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Tigo optimiser review

Tigo, pronounced TYGO, not TEEGO are a relatively small American company founded in 2007 that by 2016 was ranked third in the World in the Micro inverter/DC optimiser industry.

Shade is the enemy of solar, and there are multiple ways available these days to combat its power reducing effect. One of those ways, and probably the most cost effective, is to use Tigo optimisers.

They can be connected to any solar panel, new or old, cost $85 plus install of about $10 per panel if done during a new install (more if it's a retro fit to an existing system). The real beauty of these things is not only do they work with any solar panel, they also work with any solar inverter too.

Here's a typical example of how it works

Let's say you have a string of ten panels on your roof.
The panels are all unshaded for the moment and each panel is creating 8 amps of current and 30 Volts = 240W of power because Volts x Amps = Watts

Ten minutes later, the angle of the sun changes and now a tree shades one of the panels dropping its current down to 5 amps and therefore it's power down to150W.

In this situation, normally all the other nine panels would drop their current down to match the worst performing panel so now we have ten panels producing 150W (1.5kW) instead of nine at 240W and one at 150W (2.31kW). A loss of 0.81kW or 35%.

If that shaded panel had a Tigo, you would get 2.31kW of power because the Tigo raises the current of the shaded panel to match the rest of the string. It does this by dropping the voltage. So, instead of 30V at 5 Amps making 150W of power the Tigo makes the panel produce 18.75V at 8 Amps. It's still 150W, but it means the other panels are not affected.

How does Tigo differ from SolarEdge and Enphase?

Tigo can be used on any panel and any inverter, so if you love your Fronius or SMA inverters features but have a bit of annoying shade, you can put Tigos on just those shaded panels and keep the rest as it is.

SolarEdge require you to put their own DC optimiser on every single panel and you have to use their inverter too.

Enphase puts an inverter on every panel. It doesn't have a central inverter

SolarEdge and Enphase are MUCH better if you want to take advantage of putting panels on multiple roof orientations. We don't recommend you use Tigos if your aim is to have a string of panels with some panels facing East and others West, or any other combination of orientations, including parallel strings (explained fully further down this page).

How do Tigo compare to Maxim enhanced panels like Trina MX & Jinko MX?

In the same way that we don't recommend putting Tigos on strings with panels facing in multiple directions, we say the same for Maxim enhanced panels. (Explained in detail below)

Maxim enhanced panels are better in that they have 3 x DC optimisers controlling a third of the panel each, so a partially shaded panel, if the sun falls across it from the side, not the bottom or top (its complicated !!) should lose less power than with just a single optimiser on the panel like Tigo (and SolarEdge and Enphase)

Maxim enhanced panels are a little cheaper. The Maxim chips inside the panel only add about $20 to the cost of the same panel without the chips. Tigos are about $100 extra per panel including the extra installation.

Tigos can connect to any panel. If you have your heart set on some beautiful 300W Q.Cells, or LG Neons or whatever takes your fancy, then you can go right ahead and have a Tigo connected. With Maxim panels, the chips have been inserted in the panel factory, so you are forced to take a fairly ordinary Jinko or Trina 265W panel because that's what they stuck the chips into.

Tigos don't mess with TV Reception. Maybe early versions did (don't know), just like the early version Maxim panels do, but Tigos don't now. We aren't selling the Maxim panels until the new version comes out in 2018. We are told Q.Cells are bringing out a Maxim panel and Trina and Jinko will have them in 270W or 275W panels next year.


Why it's best not to use Tigos and Maxim panels on strings of panels facing different directions..

Firstly let's clarify that there is no problem having two strings of panels running from your inverter with one string of panels facing North and the other facing East.

What we are referring to is where some of the panels are facing North and some are facing East ON THE SAME STRING. You can do that, no problem at all, with Enphase and SolarEdge.

With Tigos (and Maxims) being connected to a regular string inverter like a Fronius or SMA, etc etc the inverter is working hard all day optimising the power production of the entire string of panels. It has absolutely no idea that there might be a Tigo sitting on the string or one of the panels is a Maxim enhanced Jinko.

So the sun rises in the East (or so the story goes) and pretty soon the East facing panels are getting a full blast of sun and they want to produce their maximum output. However the Tigos or Maxims connected to them are saying, steady on, we have to deliver the same current as the rest of the panels on the North roof which isn't yet getting full sun, so it REDUCES the power output of the East facing panels to match the North. It's the benefit of the Tigo working in reverse.

Then when the sun is blasting down on the North facing panels the Tigo/Maxims panels on the East roof, aren't getting enough sun to keep up, so they do their normal thing and match the current flow of the North, but make less power than the North facing panels. Get it? It's a lose lose situation.

Having said that, there may be situations where it turns out to be a perfect solution despite the loss in power.

We are happy to discuss it with you.


 is the web site for Good Day Mate Pty Ltd trading as SOLAR4EVER Company registered in WA on 26th October 2008 (A.C.N.133884938)

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