The short answer is that there is no actual difference between the panels themselves. Both types of panels create DC power that needs to be inverted to AC power. But the difference lies in where that inversion takes place. The power from DC panels travels to a string inverter or a microinverter installed on the job site. AC panels, however, use microinverters that come preintegrated by the manufacturer and ready for installation. Because these microinverters produce the AC power directly at the individual panel rather than traveling to a string inverter, we refer to them as AC panels.

When install conditions are less than ideal, such as some shading or east-west exposure, panels using microinverters will perform better than DC panels using string inverters.

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