Pros and Cons of Microinverters
When designing your solar setup, it’s essential to be aware of the different types of SMA inverters available to you. Primarily, there are string inverters and microinverters. While string inverters are the more popular option for residential setups, microinverters can be an excellent choice for homeowners. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of this kind of inverter.
How They Differ
First, it’s crucial to understand how a microinverter differs from a standard string inverter. A solar setup only requires one string inverter to convert the energy produced by all of your solar panels into usable energy for your home. All of the power feeds into this single location. On the other hand, microinverters must be mounted to every panel, so you’ll need multiple microinverters for this kind of setup.
Microinverters convert the energy from the single panel they’re connected to rather than convert the whole system’s power. Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of this kind of setup.
Con: The Cost
The most obvious drawback to this kind of inverter is that you need more than one, which means the cost is likely going to be higher than if you had a single string inverter. If you’re on a tight budget, this type of inverter might not be the best option for you.
Pro: Combat Shading
Shading can put a damper on your panels’ energy production when you’re using a string inverter. With this type of setup, shading on a single panel impacts the efficiency of the entire system. But that’s not the case with microinverters. With multiple energy conversion points, shading on a single panel will only reduce that panel’s production, rather than the entire system. If your roof tends to be partially shaded, microinverters will make your system more efficient.
Con: More Difficult Maintenance
Inverters of every kind tend to have very low maintenance needs. However, if maintenance is required, a string inverter is easier to get to, as they’re usually located somewhere off the roof. Because microinverters are attached to the panels themselves, they’re right up there on the roof with them. This makes them harder to get to and more difficult to service if required.
Pro: Monitor Panel Performance
All modern inverters will offer some kind of performance monitoring for your system. However, because a string inverter is attached to all the panels, it can only give you an efficient readout for the entire system; it can’t tell you which panels are underperforming. On the other hand, microinverters will each give you a performance reading so you can pinpoint efficiency issues more effectively. This is usually done through an app, so you don’t have to worry about getting on the roof to check these numbers.
Every solar setup needs SMA inverters to make that solar power usable for your home. But it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide if you want microinverters or a string inverter.