Are micro inverters better than string inverters for solar PV systems?

Micro-Inverters are considered the next big thing for residential and commercial solar PV systems.

There is no doubt that micro-inverters deliver improved output in most sites – especially when trees or other obstructions cast shade across an array of solar panels.

Enphase Micro Inverters have quickly dropped in price on all sized solar systems, making the technology a viable option for almost all Solaray customers.

What is a Micro-Inverter?

A micro-inverter places a small DC to AC inverter on each panel, as opposed to one inverter for all panels (a string inverter), which means that each panel’s performance does not affect any other panel’s performance –  this is of particular use when there are shade issues across much of the day or much of the year.

Why buy a Micro-Inverter solar system?

We recommend micro-inverter systems where there are shading issues across some or all of the panels, or where the roof design means panels need to be oriented in two or more directions.

When shade is cast over one more more solar panels, the use of micro-inverters means that each panel can operate independently from the others, so that a panel in full sunshine can perform at full capacity, even if many or most of the other panels are in shade.

Where the roof design requires two or more orientations of panels (either direction or tilt), the use of micro-inverters means we can now install a system where it would previously have been impossible. Current string inverters only allow for a maximum of two different orientations (via two strings) limiting our flexibility to use multiple sections of roof.

How much extra energy do micro-inverters produce?

The answer to this depends on the site, the panels and the solar system design. Most micro inverter manufacturers claim that a micro inverter system will outperform a string inverter by 18% and 25% increase in yield, which means more money in your pocket.

Will micro inverters eventually replace string inverters?

Micro inverters are quickly taking market share away from standard string inverters. More Solaray customers than ever before are choosing micro inverter technology due to the increase in system output, and because the price difference between micro inverters and a good quality string inverter is now quite small.

We anticipate over half of our installations will use micro inverters by the end of 2014.

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