Micro Inverters versus SolarEdge string Inverters with Optimizers.

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Micro Inverters versus SolarEdge string Inverters with Optimizers.

Over a decade ago, Enphase Corporation from California introduced one of the first viable micro inverters and it was a big deal. The advantages were huge as no longer did we need to have long strings of 10 modules that suffered greatly when only one module was shaded or covered with snow. As well, we could now look at the production of each individual module and easily identify and see its individual production. The monitoring was easy to employ with a simple data cable which transmitted production data to a website keeping track of production. Before this, detailed monitoring was an expensive option.

Solar Electric System Missoula MontanaEnphase upset the domination of several European manufactures who owned the world-wide inverter market. A number of companies have now come out with their own micros.

Micros sit behind the solar module in a hostile environment. Here in Western Montana, we know that a summer day can start in the cool 40’s and end up in the 90’s. And up on your roof, high afternoon temps are even more extreme. This a big temperature change for the electronics to tolerate on a daily basis.
Other parts of the planet do not see this extreme variation and this is less of a factor. However, manufactures claim up to a 25-year warranty. The big question is will these electronics last as claimed. In our experience it is common to see a company with grand claims disappear with insolvency or reorganization saying goodbye to long term liabilities like warranties. To date we have not seen anything but an acceptable failure rate.

SolarEdge steps in and changes the Inverter world.

This inverter system is the next step in the evolution of the inverter. SolarEdge took the advantages of Micros and said goodbye to the largest disadvantage which is the location of the electronics. They did this by designing a unit termed an optimizer which is a simple DC to DC converter which is similarly placed behind each module providing all the benefits of micros such as individual module level monitoring yet leaving the bulk of the electronics off the roof in the inverter enclosure.  These inverters are waterproof and are easily placed on a protected outside wall or even better in a utility space. This reduces the operating temperatures which is advantageous for electronics giving us a longer useful life. These inverters operate at an amazing 99% efficiency and have swept the grid tied solar market with a dominate hold of the world inverter market.

Opinions vary so we are happy to install either type of inverter. Talk with your SBS consultant about which inverter is best for you.  Call SBS Solar today for your free solar estimate 406-541-8410. Or click this link to get started with your free estimate today!


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