The use of microinverters allows for more advanced monitoring capabilities as well as for a more flexible installation. As opposed to string inverters, you will have one microinverter per solar panel and each pair of solar panel+microinverter is independent from the rest of the system. Microinverters pose an unique advantage when there is shading from nearby objects like trees and buildings. Microinverters can be found in 240V configuration for single phase systems and 208V for three-phase installations. Similar to central inverters, they comply with all UL safety regulations. Microinverters do not have moving parts, switches or buttons. They are outdoor rated and are usually mounted under the solar panels. They do not feature independent displays; however, the system needs to be supplied with a display monitor that will allow you to keep track of your systems performance. The monitor will also allow you to check the systems performance remotely via the internet. One feature that is only available with microinverters is the capability to monitor the performance of each panel individually. The visual interface makes it very easy to identify when a solar panel has been disconnected or is not performing at its optimum capacity. Microinverters are also recommended when the solar panels are installed in challenging locations, for example a roof top with skylights, chimneys, vents, pipes, antennas, etc. In these types of scenarios, the solar array needs to be broken down into smaller sub arrays, a task that is simplified by using microinverters. The smallest string inverter available is 2000W, if a smaller grid-tie system is needed, microinverters are the best option.
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