A power optimizer is a DC to DC converter technology developed to maximize the energy harvest from solar photovoltaic or wind turbine systems. They do this by individually tuning the performance of the panel or wind turbine through maximum power point tracking, and optionally tuning the output to match the performance of the string inverter. Power optimizers are especially useful when the performance of the power generating components in a distributed system will vary widely, differences in equipment, shading of light or wind, or being installed facing different directions or widely separated locations.
Power optimizers for solar applications, can be similar to microinverters, in that both systems attempt to isolate individual panels in order to improve overall system performance. A microinverter essentially combines a power optimizer with a small inverter in a single case that is used on every panel, while the power optimizer leaves the inverter in a separate box and uses only one inverter for the entire array. The claimed advantage to this "hybrid" approach is lower overall system costs, avoiding the distribution of electronics.
... According to an IMS Research report from September 2012, BMSolar, Tigo Energy, SolarEdge Technologies Inc ... and Enphase Energy accounted for more than 90 percent of micro inverter and power optimizer shipments in 2011 ...
... was recently bought by SMA and released as the SunnyBoy 240, while Power-One has introduced the AURORA 300 ... Another approach is the power optimizer, which is essentially a DC-to-DC version of the microinverter - everything except the actual "inverter" ... The power optimizer has all the benefits of the microinverter in terms of maximum power point tracking performance, module isolation, monitoring etc ...
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“There is never a beginning, there is never an end, to the inexplicable continuity of this web of God, but always circular power returning into itself.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)