It’s becoming increasingly popular – and easier – to do your bit for the planet and “plugin” to the power of solar energy. The equipment needed to take advantage of sustainable energy is also becoming more affordable.
One of the most important elements of having solar power in your home or workplace is getting the correct inverter. So, what is a solar panel inverter, and how do you choose the right one?
The role inverters play in solar power
This piece of equipment is sometimes referred to as a PV inverter – an abbreviation of photovoltaic. It’s the specialist apparatus that turns the light that your solar panels collect, into the energy to power your premises or sell to the national grid. In other words, changing DC currents into AC power.
That makes solar panel inverters a highly specialist piece of kit, representing a finely tuned invention from within the fields of physics and electrochemistry. The ability of solar energy to be so incredibly sustainable, efficient and clean, hinges on the way inverters generate electricity from light.
The different types of inverters
There are different inverters available, with different cost implications. Many models now have an internet connection, to enable you to monitor their functioning and energy output and usage.
It’s reassuring to know that modern solar inverters have efficiency ratings of up to 99%; a rating that you should check when buying this equipment.
Some of the differences between solar inverters rest on their Maximum Power Point Tracking abilities. This indicates the complexities of extracting the most energy possible from the light input, even when actual sunlight is in short supply.
The main types of solar panel inverters are as follows.
Sometimes known as central inverters, these are the most commonly used type of solar panel inverter, not least as they are competitively priced (between £500 and £1,500). This equipment supports a “string” of solar panels – but all panels need to be lined up equally.
It’s important to note that these tend to have a shorter shelf life than other options, and will need to be replaced after five to ten years. Also, they can become inefficient if a panel in your array malfunctions or becomes shaded.
These are usually a more expensive option for generating solar power in your premises but come with added benefits including a 25-year warranty.
They’re a great option for creating a substantial amount of clean electricity from a small array of solar panels. You buy multiple units, to sit behind each panel. This maximises input even when you have a panel not working or in shade.
The set up of microinverters is also a great space-saving option. Each unit will cost between £20 and £100, but it’s important to note that they can be trickier (and therefore more expensive) to install.
Optimised inverter system
As the name implies, this option is a sophisticated way of increasing energy input, by combining string and microinverter benefits, to overcome the pitfalls. Part of the system sits behind each panel, while a central inverter manages energy output.
It covers a diverse range of systems costing from hundreds to thousands of pounds.
SolarEdge optimised system
SolarEdge technology is often viewed as the ultimate in optimised solar inverter efficiency. Its individual components can cope with panels at any alleviation and angle, and central energy conversion is seamless. SolarEdge keeps voltage stable and constantly measures the inverter efficiency, highlighting issues instantly including arc fault detection. It is widely considered to be the safest and lowest maintenance solar power system on the market. The different sizes dictate the cost, though there are great options for less that £1,000.
How to choose the best solar (PV) inverter
A lot depends on your needs and ambitions regarding solar energy in your home or business building. Also, how crucial will it be to even out power generation from hour to hour and day to day?
It also depends on your budget and the space available for installing solar panels. The best bet is to seek expert help from GreenMatch to choose the right solar panel inverter.
If you’re still unsure on the right solar inverter to purchase for your panels then please dont hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team
01242 370 308