What are microinverters?

When it comes to designing a solar panel system that works for your home, homeowners will need to consider a design that uses either a single inverter or a microinverter solution. Each option comes with unique capabilities and possibilities, depending on what you need from your solar setup.

Here is a breakdown of how microinverters work, along with their advantages and drawbacks, to help you make the best decision for your home.

How Microinverters Work

Traditionally, solar panels are connected in series to a single inverter, which converts the DC (direct current) electricity generated by the panels into AC (alternating current) electricity that can be used to power your home. While this setup works well in many cases, it does come with some limitations, especially when it comes to maximising energy production and dealing with shading or panel mismatches.

This is where microinverters can be beneficial. Instead of a single inverter for the entire solar array, microinverters are installed directly behind each solar panel. This means that each panel operates independently, generating its own AC electricity. If the weather becomes cloudy or there is an issue with the grid, your system can continue to function efficiently.

Advantages of Enphase Microinverters

Increased Energy Production: With traditional string inverters, if one panel is shaded or underperforming, it can drag down the performance of the entire array. Microinverters mitigate this issue by allowing each panel to operate independently. This means that even if one panel is shaded or dirty, the rest of the system can still operate at optimal efficiency.

Flexible Design: Microinverters offer more flexibility in system design. Because each panel operates independently, homeowners have the freedom to install panels on multiple roof surfaces or in different orientations without worrying about the impact on overall system performance.

Monitoring: Enphase systems include a monitoring app that allows homeowners to track the performance of each individual panel in real time. This makes it easier to identify and address any issues that may arise, such as a malfunctioning panel or inverter.

Scalability: Microinverters make it easier to expand your solar installation in the future. Since each panel operates independently, additional panels can be added to the system without the need to upgrade the inverter.

Safety: Enphase microinverters operate at a lower voltage compared to traditional string inverters, which can enhance safety during installation and maintenance by eliminating the risk of DC arc fault fires.

Potential drawbacks of microinverters

While microinverters offer numerous benefits, it’s important to consider some potential drawbacks as well.

Cost: Microinverters tend to be more expensive than traditional string inverters, as you need one microinverter per panel. However, the decrease in overall system performance due to shading or panel mismatches can offset this initial cost over time.

Reliability: While microinverters have become increasingly reliable over the years, having multiple points of potential failure (one per panel) means there’s a slightly higher chance of encountering issues compared to a single string inverter. However, the ability to monitor each panel and replace smaller parts of the system can also be helpful.

Utilise the Full Enphase System

Incorporating an Enphase IQ battery is a great way to expand your system’s capacity, allowing you to store power to utilise anytime – at night or during peak usage hours. 

One of the primary benefits of integrating solar batteries is their ability to reduce reliance on the grid and lower electricity bills. By storing excess solar energy for later use, homeowners can offset their energy consumption from the grid, thereby saving on electricity bills and contributing to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Moreover, solar batteries provide valuable backup power in the event of a blackout, allowing homeowners to continue powering essential appliances and devices even when the grid is down. This added resilience ensures peace of mind and security, especially during emergencies or natural disasters.

Enphase IQ batteries come with many advantages, such as the lithium iron phosphate chemistry and low-voltage DC power operation, which avoids the dangers of high-voltage DC power. This means they are safer, last longer, and cost less than other battery chemistry alternatives. Enphase batteries are additionally modular by design, making it easier than ever to expand your storage as your energy needs grow. 

Get in touch with one of our solar experts today to find out if a microinverter solar system is right for your home.