Are Cheaper Inverters a Safe Choice?
When homeowners make the wise decision to switch to solar energy, they face a critical choice—whether to invest in higher-priced microinverters or cheaper string inverters. Are these cheaper inverters a safe choice? Read on to learn all you need to know, so you can choose the right solar setup for your needs.
What Is an Inverter?
Inverters do most of the heavy lifting in any photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system. Solar panels soak up sunlight throughout the day, producing energy in the form of direct current (DC) electricity. This energy must be converted into alternating current (AC) before it can be efficiently used in your home, and that’s where inverters come in. They convert the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into safe, efficient, and inexpensive AC electricity that’s easily applied to everyday appliances.
Microinverters Vs. String Inverters
When it comes to inverters for residential solar energy systems, you have two choices: a series of microinverters or a string inverter system. Microinverters are single units attached to each solar panel, so you’ll have the same number of inverters as panels in your system. Each microinverter converts DC to AC electricity, independent of the conversion performed by the other microinverters.
A string inverter system, on the other hand, is a single electrical box installed near the home’s main service panel. It functions as a series circuit for all the solar panels that are hooked up to it, converting electricity for all associated panels. This option is much more affordable than the microinverter route since a string inverter is only a single component. Not only is the string inverter itself cheaper than buying several microinverters, but fewer labor hours are required to install it, making it even more affordable. But is it safe?
Both microinverters and string inverters are very safe for residential solar systems when they’re installed correctly. While string inverters are a cheaper option, they’re often the safer choice. Since they have fewer electrical components, there are fewer connection hazards compared to systems that rely on microinverters.
Pros and Cons of Microinverters and String Inverters
It’s clear that string inverters are the cheaper and safer choice, but there are pros and cons to each inverter option. String inverters are also easier to troubleshoot and wire to solar panels, but they do have some drawbacks. They’re not as efficient as microinverters if solar panels are in partial shade at any time of the day. They’re also not as flexible as microinverters, since increasing the size of your solar system requires investing in a separate string inverter, making the system more costly and complex.
In terms of lifespan, microinverters have string inverters beat. Microinverters often come with a 25-year warranty, while string inverters carry warranties between 8 and 12 years.
Which Inverter Is Best for Your Home?
Not sure which inverter option is the best choice for your residential solar energy system? The solar experts at Solar Bear – Tampa are ready to answer all your questions. Call us today at (727) 471-7442 to learn more and schedule your free consultation.