But how do these two brands’ inverters differ, and which is the best choice for your system?
In this blog, we’ll take a look at Enphase vs. SolarEdge inverters and compare them based on their:
While both brands offer excellent, high-quality products, this breakdown should help you decide which is the best for your solar system.
Here's How SolarEdge and Enphase Compare in Key Areas
SolarEdge and Enphase inverters both offer panel-level optimization. This means that the amount of electricity each solar panel can produce is independent of other solar panels. This is different from many standard string inverters. With string inverters, the electricity produced by all panels in one string is set by the lowest-producing panel.
However, both brands achieve this a little differently.
SolarEdge: String Inverter + Power Optimizers
SolarEdge is a string inverter manufacturer, meaning your solar panels will be grouped into strings and attached to inverters. However, with an additional piece of technology called a power optimizer, you won’t lose out on production like with a standard string inverter.
Power optimizers are small boxes that are installed on the underside of each solar panel. These boxes will allow each panel to produce exactly as much electricity as possible through panel-level optimization. That means the least-producing panel won’t set the standard for all the panels in the string. Instead, each solar panel can contribute exactly how much energy it’s able to produce.
One small thing to consider with this setup is that it can be more challenging to increase the size of your solar system with a SolarEdge inverter and power optimizers compared to Enphase microinverters. With a SolarEdge system, you may have to replace or add an additional central string inverter.
Enphase’s inverters are a bit different. Instead of optimizers connected to one central string inverter, a small inverter is attached to each panel.
Each solar panel will operate more or less independently, allowing for module-level optimization. They won’t be grouped into strings. By keeping things separate, each solar panel can produce exactly as much electricity as its mechanics and environment allow.
Scaling up your system with Enphase microinverters is likely more straightforward than with SolarEdge, as there won’t be a need to replace a central inverter. As long as the new microinverters are compatible with the existing microinverters and monitoring equipment, you’ll just be able to add additional microinverters with each additional panel.
Here's how string inverters compare to microinverters.
Solar inverters convert the DC electricity generated by your solar panels into the AC electricity you can use to power your home or business. With every inverter, a small amount of electricity will be lost during the conversion process.
SolarEdge inverters have a 99% efficiency. However, we also have to account for the efficiency of the power optimizers, which is 98.6%. In other words, 98.6% of the electricity that passes through the optimizer will then be passed through the inverter. 99% of that electricity will then pass on to your home. This means that total system efficiency is 97.6% (98.6% x 99%)
In contrast to SolarEdge, Enphase inverters come with a 97% efficiency. Overall, a SolarEdge system will be slightly more efficient than an Enphase system.
While neither SolarEdge nor Enphase will be the cheapest inverter option, both are high-tech alternatives that can help increase your system’s overall production.
When comparing the two, SolarEdge will likely be the more affordable option. Pricing has long been a struggle for Enphase. While they offer a great, simple product, they can be expensive compared to competitors. However, as their technology advances, they’re making headway in keeping costs more competitive.
Inverters are just a part of a solar system's overall cost. Here's a complete look at the total cost of installing a solar system.
Warranties are a great indicator of how much faith a manufacturer has in their product. In the case of SolarEdge and Enphase inverters, both are backed with extensive, long-term warranties.
A SolarEdge string inverter is backed with a 12-year warranty. Depending on the model, you can extend that warranty by eight or 13 years for an additional cost. The power optimizers are backed with a 25-year warranty.
Enphase microinverters are covered by a 25-year warranty.
When it comes to warranties, Enphase comes out on top with its standard warranty that lasts 25 years. If you want to match that warranty with SolarEdge, you’ll have to purchase their additional warranty for the string inverter. However, adding the extended warranty to SolarEdge will still be cheaper than the standard Enphase system in most cases.
SolarEdge and Enphase both offer remote monitoring options that can tell you what your system is producing on a panel-by-panel level. This is not only helpful for monitoring your system’s output, but it can help identify and diagnose potential issues.
Both brands make accessing this information convenient. You can tune into the monitoring portal through your computer or smart device with a Wi-Fi or internet connection.
Is Enphase or SolarEdge best for you?
Enphase microinverters vs. SolarEdge string inverter and power optimizer combination can be a difficult call to make. Both offer robust panel-level monitoring and help to maximize your solar production with panel-level optimization.
Enphase systems will likely be the costlier option and have a slightly lower efficiency rating. However, they do come with a standard warranty of 25 years.
A SolarEdge system will likely be less expensive (even when including a warranty extension), leading to a better overall ROI.