If you’re considering installing solar panels on your home or business, you’ll need to decide whether to use a system involving one inverter or several micro inverters.
WHAT ARE MICRO INVERTERS?
Micro inverters are small, single solar panel units with their dedicated inverter. On the other hand, a string inverter is a central unit that collects power from multiple panels and sends it to the electrical grid.
SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The main difference between the two has to do with efficiency and safety. Micro inverters can convert more sunlight into usable electricity than string inverters. Additionally, if one solar panel in a microinverter system isn’t performing optimally – say, because a tree shades it – the others can still produce power at full capacity.
String inverters are less efficient and less expensive, but they’re also easier to install. However, micro inverters must be attached to each individual solar panel, which can add to the cost and complexity of installation.
ADVANTAGES OF MICRO INVERTERS
Micro inverters have several advantages such as being highly efficient and being a low maintenance form of solar power.
DISADVANTAGES OF MICRO INVERTERS
Micro inverters do have some disadvantages. They’re more expensive than string inverters, both upfront and over time. And because they have more parts, they’re also more likely to break down.
Micro inverters also produce more heat than string inverters, which can shorten their lifespan. And because they’re attached to each individual panel, they’re more likely to be damaged by high winds or falling debris.
ARE MICRO INVERTERS MORE EFFICIENT?
Micro inverters are more efficient than string inverters, but the difference is usually pretty small – around two or three percent.
Micro inverters also have the advantage of being able to produce power even when their panels are partially shaded. String inverters, on the other hand, need all of their panels to be in full sunlight in order to work correctly.
HOW MUCH DO MICROINVERTERS COST?
Micro inverters cost about 20 to 30 percent more than string inverters. But because they’re more efficient, they can also generate about five to ten percent more electricity over their lifespan.
SO WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?
The answer depends on your specific needs and circumstances. If you have the budget, microinverters are generally the better option. But if you’re looking for a less expensive, more straightforward installation, string inverters may be the way to go.