Smart modules are a type of solar panel that has a power optimizer embedded in the solar module at the time of manufacturing. Typically the power optimizer is embedded in the junction box of the solar module. Power optimizers attached to the frame of a solar module, or connected to the photovoltaic circuit through a connector, are not properly considered smart modules. 
Smart modules are different from traditional solar panels because of power electronics embedded in the module offers enhanced functionality such as panel-level power point tracking , monitoring, and enhanced safety.
Solar panel installers saw significant growth between 2008 and 2013.  Due to that growth many installers had projects that were not “ideal”  This challenge has been addressed by the re-popularization of micro-inverters and the invention of power optimizers.
Solar panels manufacturers partnered with micro-inverter companies to create AC modules and power optimizer companies with modules to create smart modules.  In 2013 many solar panel manufacturers announced and began shipping their smart module solutions. 
It is estimated that smart modules will grow rapidly with some manufacturers expecting smart modules will account for 30% of their shipments. [ quote needed ]
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