When considering the installation of solar panels on your roof, there are various options, with the most common being solar panels installed with string inverters. Solar panels with micro inverters serve the same purpose as string inverters but are connected to a smaller number of solar modules. In this blog, let’s explore the significant advantages of microinverters but before that, let’s find out what these microinverters actually are.
What are microinverters?
Quality microinverters like Sunsynk inverters convert the direct current generated by solar modules to alternating current in an instant. Unlike string inverters, which are usually linked to the wall at a distance from the array, microinverters can be affixed directly to individual solar panels.
The Advantages of Micro-inverters:
Individual Optimisation: Microinverters optimise each solar panel individually, unlike central inverters that optimise for the entire solar system. This allows each solar panel to operate at its maximum potential. In simpler terms, the performance of a single solar panel cannot negatively impact the overall output of the entire solar array, in contrast to central inverters that optimise based on the weakest link.
If one solar panel in a string has an excessively high resistance due to a manufacturing flaw, the performance of all solar panels connected to that same central inverter suffers.
Similarly, shade, dirt, snow, or even minor orientation mismatches on a single solar panel would not jeopardise the entire solar system.
Extended Warranty: As micro-inverters are not subjected to the same high power and heat loads as central inverters, they live substantially longer. Micro-inverters often have a 20-25 year guarantee, which is 10-15 years longer than that of central inverters.
Performance Monitoring: Panel-by-panel web-based monitoring is generally accessible for both homeowners and installers. Regularly assessing the health of the solar system can create the way for subsequent upgrades and performance enhancements. Furthermore, there are mobile applications that allow you to monitor your PV system even while on the go.
Enhanced Safety: In traditional setups, solar panels are linked in series before being directed into a central inverter, usually carrying an effective nominal rating of 300-600 VDC (volts of direct current). This level of current poses potential life-threatening risks.
Microinverters eliminate the necessity for high-voltage DC wiring, significantly enhancing safety for both solar installers and system owners.
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT): A challenge with solar cells is the necessity to adjust voltage according to light levels for optimal power output. In simple terms, the performance of a solar panel is determined by the voltage load applied by the inverter.
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is a technique employed to identify the ideal voltage, commonly known as the maximum power point. Applying MPPT individually to each panel, rather than to the entire solar system, naturally enhances overall performance.
Integrate low-voltage batteries
When it comes to solar batteries, microinverters seamlessly integrate with low-voltage batteries, enhancing the efficiency of energy storage systems. Notably, incorporating microinverters, such as those compatible with SAJ batteries, addresses constraints and enhances the overall effectiveness of residential solar solutions.
In addition to these wonderful advantages, there are also some drawbacks of microinverters that you need to know about:
Higher Initial Cost: The biggest disadvantage of a micro-inverter is its high initial cost. However, this cost can be justified in situations where there are technical challenges in installing a solar array or shading issues that could otherwise compromise the entire system’s performance.
Additional Monitoring Device: With each inverter positioned independently beneath a solar panel, the need for a communication bus and a common monitoring system arises, as there is no onboard display system as seen in string inverters.
Increased Replacement Costs: Placing the inverter beneath the solar panel may make it challenging to replace the micro-inverter due to existing site conditions. Because of the complexities involved, the replacement process may necessitate the presence of more than one specialist on-site.
Microinverters are common in situations where array sizes are small and optimising performance from each panel is important. Their popularity is especially apparent in the residential sector, where panel space constraints limit array size and challenges such as shade from surrounding trees or other objects are common.