Solar inverters are vital due to the role they play in getting you the maximum electricity possible from solar panels. They go a long way in helping you detect faults, communicate with the utility grid, monitor system output, and maximize energy production.
As you might know, a solar inverter for home use has several key benefits, and the device also comes in several types, making it a little challenging for consumers to choose an optimal one.
Here, we describe the options you have when it comes to buying a solar inverter. Mainly, there are four types of solar power inverters, and they are:
String inverters/central inverters are better suited for simpler solar installations. Solar panels are connected in series in a formation known as a ‘string’, and several of these strings are connected to a string inverter.
The central inverter then converts the energy from the solar panels into usable electricity that can power your homes/offices. These string inverters are quite cheap, and they are also easy to maintain because usually they are in an easy-to-reach location, such as the garage, basement, etc. Given that the string inverter has a simple setup and performs a basic function, it is also quite durable.
However, it also has its share of drawbacks. For instance, the performance of the entire inverter matches the efficiency of the weakest panel in the string. Also, it is not highly efficient on roofs with shading or in places where a string formation is difficult. Finally, string inverters are ideal if you live or work in an area with ample sunlight and you have a limited budget.
Microinverters are installed next to each solar panel, and from there, they convert DC from the panels into AC for a household/workstation. It is worth mentioning that you can monitor the output of every panel and also optimize the performance of each panel even if shading is present. Besides, the setup is highly scalable; each new solar panel comes with a new microinverter rather than making the user reassess how many panels can be added to the existing string inverter without reaching capacity.
A drawback is that it is costlier than the string inverter. Further, maintenance can be tricky and expensive given that they are situated on the roof. In conclusion, microinverters are ideal for places with shade or complicated roof designs that make the panels face different directions.
Power optimizers are placed next to each solar panel. They make sure the maximum possible energy is derived from the panel before the electricity is fed to a central inverter for conversion to usable AC. These devices are highly effective in migrating the impact of shading or individually weak panels. However, they are hard to maintain and are costlier than a standard string inverter.
A hybrid solar inverter for home/office pairs quite well with battery backup systems, which is a good thing, given the increased interest nowadays in resilience and energy independence. Notably, hybrid inverters possess the ability to turn DC output from your solar panels to the AC that runs your home/workplace while also being able to convert AC output from the electricity grid to DC power that can charge your battery bank.
Besides, hybrid inverters come equipped with charge controllers. The charge controller smartly detects when to draw energy from the grid to charge your battery pack and when to direct solar energy to your home/office circuits, batteries, or the grid.
You will also find hybrid inverters with multiple nodes that can power essential home circuits when the grid is down, provided they are configured properly. Also, electric vehicles can be charged by connecting them to hybrid inverters. However, hybrid inverters are quite expensive, and like string inverters, they might not be suited for places with shading or complicated roof designs.
Now, you must be wondering what your next step will be in your journey towards setting up a solar inverter for home or office. What if you have a huge installation on your hands, such as a double battery inverter or even a smaller one, but lack the technical know-how? Given that solar inverters are responsible for making the electricity from your panels useful, you need to consider your choice of inverter quite carefully. Preferably, reach out to an expert for consulting on the best inverter with battery for home.