What are the advantages & disadvantages of microinverters?
In case of a design using microinverters, each solar panel is connected to an individual microinverter that converts the DC power of each solar panel into AC output.
Advantages of Design with Microinverters
- On an average there will be higher energy generation over the system’s lifetime as the losses on account of solar panel voltage and temperature mismatch are lower in this design and an individual solar panel’s energy generation is maximized at all times due to MPPT technology being applied to each and every panel individually.
- Microinverters also provide more flexibility in design where there are shadows on the roof, or, panels need to be oriented at different tilts or different directions due to any site specific constraints. The impact of these factors on energy generation is restricted to the effected panel as all solar panels are operating individually unlike a design with string inverters where the overall performance drops to the level of the weakest link in the string (i.e. the most impacted or least generating solar panel)
- The Remote Monitoring Systems available with microinverters enable you to monitor the performance of individual solar panels, which allows for easy identification and troubleshooting of problems
- The system design is modular and scalable as the capacity of the solar power system can be expanded with addition of solar panels (they could be different wattages/brands) connected to individual microinverters. However, this is only useful when the solar energy generated is consumed for captive purposes and not exported as in case of energy being exported under a net metering / gross metering agreement (learn more here) it is often not possible to expand the solar capacity in the original Agreement signed with the Utility company. If you are planning to expand the capacity of a grid-tied solar power system in phases, you should get touch with your Utility company to explore the feasibility of doing the same
- The modular design also enables lower system sizes to be installed (i.e. 1kW/2kW sizes) as good quality grid-tied string inverters are normally available upwards of 3kW increasing the cost of the solar inverter as a proportion of the cost of the solar power system
- The losses in energy generation due to any downtime or maintenance of solar panels or inverters is restricted to the equipment that is defective and does not impact the production of the entire system as in case of a design with string inverters
- Microinverters typically have longer warranties (10 yrs) compared to string inverters (5yrs)
- Since each solar panel is producing AC output the voltage on the roof is lower compared to a string inverter where higher DC voltage on the roof could lead to arcing that poses a fire hazard
- The installation with microinverters is also simpler as there are fewer DC components (there is no need to install DC isolators, use heavy duty DC cables etc.) and costs related to laying of DC conduits (from the terrace to the string inverter) or usage of higher size DC cables are also eliminated when compared to string inverters.
Disadvantages of Design with Microinverters
- Higher initial cost
- Any troubleshooting related to the microinverter requires the technician to access the roof that could end up taking longer time to resolve
Glowship has partnered with the world leader in microinveter technology, Enphase. Click here to get an instant estimate for your solar power system with Enphase microinverters here.
To learn more about the different types of inverters used in grid-tied solar power systems click here