If you are in the process of installing a solar panel system for your home, you must have come across articles talking about Solar Panels and Solar Inverters. Read this helpful guide to know what to look for in a good solar inverter, learn the different types of inverters, and how to get the best option to suit your home and budget.
Understanding Solar Inverters
The inverter is a major component in a solar power system. It converts the output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel, electric direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). In order to operate your household appliances, this AC is then used to supply electric power. Typically, the inverter is the most sophisticated component of the solar PV system and unfortunately, it is also the most likely component to fail first.
Types of Solar Inverters
Depending on what kind of solar panels you need, there are different types of solar inverters available on the market. The most common of these are:
1. String Inverters: This is the most common inverter type for residential units. Known as a string inverter because you connect strings of solar panels to it, this inverter is an overwhelmingly famous choice for Australians with economical cost.
The most common inverters in the market are:
- Galvo: The Fronius Galvo is ideal for households – and is especially suitable for self-consumption systems.
- Primo: The transformerless Fronius Primo is perfect for self-consumption management with power categories from 3.8 to 8.2kW.
- Symo: The Fronius Symo is a three-phase solar inverter which suits a solar PV system of any size.
- Eco: The Fronius Eco in power categories 25.0 and 27.0kW fulfills all the requirements for large-scale solar PV systems.
- Fronius Symo Hybrid: The three-phase Fronius Symo Hybrid inverter allows excess energy from a photovoltaic system to be stored in a battery.
- Home Series (Single Phase Inverters): Delta Home Series comes in 2.5kW, 3kW, 4kW and 5kW models – and are ideal for residential PV applications.
- E5 Hybrid Energy Storage System: E5 inverter is a complete integrated solution for homeowners and is available on the South Australia Home Battery Scheme.
2. Microinverters: These tiny solar inverters about the size of a paperback book are particularly useful if you have partial shade conditions. One main advantage of microinverters is they optimise each panel individually, delivering more energy.
3. Optimised string inverters: Optimiser based systems give similar performance benefits to microinverters, albeit using a slightly different technology. An optimiser system needs a string inverter, but you then attach optimisers on the back of the solar panels, optimising each panel output under varying conditions.
- Single-Phase Inverters: SolarEdge’s single-phase inverters manage PV production, battery storage, and smart energy products.
- Three-Phase Inverters: SolarEdge’s three-phase inverters for residential installations are available in 5kW, 7kW, and 8kW.
What size do I need for an inverter?
The size of the inverter you need depends on your solar panel array size. The inverter size is rated in kilowatts (kW) and is the maximum amount of solar-generated power that can be handled by the inverter.
But first, here’s how to calculate inverter size:
- The inverter’s maximum output capacity must be at least 75% of the solar array capacity.
- The array capacity can be up to 133% of the inverter capacity.
Please note that this regulation is laid down by the CEC, and solar PV systems must follow their rules to be eligible for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). Learn more about here.
Important: As it is a critical part of the solar PV system, it’s worth investing in a good name-brand inverter.
Check the warranty status
With a growing number of manufacturers providing pay for service warranty extension, solar inverters have warranties typically ranging from 5 to 15 years.
Since Venergy is a System Solution partner of Fronius, purchasing an inverter through us provides our customers with a 5 + 5 year warranty covering the inverter or parts, labour and material/parts costs.
The purchase of a SolarEdge optimiser through us provides for a 12-year warranty whereas a Delta inverter purchase through Venergy covers the inverter for 15 years.
So review the unit’s warranty and balance this against your system’s other features to ensure you make a smart decision as to which solar inverter is right for you. For advice, speak to one of Venergy’s expert solar consultants. To get a free customised electricity saving plan, click on the button below or call 1800 836 374.