Two solar installers on residential rooftop installing solar panel; roof has racking system and microinverters installed

Comparing
Inverters Make the smartest choice in solar.

Image of micro inverter vs string inverter vs string inverter with DC optimizer; solaredge vs enphase

Microinverters or conventional? The choice is yours.

Microinverters, string inverters, and string inverters with DC optimizers -- oh my! With all the solar technologies out there and not a lot of straightforward information, deciding on the right solar option can be confusing. We're here to break down some key differences for you (in a way you won't need an engineering degree to understand). Once you've got it down,
you might find the choice is simpler than you thought.

  • Tom McClelland, Hush Energy

    Why I Chose Enphase.

    "With Enphase, we can offer our customers any size system for any situation -- zero export, shading, storage. Homeowners love it, and there is no comparison in quality and technology."

    -- Tom McClelland
    Hush Energy from Queensland

     

Don't let the little things drag you down.

Chart showing Enphase microinverters on right with one shaded panel that still produces 50% and the other three panels produce 100%; string inverters are shown on right and when one panel is shaded, all four panels reduce energy production to 50%

Microinverters

Whether it's a leaf, dirt, or a cloudy day, obstructions happen. All the time, to every system. With microinverters, only the individual panel is affected, while the others keep performing to their fullest. At the end of the day, that means more solar power and greater energy savings from the same panels.

String systems

A string inverter system can only perform as well as its lowest-performing panel. So if shade or a pile of leaves hinders one panel's performance, every other panel operates at the same diminished capacity. That means every little obstacle has a big impact on your energy production -- and takes a bite out of your potential savings. 

When safety counts, the choice is clear.

Image showing 60 volts with green check mark representing that low-voltage DC never exceeds 60 volts

Low-voltage DC never exceeds 60 volts

DC-AC conversion happens on the panel level, so there's never any high-voltage power traveling through your system. In other words, you don't have to worry about the dangers lurking on your own roof.

Image showing 600 volts to 1000 volts with red x representing that high-voltage string inverter systems exceed 600 volts

Up to 1,000 volts DC on roof

In a string inverter system, there's a lot of high-voltage electricity working its way across your roof. That comes with potential hazards to both you and your installers, including arc-faulting and fire.

Keeping our communities safe,
one system at a time.

Father, mother, and two children interacting with peacock at the zoo

Organisations around the country choose Enphase knowing it meets even the strictest safety requirements.

Hear why Hamilton Zoo chose Enphase
Service station worker smiling in front of gas pump

An all-AC system means lower fire risk. Why put high-voltage electricity on your roof when you don’t have to?

Hear a service station's perspective
Chart showing that our plug and play components were built for faster and easier installations

Enphase is faster to install. (88 minutes faster, to be exact.)

We've built our plug-and-play components to be easier and quicker to install. That's because we know that spending less time on the roof gives installers more time to devote to building their business.

A third-party study commissioned by Enphase in September 2015 found that, excluding racking, SolarEdge took 47% longer to install, and SMA took 68% longer to install.

Illustration of computer screen on the left and solar installation truck on the right with the letters

Make truck rolls a thing of the past.

What happens when something goes wrong? If it's a string inverter system, it means the installer sends a truck to investigate in person. Making the trip, locating the problem, then resolving it -- by the time it's over, they've spent valuable manpower hours and dollars. With microinverters, smart monitoring lets the installer pinpoint the issue instantly from wherever they are, and often resolve it remotely. (Or if not, arrive at the site knowing exactly what to look for.)
Boom, problem solved; time and money saved.

Microinverters vs. DC Optimizers: Know the difference

There are microinverter systems and string inverter systems. DC optimizers are a more complicated string inverter system. A system is only as reliable as its weakest link and the string inverter is the weakest link in any DC optimizer system. Microinverters reduce system complexity and are easier to design and install.

  • Graphic icon of microinverter silhouette

    Enphase
    Microinverters

    • Green check mark to signify yes Flexible Design
      - No string sizing
      - Multiple configurations
      - All-AC design
    • Green check mark to signify yes Easier Installation
      - Simple all-AC installation (no DC electrical work)
      - No mounting a string inverter
    • Green check mark to signify yes Greater Productivity
      In independent studies, Enphase produced up to 3.1% more energy
    • Green check mark to signify yes Higher Reliability
      No single point of failure
    • Green check mark to signify yes Greater Durability
      - IP67 enclosure
      - Ultra-reliable components
    • Green check mark to signify yes Increased Safety
      Low voltage DC never exceeds 60 volts
  • Graphic icon of string inverter

    String
    Inverters

    • Gray Rigid Design
      - String sizing
      - Minimum system size is 8 panels
      - DC and AC design required
    • Gray Complex Installation
      - Added complexity with DC and AC electrical work
      - Design changes in field are difficult
    • Gray Lower Productivity
      Productivity varies by string length
    • Gray Less Reliable
      Inverter is a single point of system failure
    • Gray Less Durable
      - Inverter has IP14 enclosure
      - Avoid installation in direct sunlight
    • Gray Not as Safe
      Up to 600-1000 volts DC on roof
  • Graphic icon of string inverter with DC optimizer

    String Inverters with DC Optimizers

    • Gray Rigid Design
      - String sizing
      - Minimum system size is 8 panels
      - DC and AC design required
    • Gray Complex Installation
      - Added complexity with DC and AC electrical work
      - Design changes in field are difficult
    • Gray Lower Productivity
      Productivity varies by string length
    • Gray Less Reliable
      Inverter is a single point of system failure
    • Gray Less Durable
      - Inverter has IP14 enclosure
      - Avoid installation in direct sunlight
    • Gray Not as Safe
      Up to 600-1000 volts DC on roof