How to choose an Inverter
Almost every customer wants to know; how does the inverter work, what is the warranty on it, and why did you choose that particular one? So we've decided to give some explanation to our thought process at MWSS on choosing the proper inverter.
Solar Edge and Enphase control over 90% of solar technology electronics (https://news.energysage.com/best-solar-inverters-solaredge-vs-enphase-sma-tigo/), so why is that? SMA Solar creates good inverters and are ran out of Germany, but they are very proud of their products and have a bit higher price tag than the 2 main stream companies. They definitely take 3rd place in MWSS internal votes but overall we try to keep cost as low as possible for customers so we shy away from them. We also feel that because they are not as popular as Enphase and Solar Edge we would have a harder time getting any tech support in case of an emergency.
The knock on Enphase is simple, they only make micro-inverters. You wont find much bad about their micro-inverters besides the fact that they are not a string inverter. Microinverters tend to be higher in upfront cost than a string inverter but they do give you a slightly better efficiency than a string inverter. This is due to the fact that a string inverter will have a long PV source circuit. Your PV source circuit is the DC load directly off of your solar panels and the longer this circuit is to the string inverter the more loss you will have (very minimal). Microinverters convert your DC energy at the array to AC energy. This eliminates any drop in efficiency. If a customer does not have a preferred spot for a large string inverter these can also be a good solution. Enphase offers wireless monitoring for their microinverters that is a must this day in age with many state incentives requiring that you set up your monitoring on a web based platform for them to keep track of annually. Enphase also offers AC batteries for storage options, this is a must for them since all they make are micro inverters. Overall if we are going to install microinverters on a customers home or office we use Enphase. (https://enphase.com/en-us)
Solar Edge is our favorite inverter at MWSS. They offer a fantastic free design tool that is a seamless transition for tracking and monitoring. They are very reasonable on their pricing, offer very supportive assistance over the phone, and have an edge over the competition due to their power optimizers. Their power optimizers install similar to a Microinverter. These optimizers go on every panel and help maximize your panels efficiency through shading times, and they also make your system very safe. The output of each optimizer is only 1V, this is very assuring when a squirrel chews your wires underneath your panel for instance. These optimizers can also make troubleshooting very simple for when you do have an issue. Solar Edge inverters come with the standard 12 year warranty on most of their models, and a 25 year warranty on their optimizers. String inverters not only make the most sense for cost but we have also found that many customers love the fact that string inverters have an LCD screen that you can show off that tells you what your panels are doing at that exact time. (https://www.solaredge.com/us/)
We hope this blog helped you understand what goes through the thought process when choosing between a string inverter or a micro inverter. As always please contact us regarding any questions you may have about your solar panel system.