Advantages and Disadvantages of Microinverters

Jun. 28, 2024

When installing solar panels on your roof, you have various options, with one of the most common being the use of string inverters. Microinverters, on the other hand, serve a similar purpose but are connected to fewer solar modules compared to string inverters. This post explores the primary advantages and disadvantages of microinverters. Partnering with a skilled solar installer is crucial to guaranteeing the installation of high-quality solar panels with efficient inverters.


What are Microinverters?


Microinverters convert direct current from solar modules into alternating current. Unlike string inverters, which are usually placed away from the array, microinverters attach directly to individual solar panels.


Are Microinverters Better?


If you are considering going solar, microinverters can offer several advantages over conventional string inverters:


Tracking Real-Time Solar Intensity: Microinverters optimize each system's voltage to achieve maximum peak power voltage (VPP) using Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). This ensures efficient power generation throughout the day, even under varying conditions like shading or dirt on the array.


Monitoring: Microinverters provide individual per-panel monitoring, enabling homeowners and solar installation companies to promptly identify and address underperforming panels.


Reliability: High-quality microinverters undergo rigorous testing to ensure durability and reliability, capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions.


Improved Safety: Instant DC to AC conversion by microinverters eliminates potential safety risks associated with high-voltage DC electricity.


Longer Warranties: Microinverters typically come with a 25-year warranty, significantly longer than the 5-year warranties often offered with string inverters.


Micro inverters For Solar Panels

What are the Drawbacks of Microinverters?


When considering microinverter solar panel installations, it's important to be aware of:


Higher Upfront Costs: Microinverters contribute to slightly higher initial costs due to the increased number of components compared to central or string inverters.


Possible Failure Rates: With more system components, microinverters may have higher theoretical failure rates compared to single-point-of-failure string inverters. However, if a microinverter fails, only the attached solar panel is affected, minimizing the impact compared to a complete system failure with a string inverter.


Technology maturity: Micro-inverters have not been used sufficiently long to produce long-term performance data. They are installed in one of the hottest spots of solar panels and after several years of heat exposure, there could be an increased risk of failure. So far though, there hasn't been a major crisis in the sector that resulted in a mass recall of micro-inverters.


These factors underscore the importance of choosing a high-quality solar power system capable of enduring extreme weather conditions and delivering long-term value. Poor-quality microinverters can be associated with higher failure rates, emphasizing the importance of thorough research and investing in reliable components to maximize the benefits of your solar panel installation.


There are many benefits to microinverters but it is important to consider your property and solar needs. If your property has considerable shade, then microinverters can offer the best possible advantage. For commercial solar PV systems, microinverters offer an exponential value over time as they monitor individual panels for optimal performance.  


Microinverters vs String Inverters


Microinverter Reliability


Microinverters demonstrate strong long-term durability with a failure rate of less than 1 in 800, indicating high reliability. This aligns with manufacturer claims, such as those from Enphase, emphasizing the independent operation of each microinverter within a solar array.


Lower Heat Stress: Microinverters operate at lower power levels compared to string inverters, resulting in reduced heat generation. This reduction in heat stress contributes to longer lifespans and lower failure rates for electronic components.


Simpler Power Conversion Process: Micro inverters directly convert the DC power from the solar panel to AC power at the panel site. This simpler and more direct conversion process can be inherently more reliable than the more complex process in string inverters, which must handle higher voltages and power levels.


If one microinverter fails, it does not impact the performance of others in the array, ensuring continued effective operation of the entire system.

String Inverter Reliability


String inverters have a failure rate of about 1 in 350, according to our data, making them less reliable than microinverters. This is primarily due to the central role of a string inverter within a solar array. A failure in a string inverter can impact the entire array or a significant portion of it.


String inverters often handle higher power loads than microinverters, leading to increased heat accumulation. Over time, this heat stress can deteriorate electronic components and contribute to a higher likelihood of failure.


Additionally, string inverters operate at higher voltages, which can result in more significant wear and tear compared to the lower voltage operations of microinverters.

Micro inverters For Solar Panels