A solar system inverter is the heart (and brains!) of your solar photovoltaic system. There are many different brands of inverters available, as well as two primary types – Microinverters and string inverters. We’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Microinverter vs string inverter
Whether you choose a microinverter or a string inverter for your solar system depends on a variety of factors. If you want the highest level of safety and efficiency, microinverters are the way to go. You also need to consider the number of panels you will have in your system and how much power you will produce.
Microinverters are smaller than string inverters, which makes them easier to install. They can be installed under the panels instead of on top of the panels. They are also easier to monitor, which makes troubleshooting easier.
How Micro Inverters Boost Efficiency
With the typical string inverter, the solar panels are are wired together. This means that if one panel sees a reduction in solar input – such can be caused by a passing cloud or the shade from a tree – all the panels will reduce their output to match.
The diagram above illustrates the point. However, the same situation with panels that are equipped with micro inverters would bring a much better result: only the panel that is in the shade experiences reduced output, while the others continue to provide full power.
Microinverters are also very good for solar installations with multiple angles. You may need to install several panels on the same roof, so each panel may have different orientations. By using a microinverter, you can easily monitor the performance of each panel individually, and when panels from one orientation are not receiving full input, it will not reduce the output of those panels facing a different direction that are receiving maximum input. With microinverters, you can easily pinpoint problems with shading and shadowing, which can cause your panels to produce less power.
These inverters can be slightly more expensive than string inverters, but they are generally worth the cost, as the higher cost is recouped in the increased output of your solar system.
So, Why Even Consider a String Inverter?
There is one major disadvantage of micro inverters, they are not designed and generally not compatible with battery backup systems. If one of your goals for installing a solar system on your home is to have power when the grid is not functioning, you will need a grid-tie with battery backup system.
Micro inverters are not practical for use with battery backup systems. In that instance, you will want a string inverter, and preferably a hybrid all-in-one inverter that controls several functions within your system, such as battery monitoring, charge controlling, automatically starting the generator when needed, and monitoring the output of your solar panels.
The hybrid inverter that we like the best because of its features and engineering is made by Sol-Ark. We feel Sol-Ark provides the highest quality and value on the market today.