JinkoSolar has launched its JinkoMX smart module in Australia, which features in-module DC optimizers that optimise output in suboptimal conditions, such as shading.

The technology was used this year in an upgrade of Europe’s oldest 1MW PV power plant, in Toledo, Spain. Since it was switched on in 1994 output from the plant had dropped 37%.

After installation of 260W JinkoSolar smart modules, the plant was able to produce up to 1,400MWh a year.

The panel uses technology from Maxim Integrated, which supplies components to major solar brands internationally, including Jinko, Trina and ET Solar. JinkoSolar is the first panel manufacturer to introduce the technology in the Australian market, in its JinkoMX module.

Each module has three maximum power point tracker (MPPT) channels, so that if any single cell develops a problem then only one-third of the panel is affected, not the entire panel.

“We’re able to minimise the degradation of the module by isolating any of the mismatch you might have to one-third of the panel,” Maxim Integrated executive director Seth Kahn told EcoGeneration while visiting Melbourne from headquarters at San Jose, California.

Systems that include imperfections such as shading or multiple mounting planes will deliver better output if panels are each controlled by their own maximum power point tracker channel on the inverter, Kahn says.

“Having maximum power point tracking at the module level instead of at the inverter level adds a tremendous amount of design flexibility for the system.”

The technology is explained in a cute little video.