A single string inverter is usually sufficient to serve a whole system, even if it is made of a set of panels. Microinverters on the other hand are attached at the back of each panel enabling for better efficiency. There is also greater versatility for homeowners who can find more applications for their systems as well as ease of upgrading.
While domestic solar systems have been reaping the benefits of increasingly smaller microinverters, the opposite is true of larger projects. Large multi-megawatt utility projects have been saddled with even larger inverters to harness the large scale power harvesting scope of such programs. This means that there is still a place for these traditional models which has had experts wondering whether it is too early to write-off string inverters yet.
The main disadvantage associated with microinverters is the costs associated with attaching a device to each panel. This is the main reason why the devices have taken so long to gain popularity although the concept has been touted since the advent of solar as an alternative energy solution.
The issue of cost has recently become less noticeable as increased innovation and efficiencies have blurred the differences. As at the end of 2010, the differences in pricing was on average a single cent in favor of string inverters. By 2011, an innovative approach lead to development of dual microinverters that can take DC input from two panels without compromising on the efficacy of either.
There has been no shortage of innovations in clean energy solutions over the last couple of years or so. The debate is still raging in tech circles as to which is the most consequential in helping the world from the brink of eminent environmental disaster. Whatever the turn that future developments take, there is little doubt that solar microinverters will continue playing a crucial role in this transformation.
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