Solar photovoltaic panels capture the sun’s ultraviolet energy and convert it into electricity. Unfortunately that energy is in DC current and your home runs on AC current, so the power has to be inverted from DC to AC.
We have two primary ways to invert the power. The first is by combining all of the panels into one system and having one large inverter that handles the entire array. The second is having a small micro-inverter on each panel and inverting each one individually.
We prefer the micro-inverter method because in most cases it is more efficient. The problem with a central inverter is they work based on the lowest common denominator meaning all power output is based on the lowest producing panel so if you have 20 panels and you shade just 1 the other 19 lower their output to the lowest level.
For most of us, we will have at least part of our array shaded at some point during the day so a central inverter will produce less power across the entire array. With a micro-inverter system if you shaded 19 out of 20 panels the 20th panel could still produce 100 percent of its capacity without being handicapped by the shaded panels.
In Central Kentucky this is especially important because even on a bright, sunny day we typically have big white fluffy clouds. All it takes is one cloud covering one panel to lower the entire array’s production. There are solar optimizers and other ways around this, but micro-inverters are the best solution with existing technology.