Guide to Best Solar Inverters: Enphase vs SolarEdge
What is an Inverter?
The main function of inverters are to convert the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), so all the appliances can use electricity. They are vital to the functionality of your solar system given the fact they have complex parts and software installed. Choosing panels and other materials are essential to choose the best type of inverter. There are 3 types of inverters:
1-String Inverters; Centralized
2-Power Optimizer System; String inverters Power optimizers
String inverters are the most popular option and are the best option especially for bigger systems. However, options 2 and 3 have gained popularity in the market since their have decreased in recent years. Listed below are the best two companies that manufacture inverters: Enphase and SolarEdge.
Enphase Energy is a publicly held company based in Northern California and it was founded in 2006. They manufacture batteries, inverters, and other accessories. Their inverters make the solar system more productive, reliable, Smart, and safe for customers to use it. Inverters deliver optimized output in an elegant design that is very aesthetic and durable.
Solar Edge is becoming a popular choice in the USA due to its unique design. The company with headquarters in Israel was founded in 2006 and offers a wide range of inverters for residential and commercial use. The company offers PV Power Optimizers, PV Monitoring Portal, and Solar Inverters. They produce inverters that use power optimizers to maximize power generation from every single panel. Customers benefit the most from knowing they can have data from monitoring each panel so they can reduce the impact of shading and other performance issues.
Comparing the Products
Micro Inverters Envoy
Enphase is a system that uses micro-inverters that were first introduced in June 2008. These micro-inverters are tucked under each panel and they convert the DC electricity to AC electricity. Besides the micro-inverters, the system has the Envoy system which is essentially its brain. Envoy will gather all the data from the micro-inverters and will deliver it to Enlighten software. Also, Envoy will report any issue related to how the micro-inverters are performing and will deliver updates.
Solar Edge Inverter
SolarEdge has a solar panel optimizer that is attached to each panel which are all connected to one inverter. That means that if one of the panels is in shade, the rest of the modules are unaffected. The same is true for Enphase, but the difference is that SolarEdge sends the DC solar power to one inverter. In comparison, Enphase’s micro-inverters convert the DC to AC immediately at the roof.
What happens if SolarEdge inverter or Enphase micro-inverter malfunctions?
Enphase and Solaredge dominate the high-end residential inverters market in the United States. Although both offer a technology that isolates the performance and enables the monitoring of each individual panel, their modes of failure are quite different.
SolarEdge failure mode:
As mentioned above, a SolarEdge system is composed of optimizers; one optimizer per solar panel, and a string inverter that centralizes the DC currents from the optimizers and converts it into an AC current. Most of the failures we noticed in SolarEdge installations happen at the inverter level which means that the entire system will cease to produce power until the inverter is fixed or replaced.
Of course, if the inverter is under warranty, this doesn’t mean that you are out of luck. NuWatt Energy will make the necessary steps to get the problem fixed for our clients. provided that the inverter is still under manufacturer warranty.
Enphase Micro-inverters failure mode:
Micro-inverters are installed for each panel and are non-centralized. This is an advantage over centralized or string inverters such as SMA, Fronius, or inverters with optimizers such as SolarEdge. If one micro-inverter malfunctions, the other micro-inverters will keep producing power.
Enphase warranties the micro-inverters for 25 years. If any repair is required, your inverter will be replaced at no additional cost to our clients by our technicians.
Scalability. Enphase vs. SolarEdge
SolarEdge’s scalability is limited in comparison to Enphase micro-inverters. SolarEdge systems are limited to the size of the central inverter, which can intake a certain number of solar panels. Enphase micro-inverters have higher flexibility to scale by simply adding solar panels with compatible micro-inverters.
Scalability matters to clients who project an increase in their future power demand in case of adding an electric vehicle, or add a large battery backup system for example. Theoretically, you can add an unlimited number of panels (some modifications may be required of course) when you have a micro-inverter system but you may have to change the central inverter if you want to increase the number of solar panels.
We’ve installed many different types of solar panels over the years and all of them come with our 30-year workmanship warranty. The race to be the best in solar energy is neck-and-neck with the victor varying by slim differences. The following solar panel manufacturers are the most requested by our clients and based on our research, there’s good reason. What are your thoughts? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree or disagree with the panels we call “The Preferred Panels.”
Multi Busbar Solar Cell
Solarever USA panels are becoming a favorite from our clients. These panels gain a high reputation for their 25-Year Efficiency Warranty for 80% output, and with their multi busbar technology are considered to be more efficient than those with fewer. The modules are entirely manufactured in North America.
Manufactured in Mexico
Jinko Solar Panels
Reliable and Affordable
Jinko Solar panels tend to be the most affordable while still providing great output and higher warranty standards. While all reputable solar panel manufacturers come with a 25-year equipment warranty for 80% output, Jinko goes one step further by including a 12-year warranty for 90% output. Recently their US panels stopped being manufactured in China, and now manufactured in the states.
Manufactured in Jackonsville, FL
Ranked Best Solar Panel
Aptos DNA-144 was ranked best solar panel in a recent polling by Solar Power World. They offer a sleek, black design and a 30-year performance warranty of 82% and a 25-year product warranty.
Manufactured in Vietnam
Tier-One Solar Panel
REC Solar panels boast the highest output at end of warranty term at 92.0% and offer a 25-year warranty when installed by a REC certified pro. They’ve been in business for over 25 years so REC has seen their first solar panels make it past the warranty term.
Manufactured in Singapore
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What Are Solar Inverters?
Every grid-tied system requires solar inverters. Since the days of Thomas Edison, electric grids run on Alternating Current (AC). Inverters change the Direct Current (DC) generated from the sunlight on solar panels into AC so that your excess electricity can be stored on the grid. To learn more about this process and net-metering, check out our blog, video section, or give us a call at (210) 401-9030. Listed below are the two dominating types that together make up 95% of the global inverter market share.
Found in 2006, Enphase specializes in microinverters allowing each solar panel to have its own inverter. This makes it easier to scale compared to SolarEdge. Additionally, if an issue occurs with one of your microinverters, all other solar panels will still be able to provide electricity. However, the Enphase IQ microinverters are not compatible with older models, so if you wanted to add more panels to your system using a newer type of microinverter, you’ll need to get a new one for every solar panel. Enphase can handle complex roof’s better as well as shaded areas, thanks to the microinverter technology. Each microinverter comes with a 25-year warranty.
Founded in 2006, SolarEdge specializes in central solar inverters. This means every solar panel is connected to the same inverter. Sharing an inverter makes the system a bit safer in sending power back to the grid. A downside is if an issue occurs with your central inverter, none of your panels will power your home. Another issue with SolarEdge inverters is a limit to the amount of panels you can connect to a central inverter, whereas with Enphase there is no limit. SolarEdge inverters require a central inverter (12 year warranty) and a power optimizer (25 year warranty). The power optimizer makes SolarEdge about 2% more efficient in converting DC to AC than Enphase. The two are difficult to compare in terms of electrical production, because Enphase microinverters can produce more power in shaded areas.
SolarEdge Inverters: The Complete Review
SolarEdge is an Israeli-based company offering PV solar inverters.
What makes SolarEdge unique is their combined power optimizer and string inverter systems are a best-of-both-worlds solution between string inverters and microinverters.
A Brief Rundown on Solar Inverters
String inverters have traditionally been the standard in the solar industry. They send the power produced by solar panels to a central inverter that changes it from DC to usable AC power for your home.
Microinverters, on the other hand, convert DC to AC power at each individual panel and allow for monitoring and power regulation at the panel level. This is useful for homes that are located somewhere with shading from clouds, trees, or other buildings.
The SolarEdge Difference – Optimizers!
SolarEdge power optimizers are somewhere in between string and micros…
They allow panel-level monitoring and power regulation as with a microinverter, but the actual inversion from DC to AC still occurs at a central SolarEdge string inverter.
This is accomplished with SolarEdge power optimizers attached to each panel, as pictured below.
SolarEdge Inverter Efficiency
While efficiency standards for residential inverters are generally 95 to 98 percent, SolarEdge inverter plus power optimizers boast a maximum efficiency of 99.5 percent.
Here’s why SolarEdge inverters are so effective:
- They are more efficient than normal string inverters because they avoid loss of power caused by individual panel shading or malfunctioning.
- They are more effective than microinverters for larger systems because they are not limited by the cap of 21 microinverter panels, due to voltage regulations.
If panels are shaded, SolarEdge power optimizers reconfigure their output so that the combined voltage is roughly 350 volts. The end result is that an output drop in one or more panels does not impact the overall effectiveness of the others.
This is a huge advantage for power optimizers in general, and SolarEdge, in particular, leads the market here.
SolarEdge Power Optimized String Inverter Performance
Overall, Solar.com customers to report good experiences with SolarEdge inverters. Some reasons they list for their support are:
- Inverters work well and are very quiet
- Easy-to-use and thorough monitoring system
- Mitigated shading or multiple angle issues
- Optional battery connectivity for self-consumption and/or backup
- Incredible reliability of hardware
- Higher system output and module-level data logging
Value and Warranty of SolarEdge Inverters
The biggest value proposition of SolarEdge inverters is that they offer the benefits of both string and microinverters at the same time, at a price point between the two.
Systems are also completely expandable. Homeowners can add another array much more easily in the future if energy needs increase. This is a more difficult process with a traditional string inverter, which may require a second central inverter installation. And it’s less expensive than adding more panels with built-in microinverters.
The SolarEdge inverter itself has a 12-year warranty, and their optimizers have a 25-year warranty. There is also an inexpensive option to extend the inverter warranty to 25 years as well. Both warranties are on the higher end of industry standards, which typically fall between 5 and 12 years on average.
If you decide you like the idea of SolarEdge’s optimizers but want to go with another inverter brand, you can do that. SolarEdge built independent operation technology into their optimizers, so they can be used with most any other inverter.
SolarEdge Temperature Coefficient and Safety Features
Inverters function at full capacity when the surrounding air is cooler. When the ambient temperature is too warm, SolarEdge inverters reduce the current output to protect the equipment and prolong its life. It’s also a safety feature so that your system isn’t overloaded.
Another safety feature is SolarEdge SafeDC™ which automatically turns off your solar panels in case of a grid outage. This prevents a voltage surge, electrocution, or damage to your home. SolarEdge inverters are also battery-ready and fully integrated with Tesla’s Powerwall.
SolarEdge – The Top Inverter on Solar.com
All-in-all SolarEdge offers high-efficiency power optimizers and inverters at a competitive price. They also offer great design flexibility, fewer moving parts, comprehensive system monitoring, and industry-leading warranties. Not surprisingly, SolarEdge was the number one selected inverter through the Solar.com platform in 2017.
If you’re looking into a new home solar panel system, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Be sure you’re choosing a qualified installer who’s familiar with all of the equipment and financing options available to you.
- In terms of paying for the system, ownership through a cash purchase or loan will produce the best savings. Leases are another great option if you can’t take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit.
- Use solar quote comparing platforms like Solar.com to easily see what the best installers in your area offer. They’ll compete online for your business, without you needing to hassle with negotiating.
Do you have a SolarEdge Power Optimized String Inverter? Let us know about your experience with it in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below.
PV system isn’t just about solar panels. Once you’ve chosen them, it’s the time to look for an inverter. Or microinverters. Or optimizers… Nobody promised that life would be a bed of roses, did they? Thank God, SolarEdge offers all types of inverters you can imagine.
SolarEdge is a global leading PV inverter manufacturer with more than a decade of experience in the field. The company offers a range of solar products, namely PV inverters and optimizers which are definitely second to none. The company’s commitment to innovations makes SolarEdge the preferred partner for industry-leading installers, integrators, and other energy market participants.
In May 2015, SolarEdge partnered with Tesla Motors to work on a photovoltaic storage and backup power solution. SolarEdge’s DC-optimized inverter greatly contributed to Tesla’s automotive-grade battery technology by maximizing power generation, facilitating remote monitoring and lowering the maintenance costs.
Quality of SolarEdge inverters
Providing almost 90% of all residential power inverter needs, SolarEdge has quite the edge in the solar market. over, according to Lior Handelsman, ex-VP of Marketing and Product Strategy at SolarEdge, «commercial projects represented 40% of SolarEdge’s revenue» in 2018. So, this is a large market player which is «super committed to providing state-of-the-art
inverters and solutions.» Hence the quality.
SolarEdge inverters and optimizers have a wide operating temperature range. All the products undergo thermal cycling tests of 1,500 cycles in temperatures from.40°F to 176°F, which equals 41 years in the field. Additionally, SolarEdge conducts High Temperature Operating Life (HTOL) tests at 257°F, which is equal to 36 years under moderate climate conditions. These tests accelerate the product lifetime to verify that the products meet life expectancy and performance goals.
SolarEdge products are designed to operate in humid climates, namely at humidity levels of up to 95% (non-condensing). Damp heat tests at 185°F/85% RH are conducted for 1,200 hours (nearly 28 years in the field).
The company ensures that its products operate steadily even in the toughest climate conditions, for instance, in areas that are likely to suffer from sand and dust storms. Meeting the IP65 rating, SolarEdge inverters and optimizers are protected from fine particles such as dust and water penetration.
Agricultural areas aren’t the best environment for PV system installation because of the high concentration of ammonia. With SolarEdge you can install your inverters and power optimizers wherever you want as they have been tested in harsh ammonia exposure conditions and were proven to be resistant to corrosion from ammonia gases, both in terms of mechanical resistance and ingress protection.
The manufacturer allows installing SolarEdge inverters and optimizers at a minimum distance of 50m from the shoreline of an ocean or other saline environment, providing there are no direct salt water splashes on the inverter.
In the 21st century it is impossible that one device does only one task. The same is true for the inverters, the main and only responsibility of which has been turning solar energy into usable electricity. SolarEdge turned inverters into Smart energy managers.
SolarEdge inverters are designed to monitor and manage not only solar energy production, but energy storage and energy usage as well. For example, the inverter can store solar power in a battery to use it later in the evening, divert extra energy to heat water, or activate other Smart devices in order to reduce electric bills.
SolarEdge has always been dedicated to developing innovative solutions so that solar energy becomes more accessible. It forever changed the way power is harvested and managed in PV systems with the development of its DC optimized inverter.
A classic SolarEdge setup
SolarEdge power optimizers are somewhere in between string and micro inverters. They allow panel-level monitoring and power regulation as with a microinverter, but the actual DC-AC conversion occurs at a central SolarEdge string inverter.
So, they actually skimmed the cream off micros and string inverters. Such fusion provides for maximum DC optimized inverter efficiency of 99.5% (in comparison to standard 95-98%).
How long is the warranty on the SolarEdge inverters?
The SolarEdge inverter itself has a 12-year warranty, and optimizers have a 25-year warranty. The company also offers to extend the inverter warranty to 25 years at a reasonable price. Both warranties meet and even exceed the industry standards, which typically fall between 5 and 12 years. You can find more information on the warranties available here.
Factoid: If you like the idea of SolarEdge optimizers, but want to go with another inverter brand, you can do that. SolarEdge optimizers are equipped with an independent operation technology, so they can be used with most other inverters.
What is the average price of SolarEdge inverters?
The best thing about SolarEdge is that its DC optimized inverter solution offers the benefits of both string and microinverters at a price point between the two. The systems are completely expandable: homeowners can easily add another array in the future if energy needs increase. It is much more difficult to do with a traditional string inverter as you may need the second central inverter installation. In addition, it’s less expensive than adding more panels with built-in microinverters. Check current on SolarEdge products here.
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