Most Important Criteria For Choosing a Solar Inverter

 

When purchasing a home solar power system many people put their focus on ensuring they buy the highest quality solar panels and put less time into researching the inverter, which is the brain of a solar PV system.

solar inverter

The efficiency and quality of the solar inverter is going to be the biggest influences on the output of your solar system, so it is important to make sure the one you are quoted for or choose covers the main criteria of a reputable inverter.

Here is some important criteria to look into when doing your research.

Solar Inverter Quality

The internet provides a wealth of information on different inverter brands and through doing your research online it will quickly become clear which inverters to steer clear of and what inverter brands are reputable within the industry.

The best way to determine the quality of any product is by looking at the experiences of past customers and their feedback on the product. You can do this by searching online on forums and websites like; Product Review, Facebook, Google, TrustPilot, Clean Energy Reviews.

If you can’t find any information on a brand or product, then its performance isn’t well known. In that case, it may be best to steer clear.

Safety Of Solar Power Inverter

Every inverter requires anti-island protection which disconnects the solar system’s electrical supply to the grid in the event of a blackout. This is to ensure safety to the electricians working on the fault and people within the household so they are not at risk of electric shock.

Look out for reviews on inverter’s that have had issues with their anti-island protection and eliminate them from your list.

Solar Inverter and Panel Compatibility

It is vital that your solar panels and inverter are compatible to work together. Inverters have a voltage range in which they can operate an array of panels within and maximum input current.

If you have already chosen what panels you want to have installed, ensure that the inverter you’re looking at will operate well with those panels. The solar installer you are speaking to will be able to tell you what configurations of panels and inverters will be compatible.

Solar Inverter’s Life Expectancy and Warranty

The average lifetime of a solar inverter is ten years at least, and so a standard inverter warranty will cover you for 10 years. If a manufacturer offers a warranty over 10 years this indicates the quality of their product and their confidence in its life expectancy.

Read the fine print of the warranty before signing!  It is required that the process for actioning your warranty be written within your warranty document. It should precisely say what the company is responsible for and what you are responsible for.

A good warranty will state that the company will take on the entire cost for removing, transporting, replacing and reinstalling a defective inverter within the warranty time period. Companies that aren’t willing to make this commitment probably aren’t confident enough in their own product, so you probably shouldn’t be either.

Solar Inverters Presence In Australia

It’s an important factor to ensure that the inverter brand or manufacturer that you select has some type of presence and office in Australia. The reason for this is if you have any issues with your inverter you will want easy access to assistance and have someone nearby available for troubleshooting or servicing as opposed to being on a different time zone.

Solar Inverter’s Extra Features and Functionalities

Inverters can have additional features and functionalities you may or may not require such as a hybrid inverter having the ability to connect to battery storage to store a solar system’s excess energy or micro-inverters which optimise individual solar panels. Before deciding on what inverter to buy for your system ensure it has the functionalities that you will require.

Highly Reviewed Inverter Brands in Australia

Based on reviews from industry professionals and customers, we’ve compiled a small list of some highly regarded inverters available in Australia. These inverters have been reviewed favourably due to their quality, warranty, features, monitoring, reliability and value.

If you’re looking to purchase a solar power system inclusive of a high-quality inverter or just speak to professionals about your options, request obligation-free quotes from local CEC accredited solar installers to get started!

 

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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