In Blog, Inverters, Micro Inverters & Optimisers, Solar Panels

Maxim panels are gaining traction in Australia as a superior solution for optimising solar panels in shaded conditions. But does Maxim really work?  In a previous blog, I explained why I think Maxim optimisers are the closest thing to shade proof solar, but at that point, I had not performed any testing myself.  It’s been six months since we installed our first Maxim integrated panels and around five months since I started running comparative testing of Maxim on my warehouse roof. This post will reveal the results of my testing and the complications I had along the way.

Update: June 2019. This post has a lot of technical content explaining the testing I performed, but there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then. If you want to cut to the chase, scroll to the end of the post. I’ll reveal the best solar optimiser in 2019 given not only my initial reseach and testing, but expereince from hundreds of our residential installations.

The comparison was always going to be with the optimiser incumbent, SolarEdge. The inverter to match with Maxim optimisers was a no-brainer: Fronius. The question has been asked: “why can’t we match Maxim integrated panels with external SolarEdge optimisers.”
You just can’t.

The comparative test, that was meant to take a week or two,  turned into a six-month learning curve, some of which I’ll share in this post.

Let me be clear of my bias. SolarEdge is no longer my friend; Fronius is. I don’t think that deserves an apology or even an explanation but in a breath:

  • The Fronius Smart Meter, load control, Solar.Web, reliability, in-built DC isolator, Austrian built.
  • SolarEdge legal threats 

The original test was set up as follows:

So when I had the systems running over the Christmas break and SolarEdge was continually outperforming Fronius Maxim, I was in denial. The Maxim/Fronius system was running about five per cent worse in unshaded conditions and only equal to SolarEdge when individual cell strings were shaded. So although Maxim was not affected so badly by shade, something was happening to make Maxim panels run worse than SolarEdge in non-shaded conditions. “Maxim is a farce,” I thought.

I tested and retested. I checked the panel flash-test data. It was comparable. I spoke regularly with SolarEdge, Fronius, Maxim and Jinko to try to nut out the problem. All companies showed a vested interest in my testing and spent time with me trying to make sense of my results. I switched my whole current kWh meters around, adjusted DC cable lengths and ensured both inverters were on the same AC voltage reference. One day in frustration I disconnected and reconnected the SolarEdge inverter under load. Don’t try that at home. The inverter let the smoke out and I didn’t catch it. Aaaaargh!  It was after this I wrote a curt email to my new “friends” at Maxim an email advising them we were no longer friends and I wanted a refund.

“Maxim is a farce,” I thought.

The next day I thought again and set up the third test on my warehouse roof -as a control:


With all 3 systems running together, I discovered my new Canadian/Fronius panels were running equal to the Maxim/Fronius but still five per cent worse than SolarEdge system.

I then added external SolarEdge optimizers to the standard Canadian panels and switched them over to my SolarEdge inverter. Waddayaknow, they were running five per cent better than Fronius/Maxim. It was clearly not the fault of Maxim. Either SolarEdge was boosting the performance of the panels, or Fronius was hindering. Either way, it was not looking good for Fronius. I called SolarEdge who claimed that, at most, I would see a one per cent increase in unshaded conditions due to mismatch. However, with new, clean, unshaded panels, SolarEdge probably wasn’t boosting the performance of the panels at all. By process of elimination, I had to blame Fronius.

Maxim’s input

I arranged a tele-conference with Maxim in China and in the USA. Daniel from Maxim honed in on the apparent problem. I only have a string of 8 panels on the Fronius 5kW inverter. My string voltage was dropping below the Fronius MPPT optimal range with the high summer temperatures. I pulled out the spec and at went downstairs to read the actual reading of the inverter. “You idiot,” I said out loud to myself. But at least I knew how to solve the problem. I knew the voltage had to be over 240 volts to get the best performance out of the inverter, but surely being a tad under 240v wasn’t going to affect the efficiency by five per cent?! If this is the case, then Fronius has some serious design restrictions and SolarEdge may have won the contest!

Is Fronius to blame?

I called Rod from Fronius.

“Mr Maxim, what’s happenin’,”

answered Rod. He’s always happy that bloke. I should get a job with Fronius, then I’d be happy too.

“Rod, I think I’ve found the problem. If my string voltage is under 240 volts DC, how much power do you think I will lose? Five per cent?”

Ah really M.C? Nah, that doesn’t add up. You’re not going to get a five per cent loss because you’re just under our optimal MPPT voltage range. Hey, one of our Engineers will be over from Fronius in Austria in a few weeks and we’re coming up to Brisbane. We’ll drop into your office and see if we can’t work it out. Have you met Keisha?


A visit from Fronius.

Rod, Marcus, Hans and Keisha came for a meeting in the end of March. Keshia Noronho became the Managing Director of Fronius Australia in January 2017 when her brother Adrian Noronho took up his new role in Fronius International. Adrian is a top bloke. It’s obvious that the success of Fronius in Australia – and the positivity and intelligence that Fronius Australia oozes – is owed to Adrian’s leadership. After meeting his sister Keisha briefly, I get the impression that Fronius is in safe hands.

We talked about the Fronius roadmap and the future of batteries. But I was keen to get one thing sorted. What was wrong with my Fronius/ Maxim system?! If we are losing five per cent in performance because we are under the optimal MPPT voltage, then Fronius has some serious design restrictions.

Rod came prepared. “We have a power ratio problem,” said Rod. We looked over the Fronius efficiency data charts. The reason my system was underperforming was simply because I was running 2.12kW of panels on a 5kW inverter. The inverter runs better with higher power input.

Facepalm.We never sell the True Value Solar style “2kw of panels with a huge upgradable 5kw inverter”. However, I had naively figured that because I ran both inverters with the same setup, any insignificant losses would occur on both Fronius and SolarEdge. Seems I was wrong. There were a couple of ways to test, but the quickest was to throw another 8 panels on each system.


A Maxim retest

I redesigned the systems with 16 panels on each string. This increased the voltage and the power in both systems.


It worked. Who’d a thunk? Finally, Fronius/Maxim was performing about as well as SolarEdge in unshaded conditions. Fronius seemed to work worse in low light conditions when the power was sitting below 1000 watts, but better in the middle of the day with full power. Over a 7 day period, SolarEdge and Maxim / Fronius were performing almost identically.

Remember I only installed 4.2kW of panels, so if our common 6.5kW were installed on each system, Fronius may have marginally outperformed. But we are splitting hairs.


Fronius/Maxim VS SolarEdge shade test

After four months of testing, I could finally perform my comparative shade test.

I performed different shade tests over a number of weeks trying to gauge the difference in production between Maxim and SolarEdge. The test was made by shading multiple cells on both systems and reading the results after about 24 hours. It’s hard to know how to quantify the increase in performance, so I have broken it down to it’s simplest form.

For every cell that was shaded (in one cell string only), Maxim ran  0.3% to 0.4% better than SolarEdge.

This test was relatively consistent if I shaded 4 cells or 40 cells on the one cell string and in multiple panels across both systems.

To try and put an actual value on this any given roof would be like counting hairs on your head.

  • First, my test used fly screen for consistency of shading. How accurately represents shading compared to tree shading is yet unknown.
  • Second, try counting how many cells you would have shaded in a non-uniform manner across your panels, across different times of the day, and different months of the year.

The point is that I have proven the claim. A Maxim/ Fronius system (designed correctly) will give higher output in scattered shade conditions than SolarEdge. With 32 cells shaded, I measured that maxim had an increase in performance of more than 10 percent over a 3 day period.

With 32 cells shaded, I measured that maxim had an increase in performance of more than 10 percent over a 3 day period.

Field experience issues

In total, we have installed 27 systems with Maxim panels.  As subjective as this next statement is, Fronius Solar.Web data shows me Maxim is producing well in the various homes we have used them with. Our electricians have also commented on how surprised Maxim is working in scattered shade.

The problem with is, of the 27 systems installed, we have had 13 that have caused issues with TV reception. In every case, it has been in a home where the TV antenna was right on the edge of having bad reception, and Maxim interference pushed it over the edge. To fix these jobs we have just replaced the antenna, but we are looking into getting a filter that will resolve the problem more easily. We’ve also had TV interference issues with SolarEdge and Enphase in the past, though it seems SolarEdge have fixed that issue with their most recent optimisers.

My next test: The new SolarEdge HD Wave

While I’m still a fan of Fronius, I’ve gained further insight into the benefit of SolarEdge.SolarEdge is about to release a new HD Wave inverter, which used a new technology with a higher efficiency. SolarEdge is also releasing products which will compete with Fronius’s load control. Gavin from SolarEdge has generously loaned me one of the only two HD wave inverters in the country to test. In my next test, I’ll compare a 3kW solarEdge HD Wave with a 3kW Fronius Primo.

Update June 2019

Update June 2019: I performed lengthy tests with the SolarEdge inverter and originally wrote a positive review. We installed 130 SolarEdge systems and had ridiculously high failure rates and performance issues. In 2018 I went to SolarEdge Headquarters in Israel to discuss my concerns. I then updated my SolarEdge review outlining the massive issues we have had with SolarEdge. That’s when the SolarEdge legal threats began.

So in 2019, what is the answer to the question: “SolarEdge or Maxim?”

The answer is Tigo optimisers because:

  • Maxim has left the Australian market because of issues with TV reception
  • SolarEdge have all types of issues that I address in my SolarEdge review.
  • Tigo is reliable and flexible. Read my Tigo review.

Moral of the story, it’s one thing to do testing – it’s another to have field experience.

Mark Cavanagh

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43 Comments on Maxim Solar Panel Optimisers vs SolarEdge – Test Results

Chris said :Guest Report 10 months ago

Hi Mark, so nice your youtoube videos and your testing. I am working with solar since almost ever, my father started doing pv off-grid system in 1985. Just a quick question, is it possible to mix maxim-optimized pv modules with non optimized modules in the same string? technically i would say yes, when I look on the maxim datasheet. our austrian supplier kioto/sonnenstromfabrik has got modules with or without maxim otpimizers, we also usually use tigo, but technically i would prefer maxim (just partial where permanent shadow), rest un-optimized.

    Mark C said :administrator Report 4 years ago

    Hi Reza. Unfortunately Maxim never really took off. I heard they were being installed in some cheaper Chinese panels recently, but not in any quality panels. I'd prefer to get a quality no-Chinese panel with a few Tigos if needed, or with Enphase Microinverters if you have significant shade issues.

      Reza said :Guest Report 4 years ago

      Hi Are there any updates on Maxim in Australia in 2020? Do you still believe that it's one of the best solutions for mitigating shade?

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      Eric said :Guest Report 4 years ago

      Hi John, I am curious if you have tested the AE-Solar modules which claim to have 30% more power output. In addition, I believe these could be tested together with optimizers. Regards,

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      Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

      Hi John, I've done some testing with QCell split cell testing. It seems there is some advantage when you have hard shade creeping up from the bottom - in some situations. I think it's more about the fact you can get higher watt class out of the panel if the panel when you split the cell. Optimisers will always trump split cells - and put both together and you have the most shade tolerant solution you can get. The problem however with many split cell panels is the PERC technology. Look up our recent blog on "PERC Solar Panels - A looming disaster."

        John Rutkowski said :Guest Report 5 years ago

        Hi , I was reading your comparisons with Maxim and SolarEdge and I found it very interesting. Just wondering why Maxim isn't sold in Australia anymore? What are your thoughts on the obsession with split panels in the industry these days? Have your guys run any tests on them? To me they offer no advantage in terms of shade tolerance over normal panels if both split panel sections are partially shaded and/ or several of them are shaded in a string. Would you agree with that? I think micros and or optimisers will always trump split panels considerably in shaded situations and also to a lesser extent in non shaded situations. Agreed? Best Regards John Rutkowski Sunset Solar

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        Mark C said :administrator Report 5 years ago

        Interesting Michael - no nothing much is happening with maxim as far as I know.

          Michael said :Guest Report 6 years ago

          I see qcells have made a maxim optimized q.peak g4.1/max any idea if it is coming to Australia.

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          Mark C said :administrator Report 6 years ago

          Hi Tony, Ah, seems I need to update this blog. Have a read of my solar edge inverter review. I had some fairly big issues - not just with the product! I spoke with Suntech a few days ago at all energy in Melbourne about their smart panels. The bloke wasn't very helpful but he said someone will contact me. I want to get them in and check them out. I would now probably lean towards Tigo after doing a lot of testing. Look at this blog:

            Tony said :Guest Report 6 years ago

            Hi Mark - really interesting. It seems your view has changed over the last year in favour of SE? I'm struggling with the decision to go for a 10-12KW Suntech Smart panel (Maxim Chip) with Fronius inverter or the Solar Edge, although I don't think they have a inverter beyond 10kW? Do you have any views on the Suntech Smart Panel?

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            Mark C said :administrator Report 6 years ago

            Hi Alex, Yes, generally Solaredge say they are better because they only have 1 MPPT. And there can be some interference with the two (if you use more advanced inverters like Fronius, SMA and ABB) but that can be solved by turning off the dynamic peak manager on the inverter. There is also an inherent downside to having a fixed voltage in the SolarEdge which leads to significant losses in the real world. I'm just back from meeting with SolarEdge in Israel and am just about to explain this all in an updated SolarEdge blog.

              Alex Dinovitser said :Guest Report 6 years ago

              I can see the root cause of the problem and I'd like to understand better how the Maxim/Fronius actually works. The difference with the SE system is there is no MPPT in the inverter, the MMPT is only in the optimizer. With Maxim/Fronius, there is an MPPT in the optimizer, but there is also an MPPT in the inverter. The two MPPTs will conflict, (or cause each other to become unstable) unless some allowance for this is made in the design. This explains why the SE is generally better, unless Fronius can add a feature to their inverter to turn of the MPPT and set a fixed input voltage, just like SE have.

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              Mark Cavanagh said :administrator Report 6 years ago

              Yeh Good points Gergely. Panel monitoring certainly has its advantages. And the warranty goes back to Jinko or Trina. Jinko are a pain to deal with on warranty issues.

                Gergely said :Guest Report 6 years ago

                It seems that maxim is much finer in optimising, but there is no monitoring of it. As I know SE optimiser has 25 year manufacturer warranty and maxim ? maybe the its the same as the panel manufacturer warranty, ~ 10 - 12 years. And there is no monitoring to claim problems, which is a realy big advantage of solaredge. So maxim performs better, but solaredge has more benefits despite of its not as efficient in optimising shade as maxim. By the way, if there is a warranty claim on maxim panel, you must take the whole panel, while in an se topology you just need to change the optimiser, which is more comfortable.

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                Max said :Guest Report 6 years ago

                Hi Marc, thank you very much for your reply. Because of your comment I decided to take standard LG-modules without any optimizer. As some people told me in a german pv-forum the fronius inverter has a very good shade management. So I give it a try and in case that it won't work as expected I will buy some Tigo optimizers. That you very much for your help. Greetings from Hamburg Max

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                Mark C said :administrator Report 6 years ago

                Hi Max. I was talking to Qcells last week. We are trying to tell them if they went maxim We would sell them like hotcakes. They were toying with the idea but nothing is happening this year. Maxim claim on their website that many other panels are using the Maxim chip - but it's not true.

                  Mark C said :administrator Report 6 years ago

                  Here is my comparison as it stands today. With Maxim, unfortunately, you can only use Trina and Jinko Panels. Jinko has proven useless with their warranty. Both panels have visibly turned into a low-grade Chinese panel. Tigo can be linked with any panel. I'd recommend Sunpower as a premium or QCell as a middle of the range. If you want to go Chinese, Canadian are a good quality low-end panel. Maxim doesn't really get a look in anymore.

                    Max said :Guest Report 6 years ago

                    You wrote: While Maxim is great, Jinko and Trina have become really low grade panels, and they are the only panels currently using Maxim. As I saw on the website of maxim also Hanwha Q Cells and Suntech use Maxim Optimizer on the panels. Currently a german shop offers me these panels: Suntech STP300S-20/WFW-MX HYPRO (+MAXIM) Do you have any experiences with these panels? And many thanks for your great report!!!

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                    Mark C said :administrator Report 6 years ago

                    Hi Scott, To date, we have not had SolarEdge pick up a panel failure, but it's more like insurance for the next 10 years. I wouldn't go for Maxim anymore. While Maxim is great, Jinko and Trina have become really low grade panels, and they are the only panels currently using Maxim. I would use SolarEdge or Tigo. The benefit of Tigo is you can go with Fronius- which is a better inverter. But if you want to go Fronius, Tigo AND individual panel monitoring, it will cost you a lot more than SolarEdge. For my place, I went Fronius, Sunpower and Tigo, and I didn't bother with individual panel monitoring. (Sunpower probably wont have any issues, and any major issues will be picked up with Fronius monitoring.)

                      Chris said :Guest Report 6 years ago

                      Tigo or Maxim? It would be great to see a comparison between the two

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                      Peter Greenberg said :Guest Report 6 years ago

                      Greetings, Interesting experiments. I bought some early ET Solar modules with Maxim chips. They sat around for a while before we were ready to install them. Maxim let us know that Jinko had issues with communications at an airport in hawaii and from what I hear had to take down 1 mw of modules. ET took back about 2/3 of our modules. I used the rest in a rural area, hoping we would avoid any issues. Unfortunately there is a cell tower 1/4 mile away and AT&T let us know that the modules are giving them issues, before they were attached to inverters and the grid. Once we had attched to the grid after waiting 6 months to get new transformers we turned on the system. We still had issues with AT&T. We tried ferrite cores on the wires coming out of the junction box and copper foil over the junction box on a string. This didnt do much. We now have to move 270 kw of modules to a very rural area far away from a cell tower. Maxim has been extremely poor in dealing with this and said they only deal with their module manufacturing customers, ET. ET Solar in the US is currently filing for bankruptcy. It may be a great chip and ideally shielded now, but they have a bad history for a large company in what they have done with solar.

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                      Scott said :Guest Report 6 years ago

                      Wow, I think I just spent a day reading about Maxim, TIGO and Solar Edge! And most of it here, you and your team are certainly committed to getting it right. I am trying to choose between a JINKO Maxim/Fronius and a JINKO Solar edge HD solution. I am having trouble with the idea of not having panel level monitoring though, in all your experience how often have you found a panel fail and need to be identified?

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                      Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                      Hi David, I can't see a problem with mixing it in this situation, but i haven't tested it. I would suggest (at minimum) doing the whole string with Maxim. Theoretically it wouldn't cost more to mix them, unless the panel width is different.

                        David said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                        Hi Mark, Do you know if it is possible to mix Jinko MX panels and normal Jinko panels in a string? I am planning to install 22 Jinko panels for my solar system - 10 panels facing East (string #1) - 12 panels facing West (String #2) There is partial shading issue for my West side panels during Winter months. up to 2/5 of the West facing roof is shaded in the afternoon by trees next door. To reducer cost, I am wondering if it is possible to deploy 7 Jinko Eagle panels + 5 Jinko MX panels on the shaded area. As a result, my solar system will consist of - 10 x 270W Jinko Eagle panels facing East (string #1) - 7 x 270W Jinko Eagle panels + 5 x 270W Jinko MX panels facing West (String #2) Do you know if it is possible to mix the Maxim panels with non Maxim panels in a string? If ok to mix, will there be extra configuration at the installation?

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                        Sam Cereci said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                        Hi Mark Dont be in rush but we are also looking forward worlds first test of Maxim and Tigo. Maxim is also still following you.

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                        Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                        Thanks Peter. The reason we moved away from Tigo is because their panel level monitoring seemed a but clunky. I prefer that solaredge has it all the monitoring on one platform, and it is a much more simple set up without extra components. We still use Tigo for "selective deployment" - if we only need to optimise a few panels from shade issues. Even if Tigo did marginally outperform SolarEdge (I would doubt it) I think the added benefits of a simple panel level monitoring might win out. But, yeh, sounds like its a test I need to do anyway!

                          Peter Kilby said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                          Hi Mark, thank you very much for your informative blog and engaging in the comments. I too am interested to see the comparison between Maxim and Tigo. I'd like to know if I could get a little more output from the combination of Tigo optimisers and SunPower panels in comparison to Maxim integrated panels, obviously at a price. The higher efficiency panels might also allow fewer more optimally placed panels with less shading.

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                          Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                          Hi, Michael. Thanks for your comments. I have considered doing this with TIGO. We actually have all the gear on the roof to do that, just needs rearranging. At the moment I'm doing some individual panel comparisons with Tigo, so when that is done (and I get a chance) I'll do a comparison with Tigo and SolarEdge! I agree it would be interesting to see the comparison!

                            Michael Spies said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                            Hi Mark I'm an Interim Manager and Consultant in Germany and have been doing in-depth Research into all three: Solar Edge, TIGO and Maxim as well as into microinverters, to recommend a strategy to one of Germany's module manufacturers. I was thrilled to discover your blog and read about this test and all the other things I saw. If you have gone deep into Solar Edge, you will know that they optimize by using "Buck" and "Boost" to achieve a stable voltage for their Inverter. Furthermore they have to do this constantly and on all modules. This consumes between 3-5% of the total energy the Array produces and partially kills the advantage they generated through optimisation. (it also explains why they freduently loose when tests involve clear sky.) Tigo on the contrary, only activates when there is mismatch that needs to be addressed. Furthermore through Impedance matching and predictive IV they find Maximum power under changing light circumstances much faster, more precisely and using less energy than Solar Edge. On top of all this it is also possible to implement the Tigo optimiser selectively which further improves energy consumption. However I have also been looking deeply into Maxim (a very cool concept, which needs shut-down capability (in development) and module Level Monitoring (not in development). I have talked with the Producer, I have spoken to those implementing it (JINKO, TRINA and others) and have spoken to installers who have mounted it. We have also analysed the chip and know tht it gets very hot (under ist Silicone) I would be enthralled if you could do the same test you did with Solar Edge unsing TIGO instead and see where the results end up in this case. What about it??? I'd be happy to deepen the conversation. Kind regards Michael Spies

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                            Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                            Hi Kye, Interesting to hear that you have had such a bad experience with reception issues. If you have little to no shade, I wouldn't be too worried about using optimizers at all. I guess the external optimizers they are offering are Tigo? If you have shade on just a few panels, then you could ask them for 290W Jinko and maybe just a few Tigo optimisers "selectively deployed" on shaded panels.

                              kye topping said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                              hi Mark, very interesting read. I recently had a 5kw fronius inverter installed along with 24 jinko maxim panels, now it works beautifully the problem is it interferes with my neighbours TV reception. my solar installer have been great and tried to replace his antenna but that did not work nor did relocating it due to the proximity and direction. so as a short term fix they supplied him with a digital satellite receiver however this is not a long term solution as technically i am still in breach of the radio communications act which i discovered when my neighbour reported the interference to ACMA. my solar installer has now given me 2 options, option 1 replace all the panels with standard jinko 270w panels and install external optimisers. option 2 replace all panels with standard jinko 290w panels but no optimisers which will up my solar performance by approx 0.6Kw. obviously i realise I'm restricted to 5kw with the inverter but it doesn't hurt to have the ability to produce more than can be used. my question is what would be the best option to pick, my roof gets little to no shade other than clouds as my property is quite raised compared to surrounding properties however I'm curious if i choose not to go with optimisers will this effect any ability with battery storage or future upgrades? would certainly appreciate your advice thanks

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                              Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                              Hi Alan, Thanks for your comments. You raise a good point. The answer is simple, but I probably didn't explain it clearly. I used a third set of panels as a control. The third set was just plain Canadian 265. When I put on external SolarEdge optimisers, they performed like the SolarEdge system. When I put them straight on the Fronius inverter (no shade), (i had 2 Fronius inverters running) They performed identically to the Maxim panels on a Fronius inverter. Shame i didnt use Solar Analytics to record it, but the results were really clear. Both inverter data sheets on power/voltage/efficiency ratios were in line with my results -which was really affirming. Does this answer your concern?

                                Alan said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                                Mark I'm in Melbourne and looking to buy a 4KW PV system. I'm not a Solar aficionado but I am interested in optimisation. I expect, (probably) like you that imbedding MPPT functionality or more within the panel - even at the cell level is the way of the future. That said I was surprised by the design of your test. Whilst you gush effusively about the result vindicating Maxim - it wasn't clear to me that that was so. Obviously you were never able to control the testing to just test Maxim against Solar Edge Optimisers - the panels were always different. Presumably this design weakness will always be so when performing field tests even if the panels were from the same manufacturer. Nevertheless you make claims about the relative low light or shading abilities of both optimiser approaches? Why mightn't the characteristics of the respective panels have had an influence on the result? Why are you able to assert that differences are down to the inverters? As a "leading light" in the industry I expected more rigour - or is the fault mine - a lack of understanding of the science behind PV? The battle between Solar Edge and Enphase shows the price sensitivity of the solar industry. Solar Edge GM 34% and Enphase 13% (Q1/17). Enphase is (still) loosing money. You trumpet "With 32 cells shaded, I measured that maxim had an increase in performance of more than 10 percent over a 3 day period". Even if that was so, and you provide no substantive corroberation, if there is a price premium will the market pay it? Presumably Enphase is in the difficult financial position they are in, not because of the competition with Maxim (yet) but Soar Edge. Obviously they have had to cut margins to compete on price with SE. It wouldn't surprise me to see that Maxim have to do the same thing. Maybe the outcome will be different - too early to tell. Regards Alan

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                                Mark Cavanagh said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                                Hi Mark, I just had a look at your roof line. You don't need panel optimisation because you don't seem to have shade. REC panels are a better panel than the Jinko panels that have embedded Maxim optimesers. Because REC panels don't have "Module level power electronics" it will not interfere with your TV reception at all. Stick with REC for your place!

                                  Mark Cavanagh said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                                  Hi Peter, Thanks! Yeh, that's correct (you can get that detail on most standard panel specs). But it is also to do with the inverter. Inverters have a power ratio efficiency curves, so a 5kW inverter runs less efficiently with only 1kW on it. Fronius runs a bit worse than solarEdge early mornings.

                                    Mark Cavanagh said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                                    Thanks, Craig! If only! Maxim with Twin Peaks, that would be the best! Maxim is inbuilt to the panels, and as far as I know only Jinko and Trina currently offer Maxim. I've asked REC, and it seems it's not in their plan. But ask them! The more that ask, the better chance we've got of them acting! Mark

                                      Craig said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                                      Hey Mark. Great write up mate. In the comments you say we can use REC or Sunpower panels with the Fronius inverter. Can you can a REC panels with Maxim optimisers?

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                                      Peter T said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                                      G'day Mark. Thanks for another great article mate. In regards to early morning and late evening performance, I must say that I was under the impression that this was more a factor of the panels themselves than any specific inverter. Is my understanding incorrect here?

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                                      Mark Blayney said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                                      Very interesting read thanks Mark. It has made me wonder how the system I am getting from you would compare in relation to that test ~ 24x275w REC Twin Peak panels + Fronius Primo 5 ? And we get sometimes flakey TV reception where we are at Caboolture so will this system affect the signal negatively, as in will we need some sort of filter or extra signal booster ?

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                                      Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                                      No Problem Andrew. Glad we got the result we were looking for. I was just briefing Steve our electrician on your job. Should be a great one for Maxim! Mark Cavanagh

                                        Mark C said :administrator Report 7 years ago

                                        Hi, Mark. I'm Still not so sure about SolarEdge. So many benefits of Fronius. First, I'd AC couple Tesla rather than go to DC coupling an LG. Affordable load control for hot water, and it just seems like a better build (Australia vs China). Next, we can use REC or Sunpower panels without the massive added cost of external optimisers. I'm just testing the new SolarEdge HD Wave and I must admit low light (or low power) is a factor to consider. Mark Cavanagh

                                          Mark Stevens said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                                          If the question is “SolarEdge or Maxim?”, it sounds like the answer is: Maxim if there's partial shading SolarEdge if there's no shading, as you gain the benefits of better low-light performance, panel-level monitoring, 'Safe DC', a longer warranty and the option of DC Coupled battery storage

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                                          Andrew said :Guest Report 7 years ago

                                          Thank for the writeup, Mark, just in time for the 50 Maxim panels you're installing for us next week!

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