Very interesting MPPT control method. I like the micro-inverter idea as it is the most efficient way to dump energy to the grid. Managing multiple 200-300W power is much easier than a huge 10kW stuff. Great article!
Using a power optimizer is not complicated and system design is straightforward. For a low voltage lighting application, the power optimizer will allow the maximum amount of power available to be extracted from the panel.
The power output of a solar panel changes a slight amount with time and this is specified in the panel manufacturer’s data sheet. This case the power optimizer can be used to very good advantage because as the Vmp and Imp points change with time, the SPV1020 dynamically tracks these changes and enables the maximum power available to be extracted from the panel.
We are looking at the same thing. The article compared a microinverter delivering 115VAC, not necessarily Enphase which delivers a higher voltage, to a higher voltage, lower current DC system.
The SPV1020 has performance monitoring features available through its SPI bus that include input voltage, input current and duty cycle. Output voltage can be computed from input voltage and duty cycle.
Interestingly, a solar panel sales guy came by on the day that this article was published. I was astonished to find out that I could actually save money immediately. It turns out that we use double the "average" user and for anything beyond the norm, the 15 cents/kwh goes to about 30cents/kwh. Thank you PGE. This makes getting enough panels to knock our electricity useage in half has a quick payback period. (7-8 years).
If you are a do it yourselfer, it can be even less. see
for example pricing. And no, I am in no way affiliated with these folks. They popped out of a simple google search. YMMV.
Optimizers can be used for batteries as well as AC grid systems. STMicroelectronics has an evaluation board with P/N STEVAL-ISV005V1 that uses the SPV1020 and SEA05 constant voltage constant current controller to charge a 240W lead acid battery.
You would need to monitor the panel output voltage and input voltage.. This can be done through the SPI bus in the SPV1020. The SPI bus provides a direct measurement of input voltage, input current and duty cycle. Output voltage can be computed by Vout = Vin/(1-du).