Differences Between Using Micro Inverters and String Inverters

As a Bay Area homebuilder, commercial landlord, or homeowner, you’ve been giving a lot of thought to installing a solar solution for your power needs. One of the big choices you may need to make is whether to utilize so-called micro inverters or string inverters.

Let’s get clear about the technical distinctions and go over some of the pros and cons of micro inverters or string inverters.

Micro inverters take direct current from one solar panel and convert it into alternating current (A/C), which then mixes with output from multiple inverters and funnels to the electrical grid.

String inverters (also known as central inverters) essentially “string together” a series of panels, which then feed current into the grid. A typical panel, for instance, might contain 60 discrete cells and convert to around 120 volt of A/C current.

Pros and Cons: Micro Inverters vs. String Inverters

Micro Inverters – Pros

  • If one solar panel gets shaded or covered with debris, the array will not be disproportionately affected. Every micro inverter will maximize what’s known as its “power point tracking” – something that does not happen when you use string inverters;
  • A single failed inverter or even failed panel won’t knock the string off the grid;
  • General reliability is much greater than traditional string inverter systems;
  • Warranties for micro inverters last longer — up to 25 years;
  • Troubleshooting is easier, since faults can often be traced to a single point as opposed to a whole string. Underpeformers cannot “hide” like they can with string inverter systems;
  • Eliminates the need for big transformer or large electrolytic capacitor.

Micro Inverters – Cons

  • Micro inverters cost more per peak watt;
  • These systems can be more difficult to install.

String Inverter – Pros

  • Lower initial cost per peak watt price;
  • Easier installation;
  • Generally easier to maintain (with exceptions as we’ve noted)

String Inverters – Cons

  • Shading or deterioration of one panel can impact the entire string;
  • Harder to diagnose problem panels and general problems with the array;
  • Centralization causes problems with intense heat dissipation and requires cooling fans, which can be noisy and cumbersome;
  • Wire diameters to handle the flow need to be bigger than they do for micro inverter systems – this can add to installation costs and create issues.

If you’re looking for a solution for your solar needs, get in touch with the Save A Lot Solar team. We can help you select the best solar solution for your budget and needs, and explain the “technical stuff” in clear language.

[Bay Area Solar Special]

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