Solar inverters: Learn, compare, decide

Microinverters: A brighter idea

For seasoned installers, Enphase microinverters are a no-brainer
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The Enphase system advantage

Microinverters harvest more power from solar panels and are easier to install, monitor and maintain. Another big advantage with Enphase microinverters: they combine ultra-reliable components with a distributed architecture that makes for a more resilient system. That’s something string inverters can’t do.

Designing a microinverter installation
Designing a microinverter installation

Solar PV designers will gain an edge with installation best practice recommendations for Enphase M250 Microinverters.

M250 Features
M250 Features

Installers: Understand key features of the Enphase M250 Microinverter.

Configuring Wi-Fi for Envoy
Configuring Wi-Fi for Envoy

Learn about the new Enphase supported Wi-Fi option, which lets you network an Envoy to a wireless router.

Microinverters vs. DC optimizers: Know the difference

There are microinverter systems and string inverter systems. DC optimizers are a more complicated string inverter system. A system is only as reliable as its weakest link and the string inverter is the weakest link in any DC optimizer system. Microinverters reduce system complexity and are easier to design and install.

Flexible design
Easier Installation
Greater Productivity
Higher Reliability
Greater Durability
Longer Warranty
Increased Safety
Enphase microinverter
Enphase microinverter
  • No string sizing
    Multiple configurations
    All-AC design
  • Simple all-AC installation
    No DC electrical work
    No mounting a string inverter
  • In independent studies, Enphase produced up to 3.1% more energy.
  • No single point of failure
  • NEMA 6 enclosure and ultra-reliable components
  • 25 years
    APAC 10 years
  • Low voltage DC never exceeds 60 volts
String inverter
String inverter with DC optimizers
  • String sizing
    Minimum system size is 8 panels
    DC and AC design required
  • Added complexity with DC and AC electrical work
    Design changes in field are difficult
  • Productivity varies by string length
  • Inverter is a single point of system failure
  • Inverter has NEMA 3r enclosure
    Avoid installation in direct sunlight
  • Inverter is covered for 10-12 years
  • Up to 600-1000 volts DC on roof
String inverter with DC optimizers
String inverter with DC optimizers
  • String sizing
    Minimum system size is 8 panels
    DC and AC design required
  • Added complexity with DC and AC electrical work
    Design changes in field are difficult
  • Productivity varies by string length
  • Inverter is a single point of system failure
  • Inverter has NEMA 3r enclosure
    Avoid installation in direct sunlight
  • Inverter is covered for 10-12 years
  • Up to 600-1000 volts DC on roof
A ‘no-brainer’

A ‘no-brainer’

In this blog post, Run on Sun founder and CEO Jim Jenal outlines the top three reasons to pick Enphase microinverters over string inverters.

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Microinverters: The smarter choice

More cost-effective

More cost-effective

On the surface, string inverters seem like a good deal. Add up the costs and you get a different story. If you get onsite and have to run extra conduit to move the inverter out of direct sunlight, costs escalate. Or, if the homeowner wants the inverter moved for aesthetic reasons, costs go up again.

String inverters also require:

  • 2 conduit runs (AC + high voltage DC)
  • Mounting a string inverter and DC optimizers
  • Surprise cost overruns if inverter can’t be mounted near the service panel
Higher production

Higher production

Third-party studies have shown that Enphase Microinverters produce more energy than the leading string and DC-optimized string inverters.

  • Enphase produced up to 3.1% more than the leading DC-optimized string inverter. Download the study here.
  • Enphase Microinverters are proven to produce more at dawn, dusk and in low light conditions.
More reliable

More reliable

Compared with string inverters, microinverters are the least failure-prone choice by a mile. When string inverters fail, the entire system goes down, necessitating emergency maintenance. This costs money and diverts installers from doing what they do best: installing systems.

Safer

Safer

String inverter systems have high voltage DC, which presents risks for customers and installers. String inverters can have “rapid shutdown” workarounds to lower the risk of high voltage DC, but these only mitigate some risk. They do not fully remove it. Enphase Microinverters, by contrast, are low voltage DC by design.

  • String inverters require potentially dangerously high voltage DC on customer's roof
  • String inverter may remain charged even after rapid shutdown is activated
What engineers say

What engineers say

The independent labs at PV Evolution compared Enphase microinverters with Solar Edge string inverters in several key benchmark areas with this study. See what they found.

Download Study
Far West Meats

A real world challenge: Microinverters vs. string inverters

One installer shares his story and his in-depth inverter selection process.
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Customer: Enphase is a better value

Output, reliability make a difference
Based on our analysis and experience, I am convinced that the Enphase value proposition is better than the DC optimizers on the market today. Enphase is much simpler and easier, with lower cost for engineering and field labor; whether comparing it to central inverters, DC optimizers, or other inverter architecture schemes. Energy production data support the Enphase selection, and I believe Enphase is more reliable based on installing several hundred Enphase systems and several DC Optimizer systems over the last 5 years.
Marc Lopata, PE President of Azimuth Energy & Free Island Energy St. Louis, Missouri
I feel that customers are catching on to the misconception that you can just buy SolarEdge optimizers and you're getting all the benefits of a microinverter system. You have a lot more points of liability. The warranty is half as long. Why try to make a string system like a microinverter system? Why not just use microinverters?
Jason Hayes CEO and President of Advanced Improvements Anaheim, California