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Microinverters vs. Optimizers – How do they compare?

Since their introduction into the PV Solar Market, Microinverters and PV Optimizers have been proven to provide installers and homeowners with numerous benefits that a traditional String or Central Inverter does not offer.  Before jumping into a micro/optimizer system, let’s look at each technology and see how you can benefit from either one.

Benefits of a Microinverter

The most notable benefit of a microinverter is its ability to pinpoint each module’s ideal voltage and produce at its maximum power.  This feature is known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT).  Essentially the microinverter is “tracking” the real-time sunlight intensity and solar cell temperature of each module, both of which vary throughout the day.  Knowing these two variables is what allows a microinverter to produce at the module’s maximum power, also known as peak power voltage (Vpp).

Microinverters also provide real-time monitoring of each module.  Knowing how well your module is producing is ideal in order for your array to perform at its peak for the life of the system.  If a module is not producing at its maximum power, it’s usually due to shading or dirt and debree on the module itself.  And since there is one microinverter connected to each module, all modules are controlled independently.  This means that if one or more module becomes shaded or dirty, the rest of the modules in the array will still perform at its peak power.  In contrast, with a string or central inverter, your entire array will be affected by the inefficiencies of just one module.

Other advantages of a Microinverter include:

  • Less power loss due to shading, module mismatch and other problems
  • Greater flexibility in system design
  • Enhanced safety for installers due to the absence of high voltage DC wires
  • The ability to extract more electricity from the individual PV module

Benefits of a PV Optimizer

Many of the same features of a microinverter are also found in a PV Optimizer, including MPPT and real-time monitoring.  Here are some benefits that make the optimizer stand out from its competitor:

  • Tigo Optimizers require no trunk cables. Wiring is done with simple DC leads – not with complex, rigid and proprietary parallel bus cables, drops and whips. Tigo Energy Maximizers are attached directly onto the module frame, eliminating the need for special mounting hardware, additional grounding, or rooftop labor.
  • Low Part Count. Tigo Energy’s Maximizers contain 1/10th the part count of a typical microinverter, because they do not constantly boost panel voltage by large multiples or handle the entire inversion process behind every panel. Lower part count enables greater efficiency, higher reliability, and a better cost structure.
  • Low Heat. The Tigo Energy circuit is so efficient that there is no heat being created to stress the module or the Tigo Energy components. In contrast, a 94% efficiency microinverter must dissipate 12W of heat (assuming a 200W module) into the module that is above it.
  • High Efficiency. Tigo Energy’s unique technology provides module-level MPP control without adding a power stage, enabling DC conversion efficiencies exceeding 99.5%. This means when used with the industry’s leading inverters, total system DC-AC conversion efficiency can exceed 97.5%.
  • Advanced System Monitoring. Tigo Energy provides functionality well beyond simple inverter-direct monitoring. As Tigo Energy samples each panel in the array simultaneously each second, advanced analytics can be automated in the datacenter.

 

Microinverters

Enphase Energy M215

Enphase Website Pic_5

Features:

– 215 Watt Output

– 96% CEC efficiency

– Compatible with most 60-Cell modules ONLY

– MPPT Range: 22-36V

– Integrates with Enphase Engage Cable

25-year limited warranty (PDF)

 

Power-One Aurora Micro

Power One Website Pic 3

Features:

– 250 or 300 Watt Output

– 96% CEC efficiency

– Compatible with most 60-Cell, 72-Cell and 96-Cell* modules

– MPPT Range: 25-60V

– Wireless and Web-Based Monitoring with AURORA CDD

– 10-year limited warranty

 

CLICK HERE to see a detailed Side-by-Side Comparison between Enphase and Power-One Microinverters

Get a $20 Rebate on Every Power-One Micro Purchased until August 31, 2013Get Details

 

PV Optimizers

Tigo Energy Dual Maximizer ES

Tigo Website Pic_1

Features:

– 600 Watt Output

– PV-Safe™ Technology

– Each unit can be used with one or two modules

– MPPT Range: 16-48V

– Ultra-compact and lightweight

– Best in-class system conversion efficiencies

 

 

 

To find out more about these products, go to our NEW Online Web Store: webstore.soldist.com

For questions regarding any of the products above, or to place an order please call toll-free: 1.855.765.3478