This paper presents a novel two-stage optimization approach for the optimal sizing of static var compensators and their operational management to maximize the photovoltaic integration capacity of distribution systems. In the first stage, the optimal locations for fixed size photovoltaic (PV) systems are determined to minimize the sum of total voltage violations. In the second phase, the size of the PV units are resized and the optimal size, number, location, and operating strategy of the SVC units are determined to maximize PV hosting capacity. In both phases, the Marine Predators algorithm is used for the solution optimization equations. The performance of the proposed approach and solution method is validated on modified 33-node and 141node radial distribution networks. The results are discussed from the point of view of the maximum hosting capacity and compared with the Grey Wolf Optimization and Whale Optimization algorithms in terms of computational performance.