Solar Inverters

The Solar Inverter is the second most important component of a solar PV system. It converts the  Direct Current (“DC”) solar power that is produced by your solar panels into the  Alternating Current (AC) power that you use in homes or businesses. Inverters also have technology that maximizes the power output of that DC energy.



A solar power system is really only as good as its inverter. It operates the solar cells at the optimum electrical operating point and transforms their DC into grid-conforming AC. The quality of the inverter defines the yield, and because of that it is the heart of a solar power system. The SunWave Solar installation professional will select the inverter which most optimally suits the system and which guarantees the greatest yield. SunWave Solar has been installing a lot of Sunny Boy Inverters from SMA with great success. There are several high quality inverters from a variety of manufacturers in the market.

 

There are two basic types of inverters for your system.

  • Central Inverters

Central inverters are reliable systems that have been around for decades. They are the most common types of inverters. With central inverters, every solar panel is wired in a line to the inverter box. The conversion from DC to AC occurs at one central location, the inverter. 

·         Micro Inverters

Micro inverters are new to solar. Instead of converting the DC to AC power at a single inverter, micro inverters are installed under each panel. The main advantage to micro inverters is the ability for each solar panel to transmit AC power into your home. In other words, each panel is its own solar power producer and keeps turning out solar energy regardless of what is happening to other panels in the array. Micro inverters can make a system more expensive and do not have 40 years of reliability testing. They also are not easy to replace once installed.

·         Inverter Warranties

Central inverters typically carry a 10 year warranty and often go for 12 to 15 years or longer. The leading micro inverter company has a 15 year warranty, but the inverter(s) could last years longer too. In either case, if you stay in the same house for 20+ years with your same solar panels, (which last 20 to 25 years or longer) expect to pay to replace your inverter(s) at some point. How much? Due to manufacturing advances in 15 years, probably less than the current cost of about $1200-$2000.

·         System Monitoring


System monitoring can be important to you and we offer a wide range of possibilities: wireless or Internet-based, compact or complex, concise or elaborate. Regardless of whether you want to monitor the yield of a home roof system or of an open-field solar power station, you will find the perfect solution for every application.

*Inverter information and images from SMA. Thank you.

 

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