The Difference Between Power Optimisers and Micro-inverters

power optimisers vs micro-inverters

String Inverters

The Direct Current (DC) your solar panels generate is transmitted to a string solar inverter in traditional solar energy systems. Then the DC power is converted into AC power, which is then utilised by appliances in your house or exported back to the utility grid. Fronius Symo is an example of traditional string inverters.

Micro-inverters and power optimisers, twist the standard solar panel system setup. Micro-inverters fully replace the need for a string inverter, while power optimisers work alongside the string inverter to increase solar panel output in case of roof shadow issues.

Micro-Inverters

How It Works:

Instead of one central inverter, solar energy systems with microinverters have an inverter on the back of each solar panel. These micro-inverters carry out the same function as a standard string inverter (conversion of DC power to AC power), negating the necessity for a standard inverter. Enphase is mostly a choice in Australia.

Benefits:

With a string inverter, if one solar panel has shade and gives lower output, all solar panels can potentially suffer from the same reduced output.

As the DC-AC conversion of micro-inverter systems takes place at the panel level, the solar panel output of each module isn’t affected by other modules. Micro-inverters also let you monitor the efficiency of individual solar panels.

Disadvantages:

Micro-inverters can cost almost twice as much as standard string inverters.

As they are placed along with solar panels on the roof, micro-inverters systems are exposed to extreme climate conditions.

Sometimes due to higher temperatures in the summer season, your micro-inverters will be put under an incredible amount of stress and may not operate as designed.

Power Optimisers

How it Works:

Just like micro-inverters, a power optimiser is a small box connected to the back of each solar panel. However, unlike micro-inverters, power optimisers work with string inverters to enable the maximum solar panel efficiency.

Power optimisers could be built within the solar panels themselves, like Canadian Solar’s new Smart Module, or can be sold and fitted on separately, like TIGO power optimiser.

Instead of converting DC into AC at the solar panel site like a micro-inverter, power optimisers regulate the output of the module and then delivers the energy to a string inverter. This method leads to higher solar panel efficiency than a string inverter alone.

Benefits:

Like micro-inverters, power optimisers reduce the impact of shaded panels on the overall solar panel efficiency and output while also providing individual solar panel performance monitoring.

Less expensive than micro-inverters, high-performance power optimisers like those from Solar Edge achieve the same advantages at higher efficiency and with higher reliability.

Disadvantages:

While power optimisers cost less than micro-inverters, investing in them can cost you more than buying standard panels and a string inverter.

Bottom Line:

Power optimisers are an excellent option where shading or a complicated roof would negatively affect the efficiency of your solar energy system. But, if you’re lucky enough to have an unshaded roof, a string inverter is an incredible choice.

For more information on solar for your house, including power optimisers, contact AYKA Solar today. We provide the best-priced and high-quality inverter which can assure you maximum solar panel output and solar panel savings in future. Our skilled solar experts can work with you to discuss solar choices that can work best for your house in Australia.

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