Solar Inverter Reviews
Quick links to the top 6 inverter brands in Australia (& where to buy)
What does an inverter do?
DC to AC conversion
Types of solar inverters
Solar inverter technology
- String inverter: A string inverter is a single, standalone unit that converts power from a whole string (or strings) of solar panels. String inverters are cheap and convenient, but tend to be the least efficient.
- String inverter + power optimiser: Power optimisers are attached to each individual panel. They perform MPP tracking at the module level; the optimised DC power is then sent to the string inverter for conversion into AC power. Combining string inverters with power optimisers will increase your cost but allow your system to handle issues like shading better.
- Microinverter: Microinverters are also attached to individual panels. They perform both MPP tracking and power conversion at the module level, allowing each panel to output usable AC power. They’re good at dealing with shade (like power optimisers), and have the additional advantage of making your solar system easy to expand. They are, however, the most expensive type of inverter.
The type of solar power system the inverter is for
The solar inverter you choose will need to be compatible solar system type you are installing:
- Grid-tied inverters are meant for grid-tied solar systems, the most common system type. They manage a two-way relationship with the grid, exporting solar power to it, and importing utility power from it as required.
- Hybrid inverters are designed to work with hybrid solar systems (aka solar-plus-storage systems). They have the same functionality as a grid-tie inverter, but can also charge and draw power from a battery setup.
- Off-grid inverters are used in off-grid solar systems, i.e. fully independent solar power systems, giving you back up power when the grid is down. An off-grid inverter requires a battery backup to function, and cannot be connected to the grid.
How do solar panels work?
Grid-tied solar system
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximise savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
Hybrid solar system
Off-grid solar system
Know before you buy
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