The TS4-R-O acts as a power optimizer and includes all functionalities, including monitoring, rapid shutdown and panel optimization.

- These modules are recommended for low-light environments and systems that are exposed to partial shading.

Safety (Rapid Shutdown) -The TS4-R-S acts as a rapid shutdown module that includes both monitoring and rapid shutdown.

- This model is recommended for those requiring rapid shutdown capabilities for safety as well as the ability to monitor the system. In line with safety regulations, SMA also offers the firefighter safety module, the TS4-R-F (shutdown only, does not include monitoring).

TS4-R-M Monitoring - This enables the end user to have the ability to monitor their system without paying the additional cost of full optimizing solutions. 

- The TS4-R-M is useful for system owners who already have a rapid shutdown solution for their entire system and do not require optimization (such as in ideal sunlight and roof conditions). 

TS4-R-L Long String - These modules decrease the number of components needed for installation, such as additional wiring and combiner boxes making for a quicker and more cost-effective solution.

- The TS4-R-L is recommended for long string systems, such as those found in large and commercial systems. 

TS4-R Monitoring

SMA Sunny Portal Interface

*Sunny Portal Monitoring

Complete module-level system monitoring for residential systems is available through SMA’s Sunny Portal with the use of the SMA Gateway Interface Board (GIB) and gateway. The gateway provides all TS4-R data to the GIB and also to the Sunny Portal via the inverter’s WLAN or Ethernet connection. For commercial installs, the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) replaces the GIB. Home and business solar power system owners can observe their systems through remote monitoring and can respond quickly to malfunctions within the array. The GIB can communicate with up to three gateways, and the CCA with up to seven, which can be quickly installed with a single screw on the back of modules every 50 feet. The gateway connects to the GIB or CCA through a wired RS485 connection.

Who Should Use SMA Optimizers?

The Power Plus smart modules, are a great solution for many applications due in large part to their flexibility. Instead of having to install power optimizers on all modules, you can install them only on the areas of your array that need them. For example, if you have three modules that are exposed to partial shading during the day, you can purchase three power optimizers for those panels alone.

TS4-R Overview

Additionally, if rapid shutdown is required for the entire system, all modules are compatible with one another, giving system owners the freedom to use optimizers with the TS4-R-O and the less expensive TS4-R-S for the remainder of the system. This can lead to huge overall cost savings for the installer and bring your solar array into compliance with rapid shutdown requirements nationwide.

SMA TS4-R vs SolarEdge P-Series Optimizers

SMA TS4-R vs SolarEdge P-Series

There are two similarities between the TS4-R and P-Series optimizers. The first is that their optimizing solutions offer power efficiency for systems that are exposed to partial shading, or less than ideal sunlight conditions. The second is that they both offer module level reporting and panel performance which can improve overall efficiency, and aid in troubleshooting.

Despite these similarities, however, there are a few noteworthy differences:

  • First, SolarEdge requires optimizers to operate and monitor the solar array. This means that you cannot install a SolarEdge inverter without the optimizers. SMA inverters do not require additional modules, which can lead to greater savings.
  • Second, the ability to mix and match optimizers and rapid shutdown is unique to SMA. Therefore, a prospective system owner that only experiences partial shading and requires only a few optimizers will experience both greater panel efficiency and higher savings.
  • Finally, SolarEdge optimizers work continuously, whereas SMA’s optimizers are in operation only when they are being used. This leads to greater overall efficiency overtime, and longer expected lifetime for the module itself.
Read About: Power Optimizers - Everything You Need to Know

Conclusion: Are Power Plus Smart Modules For You?

The SMA smart modules are an efficient overall solution for a number of needs and applications, in addition their flexibility leads them to overall greater savings and higher ROI. Their added flexibility can be used in both residential and commercial installations to get the most out of your system, with high safety standards and monitoring capabilities. For systems with shading on only a small section, the ability to only purchase what is needed saves a great deal on your initial investment, and increases the lifetime efficiency of the system overall. Commercial installations can benefit from all smart module types, and can maintain project budgets without having to sacrifice quality.

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