A solar micro-inverter, or microinverter or micro inverter, converts direct current (DC) electricity from a single solar panel to alternating current (AC). The electric power from several micro-inverters is combined and fed into an existing electrical grid. Micro-inverters contrast with conventional string or central inverter devices, which are connected to multiple solar panels.
Micro-inverters have several advantages over conventional central inverters. The main advantage is that, even small amounts of shading, debris or snow lines in any one solar panel, or a panel failure, does not disproportionately reduce the output of an entire array. Each micro-inverter obtains optimum power by performing maximum power point tracking for its connected panel.
Their primary disadvantages are that they have a higher equipment initial cost per peak watt than the equivalent power in a central inverter, and are normally located near the panel, where they may be harder to maintain. These issues are however surpassed by micro-inverters having much higher durability and simplicity of initial installation.
Micro-inverters that accept DC input from two solar panels, rather than one, are a recent development. They perform independent maximum power point tracking on each connected panel. This reduces the equipment cost and makes photovoltaic (PV) systems based on micro-inverters comparable in cost with those using string inverters.