Using microinverters with your solar system can be very valuable because of their monitoring capabilities and their functionality for a more flexible installation.
The main difference from solar systems with a central inverter, where one inverter controls the production of all solar panels in the system, is that you will have one microinverter per solar panel. One downfall with the use of microinverters, as may have been expected, is that they increase the number of system components.
Solar Array with Shadows
When a cell in a solar panel is shaded, that series of cells stop producing energy. When a solar panel is shaded, the entire set of panels stops producing energy. This is the nature of photovoltaics. The use of microinverters help reduce the problem of shading caused permanent objects like an adjoining building, communication antennas, utility cables, trees that can’t be pruned, etc.
When you know there will be permanent shadows on your solar array, we recommend using microinverters. This is because microinverters are not interconnected in series, therefore when a solar panel is shaded, only the energy production of that panel is lost, as opposed to the output of the entire set of panels.
Panels with Different Orientation
When solar panels in the same system are installed with different orientations, efficiency is lost. Similar to the shading example, every solar panel in a series of panels will produce electricity at the same rate. When a panel is mounted with a less favorable orientation, I will negatively affect the production of all the panels in that series string. That is why it is recommended that all solar panels in a string are installed with the same orientation and tilt.
This performance issue is completely eliminated with microinverters, where each solar panel may have a different orientation without affecting the other panels in the system.
Small PV Systems
If you need a solar grid-tie system smaller than 3000W, micorinverters are your only alternative. It is possible to connect only one solar panel with one microinverter to the grid. However, we do not recommend installing solar systems composed of less than six panels for economic and production reasons.
Individual Monitoring Per Panel
One of the most attractive features of using microinverters is the ability to monitor the performance of the solar panels in the system individually. You can carefully examine which panels are underperforming and troubleshoot when necessary.
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