With the popularity of photovoltaics, products such as microinverters and optimizers have gradually grabbed vision of more and more people. So today we will provide you with some comparison to see what are the differences between microinverter vs optimizer, and what are their specific applications.



1. What is microinverter and optimizer

Before delving into microinverter vs optimizer, we first need to understand a concept: module level power electronics, which literally means component-level electronic equipment. In solar photovoltaic systems, power electronic equipment can perform fine control of single or several photovoltaic modules to achieve functions such as inversion, monitoring, power optimization, shutdown, etc.

Comparing microinverter vs optimizer, they are both products related to component-level power electronics technology.


Microinverter refers to an inverter that can track the maximum power point of each photovoltaic module individually, and then integrate it into AC power after inversion to achieve fine adjustment and monitoring of the output power of each photovoltaic module.


When compare microinverter vs optimizer, the optimizer is not an inverter, but a device that can achieve maximum power point tracking and fast shutdown functions. It is a component-level power electronic device with DC input and DC output. One to two photovoltaic modules are connected to a power optimizer with maximum power point tracking function.

This device can convert low current into high current according to the needs of the series circuit, connect the output ends of each power optimizer in series and connect to the combiner box or inverter.


2. Features of microinverters

Microinverters usually have an output power of less than 1000W, such as 500w inverter, and have component-level MPPT functions. Compared with the maximum DC input voltage of 1000V~1500V for traditional centralized inverters and string inverters, the maximum DC input voltage of microinverters is only about 60V.

Therefore, each MPPT circuit of microinverter can only connect one photovoltaic module to provide module-level monitoring and MPPT functions. It is this unique design that gives the microinverter features and advantages that are incomparable to traditional inverters.


  • Component-level MPPT, high power generation efficiency

Compared with traditional centralized and string inverters, in which each MPPT is connected to a string of photovoltaic arrays, each MPPT of a microinverter is only connected to one photovoltaic module. Therefore, the microinverter can be used individually for each photovoltaic module.

The working status of photovoltaic modules of microinverter does not affect each other, thus avoiding the loss of power generation caused by the mismatch of photovoltaic modules in traditional photovoltaic strings.

At the same time, when some photovoltaic modules are shadowed, using microinverters can prevent the shadowed components from affecting the normal operation of other components, and the "barrel effect" of traditional photovoltaic strings will not occur, thereby increasing the overall photovoltaic system power generation.

  • Lower DC input voltage, high safety

At present, DC arcing caused by relatively high DC voltage of photovoltaic strings is the main factor causing fires in distributed photovoltaic power stations. It is also an important factor affecting the safety of photovoltaic power station operation, maintenance and rescue.

The maximum DC input voltage of the microinverter is 60V, which fundamentally avoids the DC arcing problem of photovoltaic systems and significantly reduces the possibility of fire in distributed photovoltaic power stations. At the same time, comparing microinverter vs optimizer, the lower DC input voltage reduces the risks of photovoltaic power station operation, maintenance and rescue. Therefore, using microinverters can significantly improve the safety of photovoltaic power plants.

  • High flexibility, easy to install, replace and expand

Microinverters are small in size and light in weight, thereby can be installed directly on photovoltaic brackets without making separate brackets or installation foundations. The microinverter adopts bus connection and supports hot swapping. When one microinverter fails, the faulty inverter can be replaced without stopping the operation of the entire photovoltaic system.

The operation and maintenance workload is small and flexible. When increasing the photovoltaic system capacity of an existing photovoltaic system, there is no need to change the previous photovoltaic system configuration, and a new microinverter can be added in parallel.

In addition, the microinverter has a small stand-alone power, high flexibility in capacity expansion, and less impact on the original photovoltaic system, making the entire photovoltaic system more flexible in capacity expansion.

  • Parallel design, high reliability

Microinverter photovoltaic modules adopt a fully parallel design and have component-level monitoring functions. When a photovoltaic module fails, it can be discovered promptly and accurately. The replacement of components only requires the removal of the faulty component and will not affect the normal operation of other components.



Although microinverters have incomparable technical advantages compared with traditional centralized and string inverters, they still have certain shortcomings that limit their wide-scale promotion and use.

  • High cost

The price per watt of microinverters is relatively high, which greatly limits the promotion and use of microinverters. Compared with the price of 0.03 USD/W for centralized and string inverters, the price of microinverters is around 0.15 USD/W, which will significantly increase the cost of photovoltaic systems.

  • Low power

Unlike 2000w pure sine wave inverter or 3000w inverter, the power of a single microinverter is relatively small. For large ground photovoltaic power stations and large-capacity distributed photovoltaic power stations, a huge number of microinverters are used, which in turn increases the workload of construction and operation and maintenance.

Therefore, its applicable scenarios are limited, and it is mainly used in household and small-capacity distributed photovoltaic power plants. Sure, products of different solar inverter brands differ in the specific parameters.

3. Features of optimizer

By connecting in series with photovoltaic modules, the optimizer adopts predictive current and voltage technology to ensure that the modules are always in optimal working condition. Comparing microinverter vs optimizer, the optimizer is used to solve the impact of photovoltaic power stations on power generation due to shadow blocking, inconsistent orientation or differences in module electrical specifications.

In addition, comparing microinverter vs optimizer, the optimizer also has a component-level shutdown function. In the event of an emergency, it will automatically cut off the connection between components, so that the DC terminal voltage is only the component open circuit voltage.

Moreover, the photovoltaic system equipped with an optimizer also has component-level operation and maintenance functions. Through the intelligent operation and maintenance background, the power generation status of each component can be monitored, which facilitates system operation and maintenance.



  • Increase the power generation and income of photovoltaic power stations

The photovoltaic optimizer can capture the maximum power point of each component to increase the power generation, thereby increasing the power generation. The photovoltaic optimization algorithm can increase the power generation by 5-25% and increase the income. Specifically, it can reduce the power generation loss caused by hot spot effect, component mismatch, etc.

  • Reduce operation and maintenance costs, and improve production efficiency

By optimizing the allocation of information technology and other resource elements, the optimizer can effectively integrate power generation assets and equipment, thereby reducing resource consumption and waste in photovoltaic power generation production and management, and reducing station construction investment and operating costs.

After installing the optimizer, the fails can be accurately located and the operation and maintenance can be quickly assisted. The optimizer has a bypass function, which does not affect the normal power generation of the entire string while isolating abnormal components. For projects with high operation and maintenance costs, components can be replaced without replacing them, thus saving operation and maintenance costs.

  • Intelligent management

Through data collection and transmission, information storage and processing, and intelligent analysis and prediction of photovoltaic power stations, power station can more accurately predict possible events in power station operation and management, dispatch resources in a more timely manner, and then take timely and effective guidance.

  • Reduce safety risks

The optimizer can realize component-level shutdown to ensure the safety of the power station. Customer-oriented is the basis of product design and research and development. The operation and maintenance platform realizes safe power dispatch for the power station and combines management to achieve the purpose of disaster prevention.


4. Microinverter vs optimizer - What are the differences

Microinverter vs optimizer - working principle:

  • Microinverter:

① DC input: DC power generated by photovoltaic panels is transmitted to the microinverter through cables.

② Maximum power point tracking (MPPT): Microinverters usually have a maximum power point tracker that monitors the output voltage and current of the photovoltaic panels to ensure that the maximum possible power is extracted from the photovoltaic panels.

③ Inversion: When compare microinverter vs optimizer, microinverter can invert DC power into AC power. During this process, it needs to adjust the output voltage and frequency to match the standard voltage and frequency of the home solar power system or commercial power grid (for example, Europe is usually 230V/50Hz, and the United States is usually 120V/60Hz).

④ Synchronization and grid connection: The grid connected microinverter must ensure that the AC power generated is synchronized with the grid, and automatically stops working to ensure safety when the grid voltage is unstable or has a power outage.

  • Optimizer

The photovoltaic power optimizer uses a unique software algorithm that can track the maximum power point of a single module in real time.

You can choose different types of power optimizers based on the actual operating conditions of the photovoltaic system to solve problems caused by shadow occlusion, reduced power generation of the photovoltaic system caused by differences in component orientation, or inconsistent component attenuation, thus achieving maximum power output and online monitoring of single components, and improves system efficiency.

Microinverter vs optimizer - functions

Comparing microinverter vs optimizer, some of their functions are the same, as shown in the table below:




Inverting function



No risk of DC high voltage during operation



Component-level maximum power point tracking



Component level shutdown



Component-level data collection




Microinverter vs optimizer - application scenarios

  • Microinverter: Microinverters are mainly suitable for household and small-capacity distributed photovoltaic power stations, as well as photovoltaic power stations with higher safety level requirements.
  • Optimizer: Comparing microinverter vs optimizer, photovoltaic optimizers are usually installed on each photovoltaic module to increase the power generation of photovoltaic modules under shade conditions.


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