• Energy Production & Storage
  • |
  • EFR32BG21 Series 2 SoCs

Bluetooth Low Energy Connectivity Enhances Safety of Solar PV Systems


Climate concerns, depletion of coal resources, and rising energy costs are driving dramatic changes in the energy landscape. Technological advancements are progressing to the point where solar renewable energy is positioned to become a primary, financially viable, energy source.

Tigo Energy, a leading Flex Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE) manufacturer founded in 2007, empowers consumers to reap the sustainability benefits of clean energy. Supporting customers on seven continents, Tigo systems maximize energy production and safety while decreasing the operating costs of PV systems. Activating in one of the fastest-growing market segments in the solar industry of direct current (DC) power optimizers and microinverters, Tigo offers innovative solar power conversion and storage solutions.

The Challenge

A feature-rich, multiprotocol SoC platform to ensure robust, long-range wireless connectivity for a fire safety product line, generate rapid shutdown signals, and meet the US NEC Rapid Shutdown safety code for first responders.

The Solution

Designed to increase processing capability, the Bluetooth Low Energy EFR32BG21 SoCs improve RF performance and lower active current. By embedding the Bluetooth Low Energy SoCs, Silicon Labs offers rich analog and digital peripherals, powerful memory options, and a robust Bluetooth Low Energy radio with excellent receive sensitivity.

The Result

A resilient, high-throughput digital twin of individual PV solar sites with long-range connectivity in harsh environments for emergency stop switching by automatically detecting faults and facilitating communication with the cloud for historical data logging and advanced analytics.

Interoperability and Choice: Key to Tigo’s B2B Business Model

As a promoter for innovation and flexibility, Tigo’s offering is multi-modular rather than a wall garden all-in-one product suite, where customers can choose the MLPE features and hardware equipment - inverters and modules. Customers range from residential and commercial to multi-megawatt utility plants and deploy the Tigo electronics on their PV panels for performance optimization, rapid shutdown, and granular module-level monitoring that tracks output throughout the lifespan of the system.

Key to its business model is building a robust B2B ecosystem with diverse installation companies, where installers play the role of energy consultants and are the liaison with the home or commercial owners.

Tigo’s Bluetooth LE-Powered Photovoltaic Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS)

With the momentum solar energy is gaining, the National Fire Protection Association recognized the impact a fire hazard might have on human lives. As a result, a new requirement for rooftop solar PV systems was introduced and went into effect in 2020, requiring a reduced voltage -- below 30VDC in less than 30 seconds -- in case of a rapid shutdown.

From a vendor evaluation process that included five candidates, Tigo chose to integrate the Silicon Labs Bluetooth Low Energy EFR32BG21 SoC into its Safety TS4 Flex MLPE product line for rapid shutdown and powerup switching. The BG21 Bluetooth Low Energy SoC was a natural choice because it supports robust RF communication for long range, its rich analog and digital peripherals, and powerful memory packages for over-the-air (OTA) updates and future capabilities. To mitigate any security gaps or data breaches, Silicon Labs introduces the highest level of industry security certification at the SoC level, PSA Level 3 -Certified Secure Vault™.

Beyond the Bluetooth Low Energy wireless performance, Tigo praises the unparalleled proactive technical support offered by the Silicon Labs team and the ease of use of the extensively tested software tools. With access to Simplicity Studio, the Tigo team benefits from the device-specific Web and SDK resources, configuration tools, and an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) featuring industry-standard code editors, compilers, and debuggers.

The Next Generation Tigo Flex MLPE

With the successful partnership, quick delivery time, and proven results, Tigo will be embedding Silicon Labs SoCs across its entire TS4 Flex MLPE portfolio.

Learn More About Our Smart Solar PV System Applications

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