The micro inverters (or micro inverters) are very hot at this time. They are relatively new and therefore there are many uncertainties.
When micro inverters and are used when the inverter chain ( investors larger than normal)?
What are micro investors?
The word micro may suggest the opposite, but micro investors are not so small that you do not see them. They are only smaller than «normal» investors.
Microinverters are generally devices of approximately half an A4. They are placed directly behind the solar panel and work by solar panel or by 2 solar panels . They convert the direct voltage of the solar panels directly into a usable alternating voltage of 230 volts.
Why choose micro inverters?
Microinverters have a number of advantages and disadvantages compared to conventional chain inverters. Each micro inverter has its own MPP (maximum power point) and, therefore, generates the maximum performance per solar panel throughout the day.
Therefore, influences on other solar panels have no influence on individual investors. In the United States, even more micro investors are installed than chain investors.
With a small installation (up to +/- 12 solar panels) it is often difficult to find the right inverter. Smaller investors have limited functions and few inputs. Also, they only have 1 MPP tracker. The following points have a great impact on the system.
With chain inverters, the shadow has a great influence on all solar panels. When 1 of the solar panels is shaded, the performance of all solar panels in the chain decreases.
In the case of a window, fireplace, trees or other forms of shade, it is better to install more solar panels in particular. Keep in mind that the shadow still has a negative influence on performance, but less in general.
Different ceiling surface
With a chain inverter, all solar panels in a chain must be on the same roof. Or at least in the same orientation and angle. For example, if a small flat roof is present from an extension and a small inclined roof, this is almost impossible to do with a small chain inverter.
This is not a problem for microinverters. For example, 3 solar panels in an attic window, 2 below, 3 on the side and 4 on a flat roof are possible.
There is no more investor in the house
Because the micro inverters are placed under the solar panels, it is not necessary to place any inverter in the house. Chain inverters can make a hum that does not bother the micro inverters.
Microinverters manufacturers often give long guarantees of up to 25 years. This can be interpreted in two ways.
Or the manufacturer is so convinced of your product that this warranty makes sense. Or the manufacturer must give the guarantee to make his product attractive.
The micro inverter is always under the solar panel and, therefore, it is difficult to reach. If it breaks, the replacement costs (labor) can increase considerably and these costs are often not covered by the guarantee.
Fortunately, monitoring makes it easy to see if a micro inverter no longer works. Then it is important to know which inverter is located where (drawing with serial numbers).
All micro inverter manufacturers have equipped their devices with a transmitter. This transmitter can be collected with a special monitoring box.
With this box you can read each inverter and you can measure the performance by solar panel. This is very nice to see and also important. For example, it can be analyzed if certain solar panels work less than the others. When a problem is seen, action can be taken.
What are the advantages of microinverters?
- Maximum performance per solar panel
- Many configuration options
- Possibility of installing more solar panels.
- With a vision of performance tracking by solar panel.
- There is no investor in the house.
- Long guarantees in micro investors.
- There is no high voltage DC
What are the disadvantages of microinverters?
- Investors are difficult to reach in case of problems.
- Relatively young product / no history yet
- Usually, a lower return per investor than chain inverters
- Investors are on the roof in extreme weather conditions.
- More / more expensive wiring
What is the future of microinvestors?
Microinverters are likely to determine a large part of the market for small installations. The flexibility there has the great advantages.
For larger installations, it is probably more attractive to work with chain inverters, since it is easier and cheaper and provides more efficiency.
Read more about inverters for solar panels