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Understanding Solar Panel Inverters: Central vs. Micro

When it comes to solar energy systems, the choice between a central inverter and micro-inverters plays a pivotal role. Let's explore the differences and advantages of each to make an informed decision for your solar installation.

Central inverter basics & Micro-inverters

Traditionally, solar panels were connected to a central inverter, converting direct current (DC) from the panels into usable Alternating Current (AC) for your home. Excess power can be fed back into the grid, often utilizing net-metering schemes when power demand in the house is low. This central inverter was typically placed in the house or garage.

In modern solar setups, micro-inverters are gaining popularity. Micro-inverters installed 1:1 under each solar panel, convert direct current (DC) from the panels into usable Alternating Current (AC) for your home. This not only allows for independent panel operation but also minimizes the impact of shade on the system’s overall output. This decentralized approach offers several benefits compared to the central inverter.

Advantages of Central Inverters


Cost Efficiency

Central inverters generally have lower upfront costs, making them an economical choice for some installations.


Simplicity of Installation

Installation of a central inverter is typically quicker and more straightforward than micro-inverter setups.


Proven Technology

Central inverters have a longer track record of use and are well-established in the solar industry.


Series vs. Parallel Connection

When installing, series or parallel switching can be used, depending on the situation. When the roof has little shade or different inclination angles, series-connected is often chosen in combination with a central inverter. Here, the panels are connected as a series with respect to the inverter. Thus, they effectively act as one large solar panel. This means that when one panel yields less, for example because it is in the shade, this affects the yield of the entire system. In a parallel-connected system, the panels operate independently of each other. Each panel has its own inverter, or micro-inverter, connected in parallel with the other panels. As a result, the panels do not affect each other, and the yield is not penalised if one panel performs less. This is useful for roofs with a lot of shade or different slope angles, for example.

Advantages of Micro-Inverters


Monitoring performance

Micro-inverters enable individual panel monitoring, quickly detecting defects.


Installation outside

No need for a large inverter in your house, saving on space.


Limited Shade Influence

Each panel operates independently, maximizing overall system efficiency.

Considerations for Your Choice

While micro inverters initial costs may be higher, the efficiency gains often justify the investment. On the otehr hand central inverters have a longer track record and are widely used with lower in the initial costs.

Ultimately, choosing between a central inverter and micro-inverters depends on your specific situation. Factors like shade, installation ease, and personal preferences play a role. Our experts at Soly are ready to guide you through this decision-making process during a no-obligation consultation.


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