OT: Hey, Ben Solar....

Hey, BenSolar,

We are getting Solar Panels on our house in FL…

Why do you call yourself BenSOLAR? Maybe you know lots about solar systems?

We are getting an Enscape (?) inverter…

Any advice?

jan

:^)

We are getting an Enscape (?) inverter…

Any advice?

I’m not BenSolar but I am assuming you are referring to Enphase micro inverters. I’m a big fan of this type of set up because the solar system can perform much better than a “traditional” set up during periods of partial shade. You can also monitor the panels individually to see any problems like a bad panel that let water in and failed or is covered in dirt or debris.

With a micro inverter system, the solar DC (direct current, like a battery) is converted to AC (alternating current, like your household power) right next to the the solar panel - usually tucked underneath the panel itself. Usually 2-4 solar panels will be connected to a single micro-inverter, so you will have several of them in most systems. Then the AC power is combined and run into your home panel.

On a traditional, non-micro-inverter system, large numbers of solar panels are connected to a single (or relatively few) large inverters - usually on the side of your house. When some panels are in partial shade but others on that string are in full sun, you end up getting a sort of weakest link situation where your energy production falls much more than it would with a micro inverter system in the same conditions. Also with the traditional large inverter system, you have long runs of high voltage DC cabling running to your inverter, where with a micro-inverter system you have regular, relatively safer, AC Romex-type cable run to combiner boxes and ready to go straight into your household panel.

Enphase is a public company, and for whatever reason is usually found on the list of most volatile, biggest movers either up or down on any given day. Must be a favorite of the mo-mo trading crowd. nasdaq: ENPH

I think for me personally the only time I wouldn’t want a micro-inverter system is if I was building a completely off-grid system with large battery banks. In that situation I would want direct current coming into the house to my inverter/charge controller since I would have a bunch of DC batteries to charge.

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@nola622,

The micro inverter system used to be way more expensive than large inverter system. That was the main reason most roof-top solar installations used large inverters pre- 2015. What is the relative cost of the system these days?

Also, if one micro inverter craps out, does the rest of the solar system keep functioning? Thanks

Thank you very much for your response… I am signing the contract!

Hi David,

I chose BenSolar as my handle here because I’m a big fan of solar and other clean energy sources. I’m not any expert on solar power systems, but from what I’ve read, I agree with nola’s comments on the benefits of the micro-inverters. Years ago they had a problem with reliability, but last I looked that had been taken care of.

Congrats on getting a solar power system. My wife and I wanted to get one years ago for our house, but some big shade trees make it not a great fit for us, so we pay extra to our utility every month to support their adoption of renewable energy.

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