What is an inverter?

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A solar inverter is one of the most important & essential elements of a photovoltaic system. It converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into alternating 240V current (AC). This AC electricity then can be fed into your home to operate your appliances.

The electricity that is not consumed in your home is either fed into the grid (electrical power lines) or into home battery storage. New hybrid inverters include an integrated battery management system.

Long lasting solar power systems require a high quality inverter with a robust convection cooling system. Low quality inverters have unfortunately failed in the Australian climate and for this reason, we recommend ensuring the best quality inverter you can afford, coupled with high quality tier 1 panels.

Limitless's Recommended Top 3 Inverters of choice

How do you increase the lifespan of an inverter?

The life of a solar inverter can be significantly increased by installing it inside a garage, under a carport and out of direct sunlight. It is extremely important to use a quality inverter and mount it in a sheltered location if possible.

What types of Solar Inverters are there?

Hybrid Inverters:
  • A hybrid inverter, otherwise known as a hybrid grid-tied inverter or a battery-based inverter, combines two separate components–a solar inverter and a battery inverter–into a single piece of equipment.
  • When you pair your solar system with a hybrid inverter, a separate battery inverter isn’t necessary: it can function as both an inverter for electricity from your solar panels and a solar battery. This means you can focus on getting a solar system today, whilst being ready to add batteries tomorrow.
Off-Grid Inverters:
  • Off grid inverters supply power from DC to AC instantly in order to power appliances. It draws power from the battery, converts it from DC and outputs AC. In a hybrid system, you can run an off-grid inverter to generate the grid, then use a grid-tied inverter to run most or all the power. Speak to an expert at Limitless if you’re looking for an Off-Grid solution by clicking here.
String Inverters:
  • A device used with solar arrays to convert the energy that is generated (DC) to usable electricity for your home appliances (AC). They are connected to multiple solar panels forcing the performance to be equal to the worst performing panel. It is most important to ensure no shading issues occur in order to maintain the highest performance output possible for your PV system.
Micro Inverters
  • Spending the additional money for microinverters or power optimizers isn't always necessary. They are the best option where partial shading or a complicated roof would negatively impact solar panel system performance. If you have an uncomplicated, unshaded roof, a string inverter can provide better economic-value. Speak with an expert from Limitless if shading issues are something you’re concerned about by clicking here.

There is a considerable price difference between the hundreds of different solar inverters available. For example, an entry-level 5kW inverter can start from as little as $500-700, while a premium quality 5kW inverter with 10+ year warranty may cost $1700 or higher. Many low-cost inverters are notorious for claiming high failure rates with difficulty claiming warranty. Therefore, it is highly recommended in investing in a better quality inverter.

Remember, “the cheapest product will cost you the most in the long run”

Want to know why the team at Limitless recommends the Fronius inverter?

Click here to find out why.

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