Installers putting solar panels on roof

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.

In an Enphase system, there's no single point of failure.

Think of solar panels like bulbs in a string of holiday lights. In conventional inverter systems, when one panel fails, the whole system goes out. Or when one panel’s output drops -- thanks to fallen leaves, a passing cloud, or some other unavoidable factor -- the system’s overall performance drops to match that lowest-performing panel. With microinverters, each panel operates independently -- so no matter what happens to any one panel, the rest of your system keeps shining bright.

  • Jason Hayes, CEO and President Advanced Improvements in Anaheim, CA recommends Enphase microinverter vs string inverter

    Why I Chose Enphase.

    "I feel that customers are catching on to the misconception that you can just buy SolarEdge optimizers and you're getting all the benefits of a microinverter system. You have a lot more points of liability. The warranty is half as long. Why try to make a string system like a microinverter system? Why not just use microinverters?"

    -- Jason Hayes, CEO and President
    Advanced Improvements - Anaheim, CA

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.

Young girl sitting at desk in classroom smiling at camera

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

Read one school's story
Three firefighters standing in front of firetruck smiling at camera

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

Hear a firehouse'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.

  • Dan Reed, District Manager at Vivint Solar, recommends Enphase microinverter vs string inverter for fast installation

    "We're able to do an Enphase install in 2-3 hours, and some smaller systems in under one hour."

    -- Dan Reed, District Manager, Vivint Solar
    10,000+ Enphase Systems installed since 2010

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
      - NEMA 6 enclosure
      - Ultra-reliable components
    • Green check mark to signify yes Longer Warranty
      25 years (APAC: 10 years)
    • 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 NEMA 3r enclosure
      - Avoid installation in direct sunlight
    • Gray Shorter Warranty
      Inverter is covered for 10-12 years
    • 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 NEMA 3r enclosure
      - Avoid installation in direct sunlight
    • Gray Shorter Warranty
      Inverter is covered for 10-12 years
    • Gray Not as Safe
      Up to 600-1000 volts DC on roof