Should you get String or Micro Inverter Solar Panels in San Antonio?
I thought micro inverters had completely eradicated string inverters, but I was surprised to hear a homeowner in San Antonio ask if they were effective. This question forced me to research this subject and read several articles comparing micro inverters to string inverters. If you have had solar installers talk up the benefits of string inverters, then you will want to read this article.
After reading several unbiased articles comparing String and Micro-Inverters, it became clear that micro-inverters are far superior, so let me explain why.
Superior in Shade
In a string inverter array, all or a group of solar panels are linked to one single inverter. The single largest flaw with this system is that in a shaded environment the weakest producing panel sets the production levels for the rest of the panels in the array.
What does that mean in plain language? This simply means that if you have 10 solar panels in a string array and one of them is under production then the rest of the solar panels will underproduce and this means that the homeowner will not get the electricity consumption replacement they are promised by the installer.
On the other hand, in a micro-inverter array, each solar panel has its own independent inverter. Therefore, each panel will produce the maximum amount of energy even if one panel is in the shade. This means that a little shade will not completely derail the productivity of the entire micro-inverter solar array. This means that micro-inverter solar panels translate into incredibly happy homeowners in San Antonio and Houston.
If a homeowner in San Antonio or Houston ever discovers their solar panels are malfunctioning, then you will really have a problem if you have a sting inverter solar panel array. This is because each solar panel does not have its own inverter. In other words, these strings of panels do not have any electronic information that can tell you which panel is malfunctioning.
This obstacle leaves solar installers totally in the dark when trying to service the panels.
in contrast, when a solar panel in a micro-inverter array glitches the installer will be able to know exactly which panel is malfunctioning. Homeowners that opted for micro-inverters will have panels fixed and producing at their peak performance much faster than those that choose a string inverter.
The Only Advantage
To be fair, the only area where sting inverters have an advantage is that they cost less on average than a micro-inverter; but this savings is negligible since sting inverters require boosters to be added to the solar array. Therefore, this really begs the question as to why solar installers would recommend sting inverters to their customers in San Antonio or Houston.
What is the Motive
After I read all the information comparing the pros and cons of string inverters and micro-inverters, I really started scratching my head wondering why any solar installer would recommend string inverters. Then it dawned on me that many solar installers have been running low on supplies because of supply chain problems. In fact, one local solar panel installer in San Antonio admitted that they did not have enough supplies of enphase inverters (micro-inverters) and so they were going to start selling solar edge (string inverters) instead.
Now it all made sense why one of my competitors bidding on this solar project would try to convince the homeowner to opt for string inverters, he does not have a supply of micro inverters! Of course, it is possible that some are just trying to be different by trying to string inverters their unique marketing proposition. If this is the case, then it is laughable.
The Last Word
Now in all honesty I can rule out sting inverters completely but since most homes in San Antonio struggle with shade problems I cannot see many applications where it makes sense. I do recommend 100% micro-inverters for most solar panel installations in San Antonio and Houston.
The truth is that if you are really struggling with this issue then stop as the only thing worse than string inverters is not getting solar panels at all! In all honesty, I must admit that I have string inverters on my home because I was misled by my solar installers; but they are working fine. However, that is another story for another article.