Wiring sets of individual panels together in the solar power industry is called “stringing”. A string solar inverter converts all of the direct currents (DC electricity) in strings of panels into usable alternating current (AC electricity) your home appliances use.
“Central inverters” are another name for string inverters. They have been used for many years, are reasonably priced, and work well for most small-scale solar installations.
String inverters work best for rooftops with consistent southern exposure and no shade difficulties. This is because, if one panel were to become shaded, the output of the worst-performing panel would start to limit energy production for the entire string.
Let’s say just for example, that one or more of your solar panels are partially or entirely blocked by a huge mango tree in the late morning or early afternoon. The output of the other panels will suffer if those two modules are shaded since the strings connecting the panels are all intertwined. A hose with a kink in it would be a good analogy.
Using string inverters with your solar PV system has a few benefits and drawbacks. We discuss them here so that you may move forward with the design of your solar panel system with confidence.
Advantages of string inverter systems
Compared to other inverter systems, string inverters have a few significant benefits. Here are a few of them to take into account:
The cost of string inverters is low. This is because producers have had decades to improve the efficiency of their processes, and most solar systems only require a single inverter as opposed to the microinverters and DC power optimizers that are employed behind each solar panel.
String inverters use less power on a typical 5kW installation compared to microinverters and DC power optimizers.
One thing to keep in mind is that whereas your solar panel array is guaranteed to last 25 years, string inverters will need to be replaced after 8 to 12 years. Your solar energy system will cost more if it needs to be replaced.
Troubleshooting issues is quite easy because most home installations only require one string inverter. Throughout your system’s life, your inverter is the component that is most likely to go down.
Instead of potentially having to troubleshoot multiple inverters or power optimizers hidden behind each of your solar panels, it would be preferable to be able to replace one unit at a reasonable cost.
Disadvantages of string inverters
Since no single kind of inverter will be able to meet every requirement, there are a few considerations for string inverters that are listed below.
Limitations in backup power
It’s convenient to be able to use the entire amount of electricity your solar panels produce to keep your home’s loads powered when the grid goes down while the sun is up. The “pass-through power” feature on hybrid inverters is a unique capability that, in the event of a grid outage, transfers all of your solar energy to your battery or house circuits.
So long as the sun is in the sky, you may continue to consume all of the energy generated by your solar panels even when the power grid is down. Although a hybrid inverter can function in pass-through power mode without a battery, having one gives you a more dependable energy supply in case it starts to rain. To protect line workers who might be working to resolve the outage, the inverter also stops the flow of power to the grid.
However, this function of pass-through power is absent from string inverters. If the grid goes down and you had believed that you had backup power available from your solar panels, this can be a disappointing reality.
Not suitable for system expansion
String inverters might not be the greatest option if you’re thinking about expanding the size of your solar array in the future. To adequately fit the total solar array, each string inverter must be of the appropriate size.
Your string inverter must be working close to its maximum capacity if you want the best performance from it. The inverter would therefore need to be bigger than your current one if you wanted to install more solar panels.
An alternative would be to connect your new panels to a separate new inverter that connects to the loads coming from your existing one, but this is typically a more expensive process than just purchasing a new, larger inverter.
Microinverters are a preferable option if you’re unsure of whether you’ll ever want to increase the size of your solar system. They are logically modular since they convert DC to AC behind each panel. You can just add as many more as you like, and your system will function.
Limited system monitoring
Being able to check your solar installation’s production in the smartphone era can be a great advantage. While many string inverters provide you access to overall system performance, you are unable to see how each panel is performing individually.
Panel-level monitoring is available with microinverters and power optimizers.
Your solar panel array has a 25-year minimum warranty. Unfortunately, the majority of string inverters only offer eight to twelve-year guarantees. Microinverters have 25-year guarantees, which is the same as the lifespan of your solar system if you want more security without incurring additional fees in the future.
If your roof has a lot of southern exposure and is pitched uniformly, string inverters are an excellent solution. They are reasonably priced and have proven durable over many years of use in the home solar market. Etrica power is the authorized partner of Sungrow the leading manufacturer of string inverters.
For more thoughts on deciding which type of solar inverter system is right for you, visit Etrica power website to choose from the suitable inverters range from sungrow inverters.
A string inverter is centralized and connects multiple solar panels, while a microinverter is installed on individual panels, providing more granular control.
Yes, string inverters are an excellent choice for small residential installations due to their cost-effectiveness and scalability.
Many string inverter systems come with monitoring software that allows you to track energy production and system performance.
Yes, string inverters are designed to withstand a range of environmental conditions, but it’s essential to follow proper maintenance guidelines.
In case of a string inverter failure, contact a professional installer to diagnose the issue and replace the inverter if necessary.