Inverters are an essential part of solar panel systems. Without them, your system won’t be able to work and convert the energy into a usable form.
Choosing a suitable inverter is essential as it will determine the efficiency of your solar panel system.
🥜 Different types of solar inverters in a nutshell:
1️⃣ Microinverters are the best and most expensive. They are in every solar panel and will let you get the most out of the system, as only one individual solar panel will be affected when it’s in the shade.
2️⃣ String inverters are the ones that have been around the longest and have fewer kinks than others. It is the most straightforward system as well.
3️⃣ Solar optimizers are a combination between string inverters and microinverters.
This article will answer each type and give you the knowledge you need to make an informed buying decision. Keep reading to find out, or jump straight to a section below:
🔀 Types Of Solar Inverters
A solar inverter will convert the energy into a usable form. And solar energy can’t work without an inverter.
You can choose from three types of inverters when you buy a system.
- String inverters
- Micro inverters
- Power optimizers
Each inverter is different from the others. And it’s best to look for an inverter that meets your needs and will fit with the type of solar panel system you want to install.
📖 Related Article: Micro vs String Inverters
➿ What Is A String Inverter?
A string inverter converts direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity for household and business use. It is called a string inverter because it is typically connected to a string of solar panels wired in series.
The most prevalent and widely used type of inverter is the string inverter, which also happens to be the standard option. It is also the most cost-effective choice among all the inverters available.
The string inverter is equipped with a key feature that enables currency exchange. Additionally, this type of inverter has been in use for the longest period of time.
Since they are the oldest, it also makes them the most reliable inverters. String inverters also have most of their problems worked out as people have had a long time to work on them.
They are located centrally on the side of houses or on a ground-mounted system. You can repair them easier this way and also monitor them.
However, they do have some downsides. They might be reliable but are less efficient than other inverters in optimizing solar energy.
They only have total system monitoring, whereas other inverters have panel-level monitoring. It can be a drawback when looking for a single problem in the system.
🔬 What Is A Micro Inverter?
A micro inverter is a small unit that will be inside every single solar panel. The inverter will allow every panel to perform at its best ability.
Only that panel will be affected when the specific panel doesn’t get enough sun. You can also monitor every panel to see if you need to move anything.
These inverters are more expensive than string inverters but will be worth the investment over the long run.
A microinverter will allow you to expand your system quickly. The inverters will already be installed when you want to add more panels.
You can monitor the systems and diagnose the problems more efficiently since the panels will handle the energy conversion your solar system won’t work so hard.
These inverters are the most expensive option, so they won’t be the best choice if you are tight on money.
The microinverter is also difficult to repair and maintain as its located on the back of the panels.
⚡️ What Is A Solar Power Optimizer?
A solar optimizer combines a string inverter and a micro inverter. Like the microinverters, the power optimizers will have a component under each solar panel. They are more effective than the string inverter and are also becoming more popular.
The solar power optimizer fine-tunes the current prior to transmission to the inverter. A solar power optimizer enables you to keep track of the performance of each individual solar panel and the overall system.
They will also not affect the whole system when one panel doesn’t get enough sun.
However, these optimizers are expensive, and you will need more solar optimizers if you want to expand your system.
One of the most important things you have to look out for and consider is that these optimizers will be on your roof, so you can’t access them easily to repair or maintain them.
🛒 What To Look For When Buying An Inverter
It’s essential to buy a suitable inverter for your solar system. It will have to be able to convert the amount of energy you will put through it daily.
1️⃣ The first thing to look out for is a trusted supplier. You don’t want to buy an inverter that doesn’t work or that doesn’t have a warranty.
2️⃣ The battery capacity has to match the inverter capacity!
3️⃣ You will also choose between sine wave and square wave inverters. Pure sine wave inverters are recommended and are known to be the best option.
4️⃣ You should also check if the wiring at your house is suitable for an inverter. It would be best to omit big appliances like fridges and air cons as they need a lot of power. You can get a technician to check the wiring for you.
5️⃣ Internal cooling is also essential for inverters as they can get hot when you use them for a while. The cooling systems can fail, so it’s best to watch them.
What Type Of Inverter Is Best For Solar?
Micro inverters are the best option for you when installing solar in your home.
While they might be pricey, they will be worth it in the end, as they will save you money over the course of their lifespan.
Microinverters will allow you to monitor every solar panel separately with an app on your mobile phone, and only one panel will be affected when shade is on them.
These microinverters are becoming more popular daily and are worth their price.
What Type Of Inverter Is Most Efficient?
Sine wave inverters are a great option when you decide what inverter to buy. They are high quality and last longer without needing much maintenance.
The high-quality inverters are rated at 90%-95% efficiency, while the lower ones are 75%-85%. Before buying, you should shop for the best price on these inverters, as they can be pricey.
Pure sine wave inverters allow you to get the most out of your solar system.
What Are The Common Inverter Problems?
Many problems can arise when you have inverters, and most people panic when these problems pop up. However, they are mainly simple to fix, and you shouldn’t get too stressed.
The battery might not charge, and the inverter might display incorrect LCD codes. Other problems include a shortened backup time and the inverter not working in inverter mode.
If they occur, you can get a qualified technician to look at these problems for you.
Is A 5kw Inverter Enough To Run A House?
You can run a big house on a 5kw inverter. As long as you have the correct batteries, there shouldn’t be a problem.
You can run several AC systems and fridges on a 5kw inverter. Small devices such as TVs, laptops, and phones can also run on the inverter for quite a while.
Most people only run a few appliances in their everyday lives, only the necessities. You can also run a few power tools if you need to.
How Long Can The Inverter Run Continuously?
Small inverters can run for roughly 30 to 60 minutes.
An inverter can run for as long as you have power in the battery, but it’s not a good idea to run them 24/7 as they can overheat.
When an inverter overheats, it can also lead to house fires and other dangers. It can also cause damage to the inverter or other systems connected to it.
The bigger your inverter and batteries are, the longer they will run and give you power in your house.
🔑 Key Takeaways
There are three types of inverters a microinverter, a string inverter, and a power optimizer.
Each inverter will allow you to convert the energy for your house and supply power. The microinverter is the best option but also the most expensive one.
The string inverter is the cheapest option but has many downsides and is also the oldest inverter.
Solar optimizers blend the benefits of micro inverters and string inverters into a single unit.
💡 Solar Inverter Knowledge Panel:
How To Size Your Solar Inverter?
What Are Solar Optimizers?