What is the difference between micro-inverter, string inverter and central inverters?
A micro-inverter converts power AT THE solar panel from DC electricity to 240V AC electricity and is attached to each panel in a solar system. Micro-inverters best suit shaded roofs as shade affecting one panel will not affect any other unshaded panels. They are also useful on roofs that are too small to enable a string of panels to be installed. Micro-inverters are more expensive to install as instead of one central inverter, each panel has its own inverter. With more inverters there are more chances of a failure. Access is difficult so warranty labour costs are high and as warranties are usually p;arts only the cost is borne by the owner. Inverter do not work well in heated environments. Micro-inverters are postioned in hotter enviroments on the roof rather than on the shaded side of a house.
A string inverter is connected to a series or “string” of solar panels and converts the power from Direct Current (DC) in to Alternate Current (AC) electricity, for the solar system as a whole. A string inverter will usually be located a short distance away from the array in a sheltered location between the solar array and the switchboard. This is the most common type of inverter used in residential and small / medium commercial systems in Australia.
A central inverter is a high capacity inverter designed for use with large commercial or utility (power station) sized solar systems. It is like large string inverter designed to handle more power and offer efficiencies / economies of scale.