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PV systems - single inverter vs micro-inverters

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have had 8 estimates on pv systems for my home and I am definitely going to get a system. I still have one large question, however, and I hope someone might share some wisdom with me to answer it: Typically most solar installers connect the panels in series to a single inverter. However, a few installers (including Suntricity out of Delaware) will use a micro-inverter for each panel. The claim is that the micro-inverters are 5 to 20% more efficient than using a single inverter. Also, if there is shading from a tree or a cloud, using a single inverter will not be as effective as micro-inverters - all of the panels will only produce as much electricity as the shaded ones, where with micro-inverters each panel produces electricity independently. I've asked other installers if they would consider using micro-inverters in their systems - most say no, but a few said they would at a greater cost. The companies are telling me that Enphase (the micro-inverter company) has only been producing the micro-inverters for about 4 years now and since the technology (as well as the company) are relatively new, they are not positive that they will be successful. Thus, the companies charge more in case they have to come out and replace failing micro-inverters. The company warranties the micro-inverters for 15 years, versus most single inverters warrantied at 10 years. I want to make sure I get the most for my money and I will not be happy if I pass up the micro-inverter technology if it becomes the norm in the next few years. At the same time, I don't want to take any unnecessary risks with unproven technology. Does anyone know anything about the micro-inverter technology? Can you make a recommendation? Any help is greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 3
Hi Zach, Welcome to the Huddle!

Most of the installers and definitely the more experienced bunch say stay away from the micro-inverters.

1. You don't want to install solar where there will be shade on the panels anyway
2. Electronics do fail - ask NASA - if your panels are on a roof or difficult to get to then replacement will not be difficult or more costly
3. The additional efficiency claim does not seem to be true according to the experts that İ read daily
4. İt is generally better to have one unit than multiple units of anything - less problems
5. To access the enphase monitoring program you have to pay them a monthly fee - good business model for them but for you? İ don't think so.

What state are you located in?
post #3 of 3
A top quality inverter is critical to the system MPPT type preferred 
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