Solar inverters are an inseparable part of the solar system. Their main function is to convert energy. While micro-inverters convert the energy accumulated from each specific panel, string inverters accomplish this action from the solar array and not the individual panels. One type is not inherently better than the other. They are just different ways of accomplishing the same thing. The solar inverter cost ranges from $1000 to 1500 on average.
Since a solar panel inverter converts energy from one form to another, there will be a loss of energy in the process. The efficiency rating will provide this value. Today, the gap in the efficiencies of the solar micro inverters vs. string inverters is mostly negligible.
TYPES OF SOLAR INVERTERS: MICRO INVERTERS
The microinverter takes the DC output from the solar panel as its input and then outputs the AC form. The panels closely tie the AC outputs of each microinverter, and the cut-off switch routes a single set of AC wires at ground level.
The major advantages of microinverters are:
- If there is a shade on one or more solar panels, facing different directions, or not functioning at all, the system will continue to function as a whole. The output will be degraded only by the amount of the lower functioning panels.
- The failure of any micro inverters will not affect the functioning of the whole system. You can replace the failed microinverter when convenient.
- The system can be easily expanded, and different panels and micro inverters can be utilized in the system.
- You can monitor and report the health and output of each panel individually.
- Some solar panels come with micro inverters for more straightforward and speedier installation.
Microinverters work with many (but not all) solar panels based on their technical specifications.
For example, many microinverters do not support 72 or 96 cell panels (in this case you need string inverters). Also, individual micro inverters have a limit on their AC output. Thus, the micro-inverter will only output its maximum limit regardless of the solar panels’ maximum output. This limit may be less than the panels.
TYPES OF SOLAR INVERTERS: SOLAR PANEL STRING INVERTER
The DC outputs of all solar panels are connected to a standard set of wires on the roof and then routed to the DC cut-off switch at ground level. From the DC cut-off switch, the DC is input into the central string inverter that in turn outputs AC.
The power optimizer is commonly used in a string optimizer-based system. The power optimizers provide functionality that is inherent to micro-inverters.
They take the DC from the solar panels and provide an optimized DC output. The output then goes into a string inverter.
Power optimizers address shortages like the marginal performance of some panels affecting the whole system and per panel monitoring.
Although power optimizers are cheaper than microinverters, each panel requires one power optimizer in addition to the string inverter. This makes the total system cost about the same.