MLPE — Module Level Power Electronics
Think of an 18-wheeler with one fine-tuned powerful engine, versus 18 separate micro-engines on each wheel, exposed to the elements, each with maximum speed less than a central engine.
This analogy sums up why we don’t sell microinverters for systems with more than 10 panels.
Power optimisers and microinverters are competing technologies that improve performance of each individual solar panel on complicated or shaded roofs. They are located behind each panel to give them independence e.g. if one panel is shaded it doesn’t adversely affect the others. They also both provide panel-level monitoring.
Unlike optimisers, microinverters pack in extra electronics including a DC to AC inverter, the hardest working and most failure prone component in a solar system. Optimisers instead contain only the electronics necessary at the panel location, with the most important, hardest working components moved off the roof into a single highly efficient central inverter. Along with taking the most important electronics out of the harshest environment, maintenance doesn’t require roof access, and relaxed size constraints greatly benefit electronic design, heat dissipation, and efficiency (optimiser systems typically produce 2-5% more total energy due to extra power conversion losses suffered by microinverters).