An inverter is the most fragile part of any solar system and it’s what breaks down the most. Choosing it isn’t easy. However, there are models that just don’t disappoint our customers and we are here today to talk about them. Here is our list of best solar inverters.
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When solar panels are exposed to the sun, they produce direct current – DC. While it’s good, the DC can’t be used by most of the appliances that we have at home. What they need is an alternating current – AC and this is where an inverter comes in. It turns DC from the panel into AC and either sends it to your TV or laptop or feeds it into the grid.
There are three main types of solar inverters: grid-tie, off-grid and hybrid ones. Let’s look at each type more closely:
The primary function of a solar inverter is to turn the direct current into alternating. However, it’s not the only one. Inverter also:
An inverter has the widest range of tasks than any other part of a system. Its complexity is its weakness, which is why it’s so important to buy a quality inverter. You need one that is not only manufactured well but also has good software as it can be another soft spot of an inverter.
It is recommended to install an inverter in a dry cold place out of sunlight with enough free room around it to ensure good ventilation. Some inverters are designed to be installed outdoors though. To prolong the lifetime of your inverter: Wipe the dust off it, clean and change air intake filters from time to time and check the screen for errors.
SolarEdge is a company that has already gained a great reputation over the years. SE5000H-US is one of the models from their product line of grid-tie residential inverters. Since the average size of a solar system in the US is 5kW. It’s only natural that this 5kW model is so popular.
It’s very light, has built-in module-level monitoring, and shows outstanding 99% efficiency. To minimize the impact of shading on the string production, you can add SolarEdge Optimizers to your panels. The inverter can be managed with a SolarEdge SetApp on your smartphone. This model comes with a 12-year warranty that can be extended to 25 years.
Microinverters are quite different from the standard inverters in the way. That you need a separate microinverter for each panel you have. The installation is much easier though: each microinverter just goes on top of every panel and that’s it: your PV modules now produce AC.
While in the end, the usual string inverter might be a little cheaper, Enphase microinverters last just as long as solar panels do and are very efficient. This particular Enphase IQ7 is designed to work with 60 and 72-cell panels, showing 97% efficiency.
It puts out 250 Watts and works with modules that are up to 300W in power capacity. The model comes with a 25-year product warranty.
The SMA Sunny Boy inverter has all the reasons to make the list of Top-5 solar inverters. It shows 97.6% efficiency and is equipped with an MPPT tracker that can serve to maximize the production of your array.
ShadeFix technology, which is widely used by SMA, optimizes the performance of a system that helps to fight the greatest enemy of string inverters — the shading problem. The standard warranty is 10 years, but it can be extended to 15 or 20 years.
Generac inverter can be considered a hybrid one. While it’s designed for a grid-tie installation, it also supports smart battery integration. That in itself grants an interrupted power supply — even when the grid is down. You can draw the energy from the battery.
When connected to the grid, the inverter provides a 7600W power output. PWRview online monitoring platform is helpful to watch the performance of your system. The inverter comes with a 10-year warranty.
Obviously, this is a commercial-size inverter for systems of a larger scope. While some manufacturers sacrifice efficiency for capacity, the SMA inverter still shows 98% efficiency. It is a great choice for a large-scale PV installation with 50 kW of power output.
The inverter has six MPP trackers to optimize and maximize the production of strings. MPP tracking technology also minimizes the effect of shading on panels. The installation is very simple since there is no additional racking required.
The manufacturer claims that it was actually the world’s first free-standing PV inverter for commercial rooftops, carports, and ground-based installations. The model comes with a 10-year warranty that can be extended to 15 or even 20 years.