Optimizer vs Microinverter, Which One Is Better For You?

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Optimizer vs Microinverter, Which one is better for you?

The optimizer and the microinverter are crucial parts of the solar panel in devices for power conversion. So do you know more about those two emerging products? what are they? What are their differences and similarities? Next, we will compare and contrast them and give some answers.

What Is Optimizer?

The optimizer, a DC converter installed on the back of each panel, can optimize the power output of the panel. In addition, the optimizer should be harnessed with the inverter system to convert  DC power since the optimizer is merely a DC-DC converter. The string converters can connect a string of converters in one position(always be installed on the ground) and convert the DC power into AC power that our residential applications could use.

When there are shadows, the whole power production will be impacted. At this time, the optimizer exerts great influence by maximizing the voltage of unaffected panels, maintaining the greatest performance before converting.

What Is Microinverter?

Like the optimizer, the microconverter is also fastened to the rear of each panel. As a type of PV inverter, it can also optimize the voltage of each panel and convert the power into residential AC power. It is more practical for complex panels because it boasts two important functionalities: power optimization and electricity conversion.

Similarities Between Optimizer and Microinverter   

Now, we will discuss some similarities between the microinverter and the optimizer.

  1. Longer Lifespan: Possess long life expectancy ranging from 10 to 25 years.
  2. Tracking Capability: Quickly identify the outperforming panel and decrease the expense of maintenance.
  3. Panel-level Monitoring: Only oversee and optimize a single panel.
  4. Back-side Installation: Install them on the back of each panel.

The above-mentioned points are similarities between the optimizer and microinverter. Then, let’s look further into the differences between them. 

A Contrast Between Optimizer and Microinverter 

The optimizer and microinverter are comparable in the next six aspects, helping us to figure out their benefits and downsides.

Optimizer vs Microinverter

  1. Power Conversion:

The microinverter can perform individually on a single panel and can convert the DC power into AC power. However, though the optimizer also monitors a single panel, the power conversion depends on the string inverters.

  1. Efficiency

When there is shade or dirt, the power production of the entire string will reduce. The optimizer can maximize the power output to improve the efficiency of the panel, leaving unshaded panels unaffected. However, while the microinverter can also eliminate the decreased power per panel level, it can not maximize the power output because the individual panel can not coordinate with its neighboring panels to optimize the entire string.

  1. Installation Cost:

Regarding the price, the microinverter is more expensive than the optimizer. Additionally, the optimizer is more affordable than the microinverter initially.  This is because the optimizer only has one inverter function and can be connected in a daisy chain, saving the costs in materials and workforce. Whereas the microinverter installation is more complex, requiring branch circuits on the roof to accommodate the panel layout.

  1. Reliability

Although they both service a single panel, the microinverter is more reliable than the optimizer. This is because the optimizer should cooperate with string converters that are easier to break down. So the central point of failure is less likely to influence the microinverter, demonstrating its reliability and durability.

  1. Warranty and Maintenance:

If an optimizer or microinverter breaks down, we can exactly pinpoint and replace it as they both only perform on a single panel,  decreasing the maintenance needs. However, the optimizer relies on the inverter system that holds only about 10 years of lifespan to convert electricity. This means that any issues with the string inverters, such as internal hardware glitches, will directly impact the power conversion and production of the whole panel, raising maintenance expenses and decreasing the warranty of the solar panel.

  1. Different Usage

The microinverter is more suitable for those complex rooftops while the optimizer is more feasible for those roofs with shadows.

Power ConversionNoYes
Installation CostModerateHigher
Warranty and MaintenanceModerateBetter
Suitable UsageSimpler RoofsMore Complex Roofs

As we can see, although the microinverter has higher costs initially, it is dependable in subsequent processes with a longer guarantee and less maintenance. Conversely, the optimizer may have a shorter lifespan and higher maintenance costs in later processes despite a lower upfront installation cost. Therefore, if you have enough budget and your rooftop is huge and complex enough, the microinverter might be a better option. On the contrary, if your budget is finite and your home is simple and basic, you can choose the optimizer.


Now that you have learned the advantages and disadvantages of the optimizer and microinverter, you may assess your options based on your particular demands and requirements. Mokoenergy can customize the product as per customers’ needs and will do our utmost to deliver high-quality goods and first-rate services. So if you have any needs or scruples, please contact us.

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