Traditional solar power systems use centralised string inverters to collect the DC power from a series of solar panels in a row.
However, in some installations where specific continuous shade may be a factor, sometimes a micro inverter system can be an alternative option. While string inverters outperform micro inverters in peak efficiency and reliability, they can pose a challenge on an array that is constantly in shade in at least one area all day.
A micro inverter is a smaller modular inverter that is mounted directly beneath the solar module on the array. Because a micro inverter works at each module level rather then an entire array, it has an advantage in shade where if one panel is shaded it does not affect the rest of the array’s yield.
However, in installations where there is no shade issue, micro inverters should be avoided, as their peak efficiency is generally 3-4% less then a good quality string inverter. Also, with micro inverters you have 10-20 times more components in your Gippsland solar system that can possibly fail in the future.
Micro inverter installations are generally 20-30% more expensive then a standard string inverter installation, if they are the same price, then we suggest (as with any solar system) you ask some serious questions as to who produces the micro inverters, how long they have been in business and does the manufacturer directly have offices in Australia or is the product service & support via an importer.
Although some companies like SMA who produce both string and micro inverters have made significant advances in shade tolerant technologies with their string inverters, micro inverters are an alternative emerging technology with their own place in the market in Gippsland.