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SolarEdge Power Optimisers VS Enphase Microinverters

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SolarEdge Power Optimisers VS Enphase Microinverters

Solar Power optimisers Vs Enphase microinverters poster img
AC vs DC: Head to Head!

Choosing the right solar inverter system is a crucial decision for homeowners and businesses alike. Both SolarEdge power optimizers and Enphase IQ8 microinverters are popular options, but they offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. This blog post will delve into the key differences between these two technologies, helping you make an informed decision for your solar needs.

Understanding The Basics


  • SolarEdge Power Optimizers: These attach to each solar panel in a string and optimize its power output by performing maximum power point tracking (MPPT) at the panel level. This helps to mitigate the effects of shading, mismatch, and other losses that can reduce overall system efficiency. However, SolarEdge systems remain high-voltage DC, and if one optimizer fails, the entire string is affected.
  • Enphase IQ8 Microinverters: These are attached directly to each solar panel and convert the DC power generated by the panel into AC power. This eliminates the need for a centralized inverter and allows for individual panel-level monitoring and optimization. Additionally, Enphase systems are UL certified for rapid shutdown, ensuring safety in case of emergencies.

Why Enphase IQ8 Microinverters Might Be the Better Choice:

  • Higher Reliability: Enphase boasts an impressive track record of reliability, with failure rates for IQ7 models below 0.5%. SolarEdge optimizers, on the other hand, have been reported to have failure rates as high as 2% by some businesses.
  • Individual Panel Optimization: Enphase microinverters optimize power output for each panel individually, maximizing energy production even in shaded conditions or with mismatched panels. SolarEdge optimizers, while offering some mitigation, cannot optimize each panel to the same extent.
  • Rapid Shutdown: Enphase systems are UL certified for rapid shutdown, meaning they can automatically shut down DC power production in case of emergencies like fire or grid failure. This adds a layer of safety that SolarEdge systems currently lack.
  • Modular Design: Enphase systems are modular, meaning you can add or remove panels easily as needed. This flexibility is ideal for homeowners who may want to expand their system in the future.

Comparing the Specs:

Here’s a closer look at the technical specifications of the SolarEdge S500 power optimizer and the Enphase IQ8 microinverter:

While the S500 has a higher maximum output current, the IQ8HC delivers its power as usable AC, making it more readily compatible with your home’s electrical system. Although, the IQ8HC’s narrower MPPT (18-58V) range make it underperform compared to the wider range of the S500 (8-60v), the drop in efficiency is only 2 Percent.

The Nitty-Gritty: A Deeper Dive into the Specs

As you can see from the table above, there are some key differences between the S500 and IQ8HC in terms of their technical specifications. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important ones:

  • Maximum Output Power: The IQ8HC’s maximum output power is 140VAC, while the S500’s maximum output voltage is 60VDC. This means that the IQ8HC is able to deliver more usable power to your home’s electrical system.
  • Weighted Efficiency: The S500 has a slightly higher weighted efficiency (99%) than the IQ8HC (97.0%). However, it’s important to note that the IQ8HC’s efficiency is measured in AC, while the S500’s efficiency is measured in DC. This means that the IQ8HC’s efficiency is actually closer to the S500’s when you take into account the inverter losses.
  • Another Consideration: The S500 may be more efficient against the IQ8HC but that DC then needs to go into another inverter to get converted into AC, reducing its efficiency.

SolarEdges's Failure Rates

Whilst we never did enough installs with the SolarEdge Optimisers to give a fair assessment of their failure rate, MC Electrical, a reputable installer based in QLD came up with these statistics based on six years of installs:

    • 130 SolarEdge systems installed since Nov 2015.
    • 138 inverters installed.
    • 3293 optimisers installed.
    • 75 approved optimiser warranties.
    • 36 approved inverter warranties.

 

So, the failure rates for SolarEdge works out to be:

  • 2.2% optimiser failure rate
  • 27% inverter failure rate

What About Enphase?
Mark Has fitted 3100 Microinverters in the same time frame and has reported 3 failures of these units, Making the failure rate 0.096%

Read more of Mark from MC Electrical report here: SolarEdge Inverter and Optimiser Review – MC Electrical 

Conclusion:

Choosing the right solar inverter system is a critical decision that impacts your energy production, safety, and future flexibility. While both SolarEdge and Enphase offer compelling options, here at Lightning Energy, we made the conscious switch to exclusively offer Enphase IQ8 microinverters based on their superior performance and reliability.

Why we believe Enphase IQ8 shines:

  • Unmatched Reliability: Enphase boasts industry-leading reliability with failure rates for IQ7 models below 0.5%. This translates to consistent, worry-free energy production and minimizes the need for costly repairs and downtime. At Lightning Energy, we witnessed firsthand the higher failure rates with SolarEdge optimisers and other installers have had failure rates as high as 2.2%
  • Individual Panel Optimisation: Enphase microinverters optimize each panel’s output independent of others, maximizing energy production even in shaded conditions or with mismatched panels. This ensures you’re harnessing every drop of available sunlight, unlike a string inverter system like SolarEdge where a single panel malfunction can drag down the entire string.
  • Future-Proof Flexibility: Enphase systems are modular and scalable, allowing you to easily add panels as your energy needs grow. This flexibility protects your initial investment and ensures your system can adapt to your changing demands over time.
  • Safety First: Enphase systems are UL certified for rapid shutdown, instantly cutting off DC power in case of emergencies like fire or grid failure. This prioritizes safety and provides an extra layer of protection for your home and family.

While upfront costs may differ, remember, solar is an investment in your future. Choosing Enphase means prioritizing long-term reliability, maximizing energy production, and ensuring your system adapts to your evolving needs. At Lightning Energy, we witnessed the tangible benefits of Enphase and are confident in recommending them to our customers.

Ready to harness the power of the sun with confidence? Contact Lightning Energy today and let our expert team guide you towards your personalized Enphase solution.

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Written By:

Luke Cove
Managing Director
Lightning Solar & Electrical

luke cove - Founder of lightning solar

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