Articles > Micro Inverter Discussion
Micro Inverters - A top-rated Inverter Option
Commercial Solar Design specializes in solar array electrical systems for
large installs. We are beginning to see noteworthy gains from installation
of micro inverters compared to traditional string or central inverter
configurations. Micro inverters are solid state without any moving
components and allow for individual solar panel monitoring alternatives.
Because every single panel possesses a micro inverter each solar panel can
be monitored for energy productivity. In case a individual panel has a
fault, only that panel production is affected. With a string of solar
panels, if one particular panel has a fault the whole string will quit
producing. We equate this to the good old strings of Holiday lights when
just one bulb burning out would make the whole string fail. New Christmas
light strings tend not to experience that any longer and make a powerful
case for micro inverters.
Harvesting Capabilities of String vs. Micro inverters
Micro-inverters maximize the power collected from every panel and are not
affected by a particular solar panel which might perform poorly. String
inverters will be restricted to the actual power produced by the least
effective solar panel within a string so in the case a single panel is
dusty, defective, aligned differently, a different model of solar panel,
etc., it drags down an entire string.
String inverters demand certain configurations as specified below.
Operations outside limitations may result in zero system production at times
throughout the day. Micro inverters are generally unencumbered with these
types of restrictions.
A micro inverter individualized solar panel harvest will supply somewhere
between 5%-25% increase in electricity output when compared to a string
inverter configuration. The 5% is merely advanced economy in design. Higher
efficiencies will be achieved whenever shading takes place and/or because
solar panels age differently. Certain energy age faster when compared with
others. The string inverter generates determined by the weakest output.
Modular and Scalable
String inverters necessitate that you comply with a rigid design structure.
Virtually any expansion of the solar array necessitates another type of or
additional inverter as well as an additional large array of solar panels to
suit the string configurations. For example, a 12,000 watt string inverter
is likely limited to three exact configurations: 8-strings of 7- panels,
8-strings of 8- panels, or 4-string of 9- solar panels. That means that you
are limited to 56, 64, or perhaps 36 panels. Not a whole lot of scalability
Micro inverters alternatively tend to be infinitely scalable. You're able to
string from 1 to 16 micro-inverters in parallel for every AC branch.
Virtually all string inverters are only able to permit 11 or 12 panels per
string. Considering that each and every panel has its unique inverter, you
could have any quantity of solar panels in almost any configuration.
Micro Inverters are often set up in virtually any orientation and tilt
making them perfect for rooftops having various angles and orientations.
String inverters require all panels on a string to always be the same
orientation and tilt. An incorrectly engineered string will result in
mediocre overall performance. Moreover knowledgeable solar contractors may
have difficulty designing a string inverter system if all the solar panels
are not on exactly the same tilt and orientation. Micro Inverters enable
roof top space maximization. When you have a small roof with a west and
south face micro inverters permit you to fit 10 solar panels on the south
face and 5 solar panels on the west face.
MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure
String inverters carry a 10 warranty and also have an predicted life of 15
years. Common solar revenue models demonstrate a profound drop at year 15
representing the price of swapping the string inverter. Micro inverters have
got a lot longer life span. Another factor is string inverters end up with a
single point of failure. Micro inverters do not have a single point of
failure given that every single solar panel has its own inverter. In case a
micro inverter fails the monitoring system will be able to specify which one
failed and the only decrease of power generation is usually a particular
Installation Labor Premiums
String Inverters need considerable cabling by electricians. Micro inverters
are generally wired by solar installers with the final hookup being
accomplished by an electrician. This alone can be a appreciable reduction in
cost in addition to complexity of the solar array. No longer needed are the
bulky string inverters secured next to your electric meter or in your
Micro inverters monitor every last panel separately. End users log into a
web site and can check each solar panel or branch of panels, each roof
surface area etc. You can observe clouds move across the rooftop and the
degree of detail is phenomenal. The program informs you when a panel or
inverter is failing or has failed. Your photovoltaic installation technician
also is notified at the same time for proactive warranty replacement. The
monitoring will need a DSL link and can then be checked through any web
Time to Return On Investment
The micro inverter type strategy is more expensive out the door as a result
of equipment but not that much more costly because of diminished labor
charges. The benefit is enhanced electric power production over the lifetime
of the solar panels. Considering panels have a 25 yr warranty we tend to be
talking about decades. I know of solar panels installed 30 years ago (1980)
that happen to be even now putting out the equivalent electricity they were
when installed. Whenever you do a repayment comparison the micro inverter
system consistently features a greater initial cost but a faster time to
repayment. Once the system is paid off you will take pleasure in extra
energy out of a system that does not involve a 15 year string inverter
replacement unit expenditure and headache.