Solar Edge and Enphase are massive rival inverter companies in the solar industry that offer competing technologies of power optimizers and microinverters. Together these two inverter mammoths hold the majority of the world’s inverter market share alone. This article provides an analysis of the capabilities of both these inverter brands for you to better comprehend their differences and choose according to your needs.
The company was established in Israel in 2006. SolarEdge offers a variety of home and commercial solar inverters. It manufactures power optimizers, monitoring portals, and photovoltaic inverters. SolarEdge power optimizers maximize energy production from each module. The impact of issues like shading and other panel performance issues can be effectively reduced with module-level monitoring. SolarEdge inverters are integrated with advanced safety features that prevent fire hazards and other life-threatening dangers.
Enphase Energy, also founded in 2006, is based in Fremont, California. It manufactures solar micro-inverter systems, energy storage battery systems, and monitoring systems. These are smart inverter systems that provide enhanced solar generation and are dependable and safe to use. Enphase micro-inverters are preferred for their aesthetics and longevity along with high output delivery.
Microinverters and Power optimizers are both called as MLPEs, Module-Level Power Electronics as they offer panel-level management and control. Centralized string inverters have been very popular for their affordability and efficiency for big PV systems. However, they have many limitations such as a lack of monitoring capabilities and pliability.
With advancements in solar technologies, MLPEs have captured more market share as they have become more cost-feasible with time and for their unique panel-level competence. Enphase works on the microinverter technology while SolarEdge inverters use power optimizer technology.
SolarEdge inverters are less scalable in comparison with Enphase microinverters. SolarEdge power optimizer systems are restricted to the capacity of the centralized inverter which can support a limited number of panels. On the other hand, Enphase microinverters are highly pliable for expansion by simply adding more modules with compatible microinverters. However, the addition of more modules may ask for a change of central inverter.
Scalability is an important consideration for people who foresee an increase in their future energy needs such as the addition of an electric car or storage batteries. So, in terms of scalability, Enphase has more potential, and thus is a clear winner.
One of the chief benchmarks for a photovoltaic system is its efficiency. Most solar inverter brands these days offer an efficiency of over 95% and some even as high as 99%. An inverter is 99% efficient means that it loses 1% of electricity during DC to AC conversion.
The SolarEdge inverter system is made of two parts: a centralized string inverter offering 99% efficiency, and power optimizers rated at 99.5% efficiency. So, its total output efficiency is rated to be 99.25%.
The Enphase IQ7 series microinverter has a conversion efficiency of 97%. The Enphase is more successful in handling shading issues and complex solar array designs. Due to this, the total system efficiency of a microinverter system proves to be a superior inverter solution to power optimizers. However, the Enphase inverters have the disadvantage of overheating which impacts the efficiency and longevity of the component.
SolarEdge inverter systems clearly have the edge over Enphase in terms of efficiency.
SolarEdge and Enphase both offer similar warranties.
SolarEdge power optimizers come with a warranty of 25 years and the central inverter and monitoring system have a warranty of 12 years which can be extended to 20 and 25 years at an extra cost.
Enphase microinverters also come with a 25-year product warranty.
Both companies cover component failures, but the customer must pay the labour charges as more labour is required to replace and service a micro-inverter and power optimizer on the roof than a traditional simple central inverter mounted on the wall.
While both companies are industry titans who deliver impeccable quality solar inverters, it would not hurt to go through some online Enphase and SolarEdge reviews to see how reliable the companies are in honouring their warranties.
If your solar plant faces issues of partial shading, has a complicated panel layout, or if you want module-level supervision, both Enphase and SolarEdge inverter systems will help you achieve maximum solar generation and savings. If you project growth in your future power needs due to adding an electric vehicle or backup batteries, then Enphase is a great choice over string inverters and power optimizer systems, for its flexibility to scale up. SolarEdge inverters offer better efficiency than Enphase.
However, it entirely depends on your situation which inverter is the best solution for your energy needs. It would also be a great idea to consult online Enphase and SolarEdge reviews from existing customers to help you decide better.
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