Articles tagged "microinverters"

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Photo of Enphase and SolarEdge solar inverters
Enphase vs SolarEdge: which home solar inverter is best?
In a home solar installation, the inverter plays the critical role of turning the direct current from the solar panels into alternating current that the house can use. Broadly speaking, there are three types of inverter systems: microinverters, string inverters, and power optimizers. There are pros and cons to each of these, and situations where one type is more appropriate than another. While a quality solar installer will answer all of your questions about why they recommend a particular inverter, it’s always a good idea to have as much knowledge as possible so that you can ask intelligent questions.
Example of an AC module (Courtesy Panasonic)
What is an AC solar panel?
Solar panels are magical things that turn sunlight into electricity. The electrons that flow out of a solar panel move in a steady stream, known as direct current (DC). But because Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse triumphed over Thomas Edison in what is now called The War of the Currents (they even made a movie out of it!) we use alternating current (AC) in our homes instead of DC. This means that the DC electricity generated by solar panels needs to be converted into AC before your home can make use of it.
An overview of Enphase microinverters
If you’ve read my article about how solar inverters work, you’ll know that one way to get the maximum output out of your solar panels in difficult shade conditions is to use microinverters. The company that is far and away the largest player in the microinverter industry is Enphase Energy. In business since 2006, the California-based Enphase has shipped over 20 million microinverters, so they have a lot of experience. They’ve gone through several iterations of their product lineup, and in this article I’ll take a look at their latest offerings.