Standard or Central inverters are the more common type of inverters and most PV systems will use this kind, with its capacities measured in the kW, the smallest typically being 1.5 kW ranging up to 5 kW at a residential level.
A central inverter is a single large unit which has all the PV panels connected to it in strings. It is typically located further away from the panels, in a location where its LCD display can be easily viewed e.g. garage wall.
Central inverter systems are available at a lower cost than Micro inverter systems. However, they will have slightly lower performance than Micro inverter systems under normal conditions and significantly lower performance if your PV array is setup across a multitude of roof faces and/or has partial shading on some of the panels.
Micro inverters are much smaller than central inverters and have smaller capacities – usually around 200 to 250 W.
A micro inverter will manage 1-2 panels in your PV array and are mounted, usually on the back of a PV panel. Since many micro inverters are used rather than a single central, unit the outputs of all the micro inverters must be brought together at a junction box before being fed to your grid connection.
Since micro inverter systems have a lot more hardware required than central inverter systems, they tend to be more expensive. However, micro inverter systems perform better than central inverter systems because each panel can be optimised individually and so even if one panel is shaded the rest of the PV array can still work to optimum.