Aurora enables users to incorporate multi-input microinverters and optimizers in their designs to create an accurate 3D model, performance simulation, and financial analysis.
Multi-input MLPEs are only available in New Aurora. You will not be able to place them in legacy Aurora, but they will appear if you open a design containing them in legacy Aurora.
What are MLPEs?
Module Level Power Electronics (MLPEs) are devices incorporated into a solar PV system to improve its performance in certain conditions, most notably microinverters and DC optimizers. Each device is connected to one (or a few) solar modules in the array.
What are multi-input (MI) MLPEs?
A multi-input device can be connected to more than a single panel. Aurora supports both devices that connect to more than one panel in series at the same port and devices that connect to single panels at many different ports.
Why use multi-input?
Single-input MLPEs increase energy output and more efficiently use space on a partially shaded roof, but are more expensive at scale. On the other hand, string inverters alone are cheaper and can maximize efficiency connecting arrays on different faces if designed properly, but can result in shading losses.
Multi-input DC optimizers and microinverters can be a great compromise between the two: maximizing the output of the roof space compared to string inverters alone while using fewer components compared to single-input MLPE, resulting in a balance between maximum output and cost.
Are inverters with external MPPTs supported?
Users can use AutoDesigner and AutoStringer to create systems that employ inverters with external MPPTs, including Generac’s PWRcell inverters and PV Link optimizers and, by end of Q2 2023, Schneider XW Pro Inverters with Conext Charge Controllers. Previously, this required workarounds (Generac and Schneider); now it’s as easy as selecting the components and running AutoStringer or AutoDesigner, which will optimize component placement, taking into account the electrical properties and cost of the components. As with other multi-input DC optimizer configurations, this functionality is available only in New Aurora and cannot be edited manually.
Adding multi-input MLPEs to a design
- You can add multi-input MLPEs through the AutoStringer option in the site menu. If you select them in the Solar Panel inspector, a modal will appear prompting you to Go to AutoStringer.
- You can also add multi-input MLPEs with Energy Mode AutoDesigner.
Selecting Multi-input MLPEs in AutoStringer
1. Select the panels that you would like to string and click AutoString at the bottom of the right inspector.
Note: As always, you can get to AutoStringer a number of ways, including through the solar panel inspector and by first clicking AutoStringer in the “String/Connect” toolbar item and then selecting your panels. MI MLPEs will behave the same way regardless.
2. Select the multi-input microinverter or optimizer you would like to string from the corresponding drop-down menu and click Run AutoStringer.
If the MLPE accepts more than 1 panel, it will be noted in the "X:1" label (where X is the number of panels it can connect to).
Validation will let you know if components are incompatible.
3. After AutoStringer finishes, the MLPEs will be added and optimally strung according to the component’s specifications.
4. To review the component’s specifications click on the MLPE and review in the component menu on the right.
5. To edit/update the chosen MLPE, you will have to use AutoStringer to overwrite the existing components and connections. It is not possible to edit the Multi-input MLPE from the component menu.
However, you can remove the MLPE by either selecting them and hitting the trash icon or by selecting their attached panels and clicking Remove on the Microinverter or DC Optimizer field in the Solar Panel inspector.
To confirm the list of supported Multi-input MLPEs you can review our component database. If we do not already support a component, it is very possible that we can support it if notified. Please reach out to our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org