Microinverters are small inverters that are used in solar energy systems to convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by individual solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity suitable for use in homes and businesses. Unlike traditional string inverters, which are typically connected to a series of solar panels, microinverters are installed on a per-panel(s) basis.
Here are some key features and advantages of microinverters:
Panel-level conversion: Microinverters are installed directly on every one to two solar panel(s) in a system, enabling panel-level DC-to-AC conversion. This means that each solar panel operates independently, optimizing energy production and minimizing losses due to shading, soiling, or performance differences between panels. In contrast, string inverters are connected to multiple panels, and the performance of one panel can affect the output of the entire string.
Monitoring and optimization: Microinverters often come with built-in monitoring capabilities that allow system owners to monitor the performance of each solar panel individually. This detailed monitoring data helps identify any issues or underperforming panels, enabling timely maintenance or troubleshooting. Additionally, microinverters can incorporate algorithms to optimize energy production by dynamically adjusting the operating conditions of each panel.
Safety and reliability: Microinverters provide enhanced safety and reliability compared to string inverters. By converting DC to AC at the panel level, the voltage on the DC side of the system is much lower, reducing the risk of electric shock during installation or maintenance. Additionally, since microinverters operate independently, the failure of one microinverter does not affect the overall system performance, unlike string inverters where a single point of failure can impact the entire string.
Scalability and flexibility: Microinverters offer greater flexibility in system design and expansion. It is easier to add or remove panels in a microinverter-based system, as every one to two panel(s) operates independently. This scalability allows for easier system expansion or reconfiguration in the future, accommodating changes in energy needs or available roof space.
Higher energy harvest: Microinverters can help maximize energy harvest in scenarios where shading or panel-level variations in performance are present. By optimizing the energy output of each panel, microinverters mitigate the impact of shading or soiling on the overall system performance, resulting in higher energy yields.
It's worth noting that microinverters generally have a higher upfront cost compared to string inverters, as each panel requires its own microinverter. However, the benefits in terms of increased energy production, monitoring capabilities, and system flexibility often outweigh the additional cost, especially in situations where shading or panel-level variations are significant.