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Micro Inverters

Micro Inverters

Solar micro inverters are compact units that attach directly to each solar module to make the entire solar power system more productive, reliable, and competent than a system with a central "string" inverter. Solar micro inverters operate at an overall efficiency of more than 96%, converting power at the module level instead of at the array level. This allows micro inverter PV systems to generate up to 16% more energy yield when compared to a string inverter.

Micro inverters are particularly good at reducing shading problems on solar panels. A common issue with many rooftops, shading from overhanging trees or nearby buildings can dramatically reduce a PV system's power production. In fact, just 9% shade can influence up to 54% of the total system's output with a string inverter. Micro inverters significantly reduce this power loss by managing each PV module individually.

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Product Name  Volts Watts Price
  Enphase IQ8M Micro Inverter     Enphase IQ8M Micro Inverter   Enphase Energy IQ8M-72-2-US ENPIQ8M-72-2 Enphase IQ8M Micro Inverter  240 V  330 W $222.86
  Enphase IQ8H Micro Inverter     Enphase IQ8H Micro Inverter   Enphase Energy EN-IQ8H-240-72-2-US ENPIQ8H-240-72 Enphase IQ8H Micro Inverter  240 V  384 W $238.85
  Enphase IQ8+ Micro Inverter     Enphase IQ8+ Micro Inverter   Enphase Energy IQ8PLUS-72-2-US ENPIQ8PLUS72-2 Enphase IQ8+ Micro Inverter  240 V  300 W $200.22
  Enphase IQ7A Micro Inverter     Enphase IQ7A Micro Inverter   Enphase Energy EN-IQ7A-72-2-US ENPIQ7A-72-2-US Enphase IQ7A Micro Inverter  240208 V  366 W $198.45

More Info on Solar Micro Inverters

How Do Micro Inverters Work?

An inverter is an essential component of any solar energy system, converting direct current (DC) electricity from the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity used for your home's appliances. Traditionally, solar systems have utilized a single centralized "string" inverter. However, micro inverters now offer an extremely appealing alternative.

Typically, a solar micro inverter will be connected to each module (panel). Each micro inverter works independently of the others in the system, maximizing efficiency.

What Are the Benefits of a Micro Inverter?

There is a single point of failure in a system with a traditional central string inverter. This means that even a simple issue with the inverter will halt solar production completely, potentially causing a loss of power. In contrast, placing one micro inverter per module provides a highly reliable power optimizer and source of solar output. If one of the micro inverters fails, the rest continue to operate.

In addition, using micro inverters can be an intelligent way to avoid reduced production due to sunlight obstructions. From cloudy days and snow to dirt and debris, obstructions on your solar panels can be expected from time to time. However, micro inverters allow each solar panel to operate independently (versus limiting the production to the weakest solar module like a central string inverter would).

Finally, micro inverters offer an individual solar panel performance monitoring capability you might not have even considered. You'll gain the ability to compare the performance of each panel versus only having access to the performance of the system as a whole. This can be a significant benefit when it comes time to service equipment because you can rapidly pinpoint a single panel's (or micro inverter's) failure without diagnosing the entire system.

What Kinds of Solar Energy Systems are Compatible with Micro Inverters?

Micro inverters can be utilized with virtually any setup, though there are specific scenarios in which this option is most beneficial. You may want to consider solar micro inverters vs. a centralized string inverter if:

  • You have a complex solar installation, such as panels facing different directions or at varying angles
  • There is marginal shading in the area where your panels will be mounted
  • You want to maximize efficiency
  • You're interested in the ability to monitor each panel's health and production independently

How to Choose the Best Micro Inverters for Your Solar System

As you browse micro inverters, a few key characteristics can help you narrow down your options:

  • Efficiency level: Micro inverters have varying levels of efficiency, just like your solar panels. The efficiency level measures how much energy is lost during the DC to AC conversion (in the form of heat). The less lost energy, the better. High-efficiency micro inverters generally contribute to improved system efficiencies, which boosts your solar production and maximizes the return on investment.
  • Size: There are different wattage sizes of micro inverters, each one intended to be paired with the specific wattage of the panels in the system.
  • Price: Determining how much a micro inverter costs depends on various features. Remember that even though a micro inverter is usually a more significant up-front investment, the increased efficiency can pay off in the long run.

String Inverters, DC Optimizers & Micro Inverters | Comparison & Overview of 3 Grid Tie Inverters

In this video we outline the difference between three types of grid-tie inverters: A micro inverter by Enphase, a string inverter by Fronius and a string inverter with DC optimizers by SolarEdge. Watch to find out which is the right one for you!

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