The Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser Solution is a cost-effective DC power system that ensures your solar panel can still attain maximum energy yield despite differing module orientations or partial shading. With its innovative module technology, you can easily add any PV module with additional functions to the array. 

This optimiser has been proudly manufactured by Tigo Energy, the global leader of Flex Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE), since 2007. The TS4-R is undoubtedly one of the best DC optimiser choices for Australians, maximising the DC power output of each PV module and distributing it to a string inverter for DC-AC conversion. 

But the Tigo TS4-R offers more than just regular optimisation. One of its best features is Selective Deployment, where you can choose a specific solar panel to optimise.

While such functionality makes the TS4-R an enticing prospect, it’s still better to understand the product specs before purchasing; this ensures that you purchase a compatible optimiser for your energy needs. 

Read on as we survey the Tigo TS4-R, specifically its:

  • Key Features,
  • Price,
  • Benefits,
  • Disadvantages, and
  • Monitoring System.

Let’s jump into the review!

What is the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser?

The Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser is a retrofit solution for optimising maximum energy yields to underperforming PV systems that suffer from shading. It adds unique features to newly installed panels, and delivers smart module functions to your solar panels.

Its modular technology is suited to any solar module design for application, but you can opt to attach the TS4-R only to solar panels affected by energy yield loss.

Doing so makes the TS4-R a practical solution for mismatched modules and will address any low performance in your solar system due to external factors like altering module orientations, shading, and uneven degradation rates. 

Additionally, it has an innovative platform that lets you equip individual solar panels with additional features during first-time installation. As a result, you’ll see an increase in your energy yields and a reduction in your system costs. 

Tigo unveils new portfolio of solar optimizers - PV Tech

The TS4-R has a base and cover as its components. The base comprises the support and cables that connect to the junction box and provide optimised output.

On the other hand, the cover has all the necessary electronics to perform Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and the optimiser’s various other features. 

One great aspect about this device is its removable cover; you can replace it with another cover for different functionalities. The retrofit cover options vary in their line of features, which we’ll discuss in the Key Features section below. 

The TS4-R is manufactured by Tigo Energy, the worldwide leader in Flex Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE). The company began as external maximiser developers to mitigate mismatch losses.

Later on, it focused on smart module technology and collaborated with solar panel manufacturing and inverter companies. 

Tigo Energy was founded in Silicon Valley in 2007. With more than ten years in the photovoltaic industry under its belt, the company collaborates with global solar module entities such as SolarEdge.

Such partnerships helped Tigo cement its presence across seven continents with its imaginative solutions and global support. 

Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser Key Features

Here are the key features of the TS4-R DC Optimiser:

  • Progressive Functionality

The TS4-R Optimiser has integrated power electronics with numerous functions to choose from. You can freely select the service you want to add which best fits your project and budget. Each function has integrated features that can be added to your PV system. 

Here is the range of functions you can choose from:

  1. Monitoring (TS4-R-M)

The TS4-R-M allows robust panel level monitoring through its Tigo Energy Intelligence platform. It remotely detects faults on individual modules while displaying and diagnosing any issues that crop up. It will also notify you of immediate intervention requirements and for maximisation of your system’s uptime. 

In addition, this functionality can reduce operation and management costs (O&M) and includes module bar code tracking. Other features include PV-2.0 data synchronisation, CRM integration, and fleet management. What’s more, you can also track your warranty through this function.  

2. Safety (TS4-R-S)

Safety (TS4-R-S) is a Flex Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE) function that enables you to monitor and shut down your solar system at the module level. 

UL Photovoltaic Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS) has been certified with leading inverters and complies with NEC 2014, 2017, and 2020 rapid shutdown requirements. 

The PVRSS is a safety feature that stops firefights and reduces the current and voltage the solar array to prevent electrical hazards for emergency responders.

Meanwhile, the National Electric Code (NEC) provides a set of safety rules for installing and maintaining electrical wire systems at home, in businesses, and commercial buildings.

Since the TS4-R ensured certifications and compliance from these two entities, you can be assured that the Tigo optimiser is safe from electrical hazards. 

Other features in the Safety function include module-level deactivation, automatic or manual shutdown, and the benefits and features of the Monitoring function.

3. Optimisation (TS4-R-O)

The optimisation is another Flex Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE) function that can boost the power of your solar system even in different module configurations and partial shading. It can be an integrated modular junction box base or an add-on unit you can avail of. 

In this setting, there is greater design flexibility and improved energy yield. It also has mismatch and shade tolerance functions. With the TS4-R-O, you can maximise roof usage and enjoy other features of Safety and Monitoring functions.

4. Fire Safety (TS4-R-F)

The Fire Safety function is a dedicated rapid shutdown device for one solar module to one TS4 configuration. This makes it an affordable option that you can add to your solar system for advanced safety features. 

This function has both UL and IEC certification for global acceptance.  

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) is a reputable safety certification company that assesses and certifies products, facilities, performance, and systems. They also evaluate sustainable products, renewable energies, and other innovative technologies based on industry-wide standards. 

Similarly, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) sets international standards for all electronic, electrical, and related technologies to guarantee compatibility and product and environmental safety.

Acquiring UL and IEC certification for global acceptance signifies that this functionality has been assessed and meets strict standards across numerous countries.   

Like the Safety function, the TS4-R-F also complies with NEC 2014, 2017, and 2020 shutdown requirements, strengthening its fire safety functionality. 

Additionally, some inverters have integrated the Tigo Rapid Shutdown System (RSS) transmitter.

RSS transmitter is part of Trigo’s rapid shutdown solution when inverters are paired with its own rapid shutdown unit, the TS4-R-F. This unit transmits signals over PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) to Fire Safety units to keep solar panels connected while continuously supplying energy to them. 

The signal distribution occurs via PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), hardware that controls devices and processes based on the set program and written logic. Hence, this PLC signalling can enable plug-and-play installations

Other features of the TS4-R Optimiser include module-level deactivation, automatic, and manual shutdown.

To further help you decide which functionality works best for you, here is the comparison of electrical ratings for each TS4-R cover:

Tigo
Function
Monitoring
(TS4-R-M)
Fire Safety
(TS4-R-F)
Safety
(TS4-R-S)
Optimisation
(TS4-R-O)
INPUT
Rated DC Input Power475 W475 W475 W475 W
Maximum Input Voltage90 V90 V90 V90 V
Maximum Continuous Input Current (IMAX)12 A12.5 A12 A12 A
Minimum (VMP)16 V16 V16 V16 V
OUTPUTMonitoring
(TS4-R-M)
Fire Safety
(TS4-R-F)
Safety
(TS4-R-S)
Optimisation
(TS4-R-O)
Output Power Range0 – 475 W0 – 475 W0 – 475 W0 – 475 W
Output Voltage Range0- VOC0- VOC0- VOC0- VOC
Communication TypeWirelessPLCWirelessWireless
Rapid Shutdown UL Listed (NEC 2014 & 2017 690.12)NoYesYesYes
Impedance Matching CapabilityNoNoNoYes
Output Voltage LimitNoNoNoNo
Maximum System Voltage1500 V1500 V1500 V1500 V
Recommended Fuse Rating15 A15 A15 A15 A

The datasheets for the Monitoring function, Fire Safety feature, Safety information and Optimisation service should help you determine what exactly you need from this device.

All TS4-R covers are compatible with a 1500 V solar system. However, you may have to specify the maximum system voltage when you order the TS4-R bases to get the right cables and connectors. 

Both the TS4-R-S and TS4-R-O require Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) and Tigo Access Point (TAP), or Gateway, for compliance on rapid shutdown, while the TS4-R-F needs a Tigo Rapid Shutdown System (RSS) transmitter.

With this bevvy of integrated features, you can customise your retrofit solution however your want. To that end, the TS4-R has a universal retrofit base that can match one of these electronic covers for added functionality. 

  • Selective Deployment

Selective deployment is another great feature of the TS4-R that helps it stand out from its competitors. It allows you to choose a solar panel you want to optimise and is compatible with any solar inverter. 

By employing this feature, your TS4-R becomes a cost-effective solution since it prioritises whichever panel needs a power-up; you don’t have to install DC power optimisers with each solar panel, reducing the number of electronics occupying space on your roof. 

  • Impedance Matching Technology

Impedance Matching corrects any mismatch issues between solar panels by creating a bypass tunnel. This tunnel bypasses the underperforming panel and maintains current flow in spite of shading to prevent power loss. 

Solar panels are similar to batteries in that they are serially connected with strings. When all of them are focused on achieving maximum power, they can produce energy optimally. However, when one panel in a solar array is underperforming, it will drags down the other panels’ power output and performance.  

To address this costly issue, Tigo developed a solution with its patented Impedance Matching technology. 

The tunnel is dynamic and only opens when needed. This way, any underperforming modules won’t affect the rest of the solar panels. 

Impedance Matching technology allows selective employment because the shaded and unshaded modules can still operate, boosting maximum energy yields. 

  • Predictive IV 

Predictive IV is an advanced technology that integrates Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT), Impedance Matching techniques, and module behaviour statistics in predicting the optimum settings for a PV module to generate its maximum energy.

It creates more accurate panel level optimisation and ultimately leads to significant energy yield. 

The Predictive IV uses advanced predictive analytics capabilities that enable you to set parameters locally.

With high-speed monitoring, local operations can result in the highest accuracy and real-time responses to any changes seen and observed in the solar panel’s behaviour. It then guarantees the generation of maximum energy yield and high operational efficiency from any modules in the solar array. 

Image from Businesswire

Much like Impedance Matching, Predictive IV technology lets you select PV modules you want to optimise. It helps minimise the number of power optimisers you need to attach to your solar system and can be applied to any solar panel in a single string.

Even better, you can outfit a Predictive IV optimiser to any solar panel in a string that’s been exposed to high temperatures, high mismatch characteristics, or shade.

As a result, it drives the module’s optimal performance and prevents it from limiting the power production of the remaining unshaded modules in the string.

Every TS4-R cover with optimisation capabilities, such as TS4-R-O, includes a Predictive IV as its standard feature. With the universal TS4-R base and customisable covers, the junction boxes make it flexible and upgradeable, with a powerful PV 2.0 communication backend.

  • Monitoring System

The Tigo TS4-R has a monitoring platform where you can closely monitor your solar system and detect any problems straight away. Through this monitoring feature, you can access the Tigo portal to view the information on your solar system; however, the information provided is limited. 

Alternatively, you can purchase Tigo Energy monitoring for easy individual panel monitoring. There is Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) kit, Gateway, and Tigo Access Point (TAP).

All you need to do is connect the Module Optimisers, Tigo Access Point, and the Cloud Connect Kit to enable the monitoring feature. 

How do DC optimisers Work? 

Typically, a DC power optimiser is a module-level power electronic that maximises the DC power output of a PV module before transmitting it to a string inverter for swift DC-AC conversion. It’s the best solution for homeowners with unusual roofs, modules with multiple orientations, and shading issues. 

How do power optimizers help harvest more energy from solar projects?

Image from Solar Power World

With the proper environmental conditions and setup, your solar system creates DC electricity from the absorbed sun rays. The modules attached in strings send the DC power to a string inverter to convert the DC power into AC electricity, which your home appliances can use. 

However, several factors can affect your solar system’s power output, including partial shading issues, multiple orientations, amount of sunlight, temperature, and power load characteristics.

The affected module will underperform as a result, outputting less power than expected. In essence, your worst-performing panel will negatively affect the overall solar energy production of the string of panels. 

The photovoltaic industry has developed DC optimisers to combat such problems. The DC optimisers use the Maximum Power Point Tracking Technology to track the maximum power of each solar panel to smoothen and condition the electricity each panel generates before sending it to the string inverter. 

To accomplish this, you need to attach a DC optimiser at the back of each panel in your solar array. The optimisers then utilise innovative module technology to track their peak output and regulate voltage before it enters the inverter. Your inverter will then take the DC power and transfer it into AC power for electricity using grid utility.

As a result, the solar panel’s performance with an attached DC optimiser will achieve optimised performance levels regardless of the shade conditions, sun orientation, or damage to the panels.

Tigo TS4-R DC Optimisers use Impedance Matching and Predictive IV technology to carry out the functions of their optimisers. 

The Impedance matching feature helps to boost the power output of your solar system. It also adds more resistance by providing two pathways for the current to flow: one via the panel and another through a bypass tunnel formed around the shaded panel.

This makes it advantageous when the panel goes down because they can remove the panel from the string. 

The TS4-R also uses Predictive IV technology to predict the optimal setting of your solar panel and carefully control each panel’s resistance. It helps maximise the amount of power generated by the solar system. 

Thankfully, the TS4-R doesn’t need additional tools during installation. You can easily mount it in each panel, saving time and removing any logistics headaches. You can also add monitoring systems to your solar system along with the TS4-R for quick and accurate monitoring. 

Why Should You Get a DC Optimiser?

A DC optimiser is a wise solar installation option since it allows each module to generate maximum solar energy. As such, you can enjoy the maximum performance from your solar system despite any mismatched modules, shading issues, or multiple orientations.

It also prevents the shaded and mismatched modules from dragging down the other modules in a particular string.

Image from LaSolar Group

Mismatched losses occur whenever there’s a difference between the total maximum power points in each independent sub-module, resulting in mismatched modules. It may happen due to faults in the manufacturing process, whether variances such as shading, uneven degradation rates, or different module orientation. 

With DC optimisers, your mismatch losses will be solved easily. Selecting the right optimiser will assist you in achieving your project goals or resolving a specific issue. 

Just like the Tigo TS4-R, it offers upgradeable DC optimisers and additional features for your solar panel. 

Benefits of the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser

Here are several advantages of the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimisers:

  • Unmatched Flexibility

The Selective deployment feature makes the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser extremely flexible. It lets you choose the solar panel you want to optimise, helping you focus on the weakest module that affects the overall performance of your solar system. Best of all, the TS4-R is compatible with standard modules. 

alternative, cell, clean

You can apply this device to either existing or newer solar installations at any scale. However, it may require a few components to obtain the benefits of advanced module-level monitoring, optimisation, and enhanced safety. 

  • System Optimisation

The TS4-R can optimise power output in your solar panel even in partial shading conditions and different configurations of multiple panels using its state-of-the-art technologies, such as the Impedance Matching and Predictive IV technology.

It also provides module-level monitoring; an avenue for you to closely monitor the performance of each panel in your solar system.

Your TS4-R not only maximises power but also guarantees its owner’s safety. They equip their DC optimisers with the module-level shutdown for additional safety measures. 

  • Customisable and Upgradable

Since the TS4-R platform offers power electronics integrated with different functions you can choose freely, you can customise and upgrade the DC optimiser features to increase its functionality.

Its smart module retrofit platform has a universal base and various covers with Flex MLPE. The retrofit cover options are monitoring, safety, optimisation, and fire safety. 

What’s more, the TS4-R base is universal, so it can match any of the retrofit covers you want to fit the functions you need and your budget. 

  • Inverter Compatibility

Another benefit of Tigo TS4-R is that it’s been installed with different inverter models from all leading inverter manufacturers. This compatibility gives you the freedom to select the inverter that can maximise the returns for your project. 

Image from Clean Energy Reviews

Whether you have an HD wave inverter, standard string inverter, or a microinverter, you don’t have to worry because its compatibility with any inverter means you can operate your TS4-R anywhere in the world.

You’ll also experience fewer risks because it keeps your solar projects in check with more options to fit your budget. Most importantly, it allows you to work with new projects or upgrade existing ones. 

Compatible inverter brands include the Fronius inverter, Canadian Solar solar inverters, Huawei inverters, and various others. These devices have been tested by Tigo, by certified third parties, or have been deployed in the field with Tigo MLPE. 

However, a few solar inverters are not compatible with TS4-R DC Optimiser, such as the SolarEdge inverter. 

  • Quick Installation

Tigo TS4-R DC optimisers are also simple to install because they have fewer components and can be set up on the ground, reducing roof time. 

In fact, only three steps are summarised in Tigo’s Installation Quick Start Guide.

Here are the steps in retrofitting the installation of the TS4-R:

  1. Connect the bracket to the module frame.  

2. Connect the TS4-R input to leads from the PV module junction box. 

3. Connect TS4-R units in series to create a string. 

Please remember that when you install the TS4-R, you need to connect the input cables to the PV module before you attach the TS4-R output cables in a series. 

When you want to disconnect the TS4-R, you can detach the TS4-R output cables from the string. Then, disconnect the input cables from the PV module. 

If you fail to follow these installation steps, it can result in possible damage to the product and may violate your warranty

solar panels, placement, green energy

If you are not confident in installing your TS4-R DC optimisers, why not consult a reputable company to ensure that the installation is done correctly? We advise engaging qualified solar installers, such as Nectr, to install your devices.

We guarantee you can save on your electricity bill by properly installing your DC power optimisers in each solar panel. To that end, we’ve developed an impressive installation track record for many Australian homeowners over the years.

  • High Reliability

Tigo TS4-R DC Optimisers have proven to be very reliable module-level power electronics with their continuous low failure rate. Thanks to their great features and advanced technologies, you’ll experience lower operation and maintenance costs because of their fewer components.

The device also has a longer service life due to the specific and dynamic bypass operation in the Impedance Matching. It helps to maximise module performance in tandem with greater energy yields to let you enjoy fully generated maximum power output. 

Additionally, Tigo Energy secured certifications and strictly complied with industry standards. These certifications further prove the TS4-R reliability as a DC optimiser. 

  • 25-year Warranty

Tigo Energy offers a limited warranty period for TS4 and TS4-R platforms for twenty-five years. The warranty becomes valid four months from the date the product is shipped from Tigo and the product is installed. 

However, you have to ensure that the warranty period of the PV module you attach to the TS4-R doesn’t elapse its warranty period and that the module manufacturer provides the module’s warranty. 

You also have to register in the Tigo Monitoring service within 90 days from the installation date for the limited warranty to be valid, especially for the products TS4-M, TS4-S, and TS4-O. 

This 25-year warranty period will only apply to the TS4-R products only purchased from the authorised seller of Tigo. 

Tigo also issues a limited warranty to related products, such as the Cloud Connect Advanced and Tigo Access Point, which both have a warranty period of five years. The Rapid Shutdown System (RSS) transmitter has a warranty period of ten years, while the RSS Signal Detector has only a warranty period of one year. 

In case of a defective product, Tigo will either issue a credit note for you to purchase a new product or repair or replace the defective product. 

Familiarising yourself with the Tigo warranty will guarantee that you don’t overlook any crucial warranty components.

Disadvantages of the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser

While the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser undoubtedly has many benefits, it’s not without its faults.

Here are the disadvantages:

  • Subscription for Premium Monitoring. The Tigo Optimiser may offer free monitoring, but one has to subscribe to the premium monitoring to be updated on any new information from the optimiser.
  • Simple System. Tigo TS4-R has a simple and flexible DC optimisation system, unlike other DC optimisers systems, such as the SolarEdge system. It has no complex system with EV chargers, smart house, or energy storage.

While this simplicity is good for convenience’s sake, it can be a disadvantage because it doesn’t provide comprehensive information, nor does it provide full-scale module-level monitoring and optimisation.

If you want complete module-level monitoring, you’ll need to purchase additional monitoring and communication unit, which will is an additional cost. 

  • Operating at the String Level. It may have some difficulties in managing the optimiser since it is connected through WLAN; communications are sent often, which may lead to some struggles with the temporary effects such as individual clouds.

Tigo TS4-R App and Monitoring Portal

Through its Energy Intelligence Platform, the Tigo Optimiser can provide module-level monitoring for diagnosing any mismatch problem. In some cases, it can also operate with or without monitoring.

The module-level monitoring has a great impact in terms of maintenance and is valuable in helping improve the return on investment. 

To enable the monitoring feature, you must connect to the Module Optimisers, Tigo Access Point (TAP) and Cloud Connect Kit. However, if it’s already integrated with the inverter, you don’t need to install the Cloud Connect Kit anymore. 

With these apps, the safety of the optimiser is also upgraded. In tracking its performance, real-time data is transmitted through WLAN or the internet across the rooftop from the TS4-R optimisers to the Gateway, which is connected through the RS485 to the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA).

Tigo Access Point (TAP)

The Tigo Access Point (TAP) is a wireless connection to Tigo Flex-MLPE for module-level monitoring. 

The TAP helps improve the data management of your solar system through its smooth connection and communication with Tigo Smart modules and some retrofit devices. It boosts the level of safety and security of the module level deactivation.

It is combined with the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) to activate the wireless module-level monitoring.

You can easily install the TAP on the module’s frame without using many tools. Simply pair it up with the Tigo Smart App that you have to download on your mobile device to run a quick startup.

Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA)

Cloud Connect Advanced acts as a universal solar data logger, which activates valuable insight into the module-level performance data. It provides real-time and historical data. It also grants immediate access to the system data for installers.

This function can be activated via an internet connection, whether ethernet, cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity. This data logger is reinforced by all major string inverter and module manufacturers worldwide.

When paired with Tigo Access Point, you can activate module-level monitoring to Tigo TS4-O, TS4-M, and TS4-S.

It has Indoor Kits, including Gateway, Cloud Connect Advance, Tigo Access Point, and DIN rail power supply and mounting hardware. Indoor Kits are communications technology installed indoors. 

There is also an Outdoor Kit that is perfect for outdoor installation. The kit contains Gateway, Cloud Connect Advance, Tigo Access point, DIN rail power supply and mounting hardware, and an IP68-rated outdoor enclosure. 

Gateway (GTWY)

The Gateway offers wireless communications with each of the Tigo Energy Module Maximisers and 120 TS4-R components. The Tigo Energy Maximiser Systems provides active management, more energy, and improved safety for commercial, residential, and utility solar arrays. 

It is handily installed in the centre of the system and mounted at the rear of the module or on the frame. Tigo provide clamps for mounting the Gateway on the frame, and the device’s wireless range is up to 15 meters or 50 ft within the line of sight.

You can connect the Gateway to Cloud Connect Advanced through a wired RS485 connection. 

Is Solar Panel Optimisation Worth it? 

In our opinion, solar panel optimisation is certainly worth it. Even with its disadvantages, you gain immense benefits through increased energy production. It’s especially worthwhile if external factors such as shading, multiple orientations, and mismatch losses prevent your solar panels from generating maximum energy yield.

As such, the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser definitely justifies its price tag. Its array of unique features, benefits, cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and advanced technology place it a cut above its competitors. 

The Tigo Optimiser can easily excel in its role since it’s only required to work on shaded panels, so you don’t have to equip many optimisers for each panel or the whole system. For that utility alone, the TS4-R pays its way.

In short, the Tigo TS4-R DC Optimiser is among the best in the industry: its simple design and unique features let you customise and add another functionality to your panel. The device is also cost-effective because its selective deployment enables you to concentrate your TS4-R DC units solely on weak solar panels. 

On top of that, its advanced technology makes it more effective and helps it perform more competently in heavy shade.

Lastly, its certifications prove that the TS4-R is manufactured with great care and consideration because it strictly complies with industry standards. 

Next Steps…

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