Solar Inverters: Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Solar energy does not produce electricity in a form that can be used to power a table lamp. Inverters convert the power generated by your solar panels into usable electricity.

Consider it a currency exchange for your power. You may have a fistful of yen, but you can’t pay for lunch in the United States until you stop and exchange it for USD.

Your house is wired to run on alternating current (AC). Solar panels generate direct current electricity at first (DC). Inverters convert direct current (DC) power into alternating current (AC) power, which your lamp can use to illuminate the room.

Many renewable energy inverters are critical components of a rooftop solar system. String inverters, micro-inverters, and power optimizers are the three options available.

String Inverters

String inverters have a single centralized inverter — or, to continue with the metaphor, a single central currency exchange station.

This is a standard inverter, and it works fine if there is no encroaching shade from nearby trees or a large chimney. It’s also beneficial if you have all of your solar panels pointing in the same direction.

String inverters are the most common and least expensive in the industry.


  • Most affordable
  • Inverter standard
  • With no shade, it performs well.


  • If a single panel is damaged or shaded, overall output suffers.
  • There is no way to individually monitor each panel.
  • If your solar panels face in different directions, this is not ideal.
  • Increasing power requirements are more challenging and may necessitate the installation of a second central inverter.


Micro-inverters use a small unit beneath or built into each solar panel to convert power. Consider it the equivalent of having mini currency exchange stations on every nearby street corner.

As a result, each panel can operate at peak efficiency while remaining independent of its neighbors. Even if a tree branch shades the panel next to it for the majority of the day, all of the other panels can convert at full capacity.

They also allow you to track each individual panel’s performance. This is useful for detecting any problems with a single panel so that they can be repaired before affecting the overall productivity of the system.

Any decrease in efficiency affects only one panel. These can be more expensive than string inverters, but they may pay for themselves by allowing you to get more power out of your system as a whole.

Micro-inverters also make it simple to increase power consumption if desired. Assume you purchase an electric car and need more power to charge it every night. Adding more solar panels and inverters is simpler and less expensive than adding a string inverter system’s additional central inverter.


  • The power output of a solar panel system will not be reduced if it is shaded by, say, a nearby tree.
  • Panel monitoring on an individual basis is possible.
  • Increasing power requirements is less difficult and less costly than installing a second central inverter.
  • This is useful for rooftops where solar panels may face in different directions.


  • Higher initial investment
  • It is not necessary if all panels face the same direction and are not shaded.

Power Optimizers

In terms of functionality and cost, these fall somewhere between string inverters and micro-inverters.

Power optimizers, like micro-inverters, have a component (the “optimizer”) beneath and within each solar panel. However, rather than converting the DC to AC on the spot, these inverters optimize the current before sending it to a central inverter. This is more efficient than a string inverter because any slow production from one panel does not slow down the entire system, but it is less expensive than a standard micro-inverter setup.

Consider being able to skip ahead in line at the currency exchange office. It’s not quite as quick or convenient as having your own exchange office a few steps from your house, but there’s no waiting once you get to the central office.

Micro-inverters and power optimizers are becoming increasingly popular, and their prices are falling as technology advances.


  • More efficient compared to string inverters.
  • More affordable than micro-inverters.
  • Panel monitoring on an individual basis is possible.


  • Higher initial investment
  • It is not necessary if all panels face the same direction and are not shaded.

Finally, the best inverter for you will be determined by the shape and size of your roof, the proximity of trees, the amount of energy you require, and your budget.

What to Look for in a Solar Inverter

To summarize, there are three types of inverters: string inverters, microinverters, and power optimizers. They all convert the power produced by your solar panels from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) (AC). This makes the energy available for use in your home.

Here are a few things to look for when shopping for a solar inverter:

Solar Inverter Warranties

Most people prefer to buy electronic devices with warranties. Solar inverters are no exception. Most inverters have warranties ranging from 5 to 10 years, though some can be extended to 25 years.

When you’re looking at a company, make sure you understand what’s covered by the warranty and what isn’t. For example, some power optimizers may not include the central inverter as part of the warranty.

Also, make certain that you comprehend the terms of any warranty. Is the device covered both for internal and external damage? If you have to send in parts, will you be charged for labor or shipping? All of these are crucial questions to ask.

Solar Inverter Operating Temperatures

A solar inverter, like most electronic devices, works best when it is kept cool. The operating temperature of an inverter is the safest temperature range it can maintain.

As they perform their functions, inverters will naturally generate some heat. They are subjected to a wide range of temperature fluctuations because they are usually in an uncontrollable outdoor environment.

Naturally, conditions aren’t always ideal, and an inverter may have to work harder than others at times. The higher the operating temperature (the greater the heat capacity), the better.

Solar Inverter Efficiency

Peak efficiency and weighted efficiency are the two numbers to look for in solar inverter efficiency.

Peak efficiency indicates the efficiency of your inverter when it is operating at maximum capacity. It’s useful to know what the best-case scenario is, but it’s also important to remember that it won’t always be at that level. On some days, it may only operate at peak efficiency for an hour or two, if at all.

Figures for weighted efficiency in variables such as DC input levels. This provides a more accurate reading because sunlight, temperature, and other environmental factors all affect inverter efficiency throughout the day.