Inverters are an integral part of every solar panel system that you install. They are in charge of transforming the direct current energy (DC) produced by your solar panels into the useful alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used by your home’s electronics and appliances. There are a few different directions you may go in when it comes to selecting an inverter solution for your solar panel system. Microinverters are quickly becoming one of the most well-liked inverter technologies, and we’re going to discuss them in this article.
What are microinverters and how they function
Microinverters are inverters that are installed right at the individual solar panel location, which distinguishes them from centralized string inverters. Microinverters are also known as distributed inverters. The vast majority of solar power systems that utilize microinverters install one microinverter for each solar panel.
Microinverters are categorized as module-level power electronics since each microinverter functions at the panel site independently of the other inverters in the system (MLPE). When dealing with intricate installations or ones that have only minimal shading, MLPEs are your best bet. Using the conventional string inverter technology, solar panels can only generate power at the level of performance of the panel on the same string that produces the least amount of electricity. Because each panel contains its own inverter, solar panels will continue to operate effectively even if one of the panels in the system isn’t producing as much electricity as the others. This is because microinverters are not susceptible to this problem.
The size of each microinverter is decided by the size of the panel as well as the quantity of electricity that the panel is capable of producing. “Clipping” is the term used to describe what happens when your solar panel generates more electricity than its microinverter is able to convert at a particular moment. This results in power losses.
Pros of microinverters
Most solar consumers would benefit greatly from purchasing microinverters, particularly if they have a roof that is particularly complicated or one that is partially shaded. Since microinverters function at the panel level, they do not need power optimizers in order to be compliant with rapid shutdown standards and to improve their performance. In addition, if something is wrong with a single microinverter, this will not cause your entire system to shut down; rather, it will only shut down the panel that is tied to that particular inverter. If you only have one central inverter, it will be much easier for you to determine which of your panels is not producing the expected amount of electricity and for your installer to diagnose and repair the problem.
Because you won’t have to worry about the power output of a central inverter needing to be adjusted to meet up with the size of your newly expanded system, adding more solar panels to your system in the future will be much simpler if you have microinverters installed. Because most microinverters, in contrast to string inverters, come with a warranty that is valid for the same length of time as the panels to which they are attached – 25 years – you may anticipate that they will last for a longer period of time.
Cons of microinverters
It is likely that using microinverters will result in improved overall system performance; however, doing so will come at a cost. In general, microinverters are more expensive than string inverters, and as a result, you will need to determine whether or not the potential for improved long-term performance is worth the increased initial investment. If you need to fix one of them, the maintenance will be more difficult (and more expensive if labor isn’t covered under your warranty), as string inverters generally sit on the side of your house, while microinverters are located on your roof. This means that if one of them needs to be fixed, the maintenance will be more difficult.
In addition to clipping, which was discussed earlier, there is one more aspect of microinverters that you need to be aware of. In most cases, the power output rating of your microinverter will be lower than that of the panel itself. Therefore, clipping occurs when the output of your solar panel is greater than the output of your microinverter. As a result, you do not receive the full power output of your solar panel.
When and when not to use microinverters
There are a lot of positive aspects that come along with putting in microinverters. To begin, they make it possible to check the efficiency of each solar panel. Instead of analyzing the performance of the system on its own, you may evaluate how each panel is performing on its own using microinverters. This is in contrast to evaluating the performance of the system as a whole. Because it is simpler to determine which panel or microinverter is malfunctioning, this may result in a reduction in the amount of time needed to service the equipment.
Microinverters are a great choice for more intricate installations that have panels facing in a variety of directions or that are inclined at a number of different degrees. If you have some panels facing east and others facing south, installing microinverters on each panel will enable them to perform to the best of their abilities when they are exposed to sunlight. This is because they will not be affected by the production issues that may be experienced by other panels in the system.
Microinverters often come with a higher price tag than their counterparts, the other inverter alternatives. The greater costs incurred up front may be more than justified when considering the benefits of increased monitoring and productivity. A string inverter system can be an excellent solution if you have a simple installation on a single roof plane facing south with no shade. This is the ideal situation for maximizing solar energy production.
Criteria for choosing microinverters
Microinverters, much like solar panels, are available in a wide range of efficiencies. The amount of energy that is lost in the form of heat during the process of converting direct current (DC) power to alternating current (AC) is one way to quantify the efficiency of an inverter. Microinverters with better efficiencies contribute to higher total system efficiencies, which in turn results in increased solar electricity generation.
Microinverters are available in a variety of sizes, each of which is designed to work with a certain range of electrical voltages. However, you don’t want to install a microinverter that’s too small for the energy output of the connected panel, since this may result in excessive clipping if you do so. Larger microinverters are typically more expensive than their smaller counterparts. When a microinverter is linked to a solar panel, the manufacturer of the microinverter will often provide standards for the maximum DC watts that the panel should have.
The vast majority of microinverter alternatives that are currently available on the market come with a guarantee that lasts for 25 years and protects you from any potential manufacturing faults or excessive degradation. However, even if two separate manufacturers of microinverters each offer the same warranty term, the levels of coverage that are included in the guarantee may be different for each of the manufacturers. When shopping for solar equipment, it is critical to spend time reading and comparing the various warranties agreements.
In spite of the fact that microinverters are not normally the most pricey component of a solar panel installation, you should nevertheless give careful consideration to the amount of money that you will need to spend on them. Microinverters with higher efficiencies and longer warranties typically come with larger price tags; nevertheless, the investment may be worthwhile depending on the configuration of your solar panel system and your personal preferences.
- Prerequisites for a rapid shutdown
Microinverters have the ability to shut down automatically in order to comply with quick shutdown procedures when these procedures are initiated. Because the software that is built into each module is already set to shut down in time with these rapid power cycles, there is no need for any additional hardware.