There's two simple rules for longer life when designing an inverter for use in high temperature environments when no means of active cooling are used.

1. Limit your component count.

2. Avoid the use of electrolytic capacitors in high heat applications.


Unfortunately some micro inverter designs violates both of these rules which may seriously impact your system's return on investment.


For every Micro Inverter that you install, you dramatically increase both your system's component count and in some of the most popular micro inverters on the market today, you'll find electrolytic capacitors.

Electrolytic capacitors have been around for decades and are used to store energy in an electric field. When used in a micro inverter application, they serve the purpose of controlling ripple voltages across the PV bus. Electrolytic capacitors utilize an aluminum or a tantalum plate and an oxide dielectric layer.

The second electrode in this type of capacitor consists of a liquid electrolyte which is connected to the circuit by a second foil plate. Electrolytic capacitors can provide very high capacitance in a small space but tend to suffer from poor tolerances, high instability and a gradual loss of capacitance, especially when they are subjected to heat that is beyond their design specifications.

Unfortunately your home's rooftop can create a high temperature environment that is hostile to the use of electrolytic capacitors, possibly causing them to burst and leak their liquid electrolyte resulting in the total loss of capacitance and premature micro inverter failure.

Everything from the heat generating power electronics, to the power transformers to the MPPT circuitry to the inverter protection circuitry are all crammed into a typical micro inverter's small housing just like an airtight "sardine" can. 

Inverter warranties do not cover removal or replacement of product and all inverters will eventually fail. The problem with dozens of micro inverters on your roof is that they won't all fail at the same time, resulting in multiple non-reimbursed service calls over the life of the system, costing upwards of $300.00 to $500.00 per incident.

With 20 to 30 micro inverters on your roof, that could be a recipe for financial disaster!  

If a ground level mounted, high capacity inverter were to affected due to electrolytic capacitor failure, it's a relatively simple process to replace one or two inverters.

On the other hand, when a single micro inverter or multiple micro inverters fail due to electrolytic capacitor failures or any type of failure for that matter, in many cases it will mean the removal and replacement of several solar panels in the array in order to reach the inverter or inverters that have failed.

This can turn a what should be a low cost service call into a very expensive one when you consider that inverter failure warranties typically do not cover the labor to remove and replace inverters.

Further complicating this scenario is the fact that it would be highly unlikely for all of the electrolytic capacitors in a twenty or thirty micro inverter installation to fail at the same time. So after several years of use, you might have one or two micro inverters fail one month and maybe two or three fail two months later and so on and so on resulting in possibly a $300.00 to $500.00 service fee each time a micro inverter fails due to heat or age related electrolytic capacitor failure.    

Removing and replacing a multiple solar panels in order to remove and replace one or two failed micro inverters can quickly turn into an expensive proposition. Now imagine having to go though this several times a year as your micro inverter system ages.

Micro Inverter Solar Service

It's far better to have less inverters to remove and replace at ground level than to pay an electrician to climb on to your roof and remove and replace dozens of solar panels just so he can remove and replace one or two micro inverters over the life of your system.

No matter how long of a warranty a micro inverter manufacturer offers, read your warranty documents carefully and you'll find that no inverter warranty covers the removal and replacement of a failed inverter. So the more inverters that you install the higher the risk of incurring multiple service charges as your system ages. And in the case of multiple roof mounted micro inverters, the cost per failure event will not be small.

How do we know so much about capacitors ? Well for the past 12 years, we've owned and operated one oldest factory authorized inverter repair centers in the nation and we've seen our fair share of electrolytic capacitor failures.

With a SolarEdge system there are no electrolytic capacitors that are used in their roof mounted power optimizers. Instead, they use high temperature tolerant thin film capacitors that do not use any type of liquid electrolyte. And instead of cramming the power electronics, multi point power tracking and protection circuitry all in a single small "can", SolarEdge separates the heat producing power electronics from the MPPT circuitry which reduces temperature related component stress in both their power optimizers and their inverters thus increasing life expectancy, making for more reliable products.

1.  For every 25 roof mounted inverters in a typical micro inverter installation. A SolarEdge installation only requires one inverter.

2. With a micro inverter, the multi point power tracking circuitry, the power electronics and the protection circuitry are all mounted in the same small, sealed box. Placing all of the electronics in such a small space results in higher operating temperatures which can lead to higher component stress. Especially stress to susceptible components such as electrolytic capacitors.


  Read This Informative EE Times Design Article Concerning The Problems Associated With The Use Of Electrolytic Capacitors And Opto Couplers In Micro Inverter Architecture, Written By Lesley Chisenga, Chief Architect, Enecsys Ltd






Partial Shade Mitigation



Solar Module Monitoring
(Sets Of Stion Modules)



Multiple Solar Module Orientations



Warranty Of Under Module Mounted Electronics

25 Years

25 Years

CEC Weighted Inverter Efficiency


The Highest 240 Volt Single Phase Inverter That Offers Individual Solar Panel Monitoring And Shade Mitigation In The Industry
(Results in a larger rebate in many states and higher energy production.)

Minimum Start Voltage

22 Volts

(Power Optimizers start up at a far lower voltage level for better energy harvesting)

Internet Communications Port Built Into System

(Must purchase optional Envoy® communications gateway.)

(Comes standard with Ethernet, RS232 and RS485 support built right in.)

Use Of Industry Standard Cabling

(Must purchase a comparatively expensive Engage® proprietary cabling assemply for inverter interconnection.)

(Uses low cost, industry standard cabling and only for extension purposes. Power Optimizer cabling is built in.)

Maximum Continuous Power Rating Per Each Module Mounted Electronics

240 Watts

400 Watts
(Allows for larger modules to
be used without wasting power.)

Module Mounted Electronics Exposed To Spikes, Surges, Brownouts From The Utility Grid


(SolarEdge's power optimizers are connected to the electrically stable DC power lines so they are isolated from a direct connection to the harsh environment of the grid for a potentially longer life expectancy.)

Use Of Electrolytic Capacitors In Under Module Mounted Electronics Which Have The Potential To Dry Out, Leak And Fail When Used In High Temperature Or Extreme Temperature Cycling Environments


(SolarEdge uses no electrolytic capacitors in their under module mounted Power Optimizers.)

Power Line Communication Issues


(Because the Envoy® and microinverters share the AC power line with every other appliance in your home, electrical interference can cause communication issues in your system.)

(SolarEdge's power optimizers communicate with the inverter through the electrically quiet DC power lines so the potential for interference is dramatically reduced.)

Under Module Mounted Electronics Peak Efficiency


(Higher Efficiency Means Less Temperature Related Stress.)

With SolarEdge you'll not only get a bigger cash rebate in many states, but also higher energy production because SolarEdge offers the highest 240 volt single phase CEC weighted efficiency rating on the market.

And why on Earth would anyone want to connect a 280 solar panel to an inverter that's only rated to handle a maximum of 240 Watts ? And when it comes to warranties, SolarEdge's standard 25 year Power Optimizer Unit warranty says it all !







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