Contractor Blog

SolarEdge Smart Modules Launch with Integrated Optimisers

George Riley · 27 Jan 2022

We’ve long discussed SolarEdge optimisers and inverters for their innovative, shade-busting abilities. Now the company has launched SolarEdge Smart Modules, solar panels with incorporated power optimisers. They are the first SolarEdge solar panels (though technically manufactured by a third party), with the main advantage being they are quicker - and therefore cheaper - to install than separate modules and optimisers.

Benefits of power optimisers and SolarEdge

Standard PV systems have a single string inverter that uses maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to get the best output from the array as a whole. This can result in lost power if some panels are shaded or degrading faster than others. By putting a power optimiser on each panel (as we do in a SolarEdge system), every module gets its own MPPT - so the output of one panel won’t bring down all the others.

Additional benefits of SolarEdge optimisers and inverter include:

  • module level monitoring,
  • long warranties (25 years on the optimisers, 12-25 years on the inverter).

The main drawback is the cost of maintenance if an optimiser fails. The warranty won’t cover the expensive job of scaffolding and roof access to reach and replace the failed component. So we generally only consider SolarEdge if a roof has significant and unavoidable shading.

Smart Module specs

SolarEdge Smart Modules are solar panels, made by an unspecified manufacturer, with SolarEdge optimisers pre-attached to the back. This is to save time on SolarEdge installations, but means the optimisers can be replaced without discarding the whole panel if they were to break in the future.

The modules use monocrystalline PERC technology, with half cut cells. These innovations improve efficiency and have become mainstream over the last few years.

In terms of design, the black cells are complemented with a black frame, and you can choose between white or black backing (the gaps between the cells). All black looks nicer, but slightly lowers efficiency.

SolarEdge’s performance warranty is solid, guaranteeing 84.8% of the original output after 25 years. The optimisers are covered by a 25 year product warranty, while the product warranty for the modules is currently 12 years (P375 modules) but due to increase to 25 years with the stock arriving in April (S440 modules).


SolarEdge’s whole home offering

SolarEdge has recently been expanding its product range to provide a whole-home solution for utilising solar energy. This includes:

  • PV optimisers (including those integrated in Smart Modules),
  • solar inverter,
  • batteries (StorEdge hybrid inverter + SolarEdge Energy Bank or another DC battery),
  • EV charging (either with a standalone or inverter-integrated charger),
  • hot water power diverter,
  • smart sockets and relays.

With this, SolarEdge intends for its inverter to be more than just the brains of the PV system, but the brains of the whole smart home. You can use one app to monitor your solar panels, EV charging, automate lighting and appliances, and decide where excess solar power is sent first.

SolarEdge panels vs SunPower AC modules

SolarEdge isn’t the first inverter company to branch out into optimised modules. Last year we reported on the launch of SunPower’s AC Maxeon 5 panels, which feature inbuilt Enphase micro-inverters.

Let’s see how they compare:


SolarEdge Smart Modules

SunPower Maxeon 5








1,052 x 1,776 mm or 1,038 x 1,755 mm

1,017 x 1,835 mm

Product warranty

12/25 years on panels, 25 years on optimisers

25 years on panels and micro-inverters

Power warranty

84.8% after 25 years

92% after 25 years

On this basis, SolarEdge modules are bigger, less powerful, less efficient and suffer from more degradation than SunPower panels.

Both offer panel-level monitoring and come with the same potential pitfalls, namely that if one of the optimisers/micro-inverters breaks then it’s an expensive job to get up on the roof to fix it.

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Topics: Solar PV