Where To Install Your Inverter To Improve Efficiency And Lifespan

Solar Inverter in Australia

When installing a solar PV system most people are focused on the positioning of the panels, however the location of the inverter is just as important and can play a huge part in the energy production and lifespan of the system.

The inverter has the vital role of converting electricity generated by the solar panels from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the electricity we use to run our appliances and households.

Converting this electricity requires the inverter to be constantly working hard which can put its components under strain and can cause overheating in some cases. When an inverter becomes overheated it’s efficiency can drastically drop, and its lifespan can be cut short. To avoid this happening, you will want to ensure you select a suitable location for your inverter to be installed.

Ideal Environment To Install An Inverter

To get the most out of your inverter and ensure it lives out it’s expected lifespan, you will want to install it in a shaded, cool and well-ventilated area. Usually an installer will recommend an indoor garage or if the inverter is rated as outdoor, a shaded verandah is acceptable if direct sunlight is not an issue.

Solar Power Inverter Australia

Inverters can also be affected by other elements such as moisture and dust, so it is important to install the inverter away from areas of possible dampness or clutter.

In summary look for an environment where your inverter will be:

  • Away from all-weather affects
  • In an area with at least ½ foot free space on all sides of it
  • Away from any sources of moisture or direct sunlight
  • Easily accessible

Minimise Efficiency Loss

Second to avoiding the inverter becoming overheated or damaged by other elements, it is best practice to have the inverter installed as close as possible to your meter. Having your inverter installed close to the meter will reduce voltage drops and efficiency loss.

Warranties – Read The Fine Print

In addition to installing your inverter in a location where you’ll get the most out of it’s lifespan, you will also want to ensure you have read the fine print of your inverter’s warranty conditions and install in a location that meet the manufacturers requirements for warranty claims. These requirements may include location of the inverter (indoor/outdoor), ventilation, temperature of room/area installed etc. If these requirements are not met, then you will be unable to claim for a replacement or repair should anything happen to your inverter.

Start speaking to local providers about your installation options by receiving obligation free quotes by CEC accredited installers!

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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.