As we discussed in the Solar Inverters – Simplifying a Complex Subject post, one of the key features of modern inverters used in solar panel systems around Adelaide is the M.P.P.T. or Maximum Power Point Tracking which attempts to maximise the power output from the solar panel array. This is hugely beneficial however in the last couple of years a new concept in inverters has been developed – namely the ‘micro-inverter’. Rather than having one centrally based solar inverter (which the C.E.C. accredited electrician will most likely install near your existing electricity meter box), micro-inverters are small units which are installed onto each solar panel in your system. The major upside to this is that the individual micro-inverter is designed to do Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) at each of the installed solar panels on your roof, meaning each and every solar panel is optimised for maximum electricity power output, rather than trying to ‘maximise’ the output of all of the solar panels combined. This is important when you understand that issues like shading from neighbouring trees or buildings, dust and debris and bird droppings on the solar panels not only reduce the power output of the effected solar panel but also the output of the entire solar panel system. The usage of micro-inverters is widely touted as being viable when there are shading issues at the property in question as increases of anywhere from 5 percent up to 20% are claimed in these (shading) situations. There is a price premium (in most cases) to pay if you have micro-inverters included as part of your system. Most Adelaide Solar Power installers will be able to offer a shade analysis of your roof area and this can be helpful in determining the most beneficial inverter technology to use for your unique situation. Ideally you could weigh up price differences (for standard ‘string’ inverters versus micro-inverters) against the estimated power output (and financial return from) each inverter type. Other benefits of using micro-inverters are that if a single micro-inverter should fail, your system will still produce electricity, as opposed to the single ‘standard’ inverter – if that fails then you produce no solar power. As discuss elsewhere on this site, always consider the warranty, support and back-up (long term) for what ever components you look at. Solar is a long term investment.