INVERTERS ARE THE BRAINS OF THE
SOLAR POWER SYSTEM

THE EVOLUTION OF THE SOLAR INVERTER

The solar inverter converts direct current (DC) from the solar panels into alternating current (AC) the electricity our homes are set-up to use.  The first inverters were very simple designs with minimal monitoring capabilities and the panels operate in series to the level of the lowest-performing panel in the string.

These ‘string’ systems have become more sophisticated over the years but are still very basic compared to the capabilities of ‘optimised’ systems. SolarEdge introduced their holistic optimised solar inverter to resolve the power loss and monitoring issues with string systems.

As well as the inverter, SolarEdge systems have optimisers that are either embedded in the solar panel or connect to it and then to the inverter.  This means individual panels generate their maximum power all the time leading to overall power increases of up to 25%.  It also enables the panels to be monitored to ensure optimum performance.  Solarpro monitors its customers’ systems as a free service.

Enphase micro inverters achieve a similar outcome to optimised systems by having a small inverter under each panel on the roof.  SolarEdge has gone further by introducing device control for home appliances and the World’s first Electric Vehicle charging solar inverter.

Comparisons of the three types of systems are below.  The evolution and innovation continue!

SOLAREDGE INVERTERS

The SolarEdge optimised solar system revolutionised the solar power industry.  It delivers up to 25% more power than string systems, has unique safety features and technology to maximise the  use of your own power.  It is the most sophisticated solar management solution on the Australian market.

VIEW OUR SOLAREDGE RANGE

ENPHASE MICROINVERTERS

Enphase micro inverters are installed under each solar panel on your roof. This enables independent panel operation which increases solar power generation over a string inverter. Very good design flexibility on multiple roof aspects.

VIEW OUR ENPHASE RANGE

SUNGROW INVERTERS

Sungrow is a very well established company.  Their traditional string inverter is reliable and comes in at the less expensive end of the quality string inverter brands.  We recommend this inverter to our customers who want a good quality, basic solar power system.

VIEW OUR SUNGROW RANGE

THE MOST COMMON INVERTER TECHNOLOGIES

There are three types of solar power inverters on the market. The technologies are called string, optimised and micro inverters. As the inverter is the brains of the solar power system, the way it interacts with the solar panels determines the efficiency of your overall system.  String systems do the job but they have limitations which are increasingly noticeable as consumer demands change.

The SolarEdge optimised system and Enphase micro inverters have both resolved the main limitations of string systems.  Basically, by enabling the solar panels to operate independently from each other.  This brings about a number of benefits, the main one being increased power generation through the ability to manage shade.

In the case of SolarEdge optimised systems device control technology and the World’s first EV charging solar inverter are enabling customers to use the maximum amount possible of their solar power rather than exporting to the grid.

Solarpro generally recommends the SolarEdge optimised solar power system.  However, there are cases where micro inverters are the best solution.  For example, in cases where the best design calls for a large amount of solar panels on one roof aspect and less than six panels on the opposite roof aspect.

OPTIMISED SOLAR SYSTEMS

Optimised solar systems enable solar panels to operate independently.  This increases power generation by up to 25% and brings flexibility to panel positioning. SolarEdge is the only holistic optimised solar system on the market and Solarpro has been using it successfully for over a decade.

  • Independent panel operation
  • Up to 25% more power than other inverter technologies
  • Panel installation in shade and on multiple roof aspects possible
  • The ability to add different panel models in the future
  • Leading unique safety features
  • Longest warranties in the industry 12 & 25 years extendable
  • Battery ready for major solar battery technology such as LG RESU and Tesla Powerwall 2
  • Daily monitoring of each panel by Solarpro part of our service
  • Energy efficient DC coupled battery connection possible
  • World’s first EV charging solar inverter

Solarpro has been installing Optimisers since 2010 and has more installed throughout Sydney than any other company. We find them very reliable and Solarpro’s Owner and MD has a SolarEdge system on his home which includes 44 Optimisers using a variety of different panels including both 401’s and 505’s.

MICRO INVERTER SYSTEM

As the name suggests, Enphase micro inverters are installed under each solar panel on the roof, rather than having one inverter controlling multiple panels.

  • Independent panel operation and monitoring
  • Can manage shade & be installed on multiple roof aspects
  • The Australian warranty is 10 years
  • Highest operating temperature is 65 degrees
  • Power conversion efficiency is 96.5%

STRING SOLAR SYSTEMS

These systems consist of an inverter connected to a string of solar panels. String solar systems have limitations that prevent them from reaching their full potential power production. This is simply a legacy of past design. Technology has moved on. Solarpro installs string systems such as the Sungrow,  Fronius or the SMA inverters as a budget option. Things to consider are:

  • Up-front cost is less than optimised solar systems
  • Solar panels operate in series to the level of the lowest-performing panel in the string
  • Power loss is caused by shade and voltage differences (no two panels are exactly the same)
  • Individual panel output cannot be monitored
  • Optimised solar technology was developed to improve on string solar systems

MORE SOLAR POWER FROM OPTIMISED INVERTERS

The video explains how traditional string inverters work and the limitations which led to the development of optimised solar power systems and micro inverters.

FAQ'S

How is solar electricity generated?

When sunlight hits the solar panels on your roof a DC electric current is produced. An inverter, connected between the solar panels and your switchboard, converts the DC current into AC current, which powers your home or is fed into the electricity grid or a solar battery. The technology to generate solar power has been evolving to get the maximum possible electricity from the system.  Our research shows that the optimised style of system gives superior power generation and of these we believe SolarEdge delivers the best value for money.

Why choose solar power?

Generating power from solar is a good investment.  It reduces your environmental footprint and saves you money every day.  It can increase property values and makes you energy independent, meaning electricity price rises do not have the same sting in the future.

Modern technology has brought flexibility to the positioning of solar panels, increased their efficiency and increased power generation.  Affordable, compact battery storage with management systems is making it possible to use solar at night and ‘beat the electricity grid’. At Solarpro, we focus on reducing the running cost of your home and appliances overall by recommending the most appropriate solar power system, customised for your individual circumstances. Contact us for further information and as for the ‘Good, Better, best’ options.

Why choose a quality inverter solution?

Inverters, like most electronic devices, can be made to a specific price or designed for performance and robustness. It is difficult to predict how the quality components in an inverter will affect the life expectancy of the unit unless you are an electronics engineer. There are nevertheless some considerations that you as a consumer can analyse.

First, ask yourself if this inverter manufacturer is one of the top 2 or 3 manufacturers in its field and do they offer a technology that is superior to the standard offering. Are they an inverter manufacturer that have been around for years and have continually improved their product, to the point that they are a leader in their field? Are they able to quickly address any faults in the inverter through Australian service centres? What are the warranty terms and how long? Are labour costs for repairs included in the warranty? If the answer is yes, to many of these questions and you can these answers in writing, then picking such an inverter solution will see you in a better place, than just going for any solution, if it is cheap.

The built quality of the inverter is another way to tell, what is worth purchasing and what is worth rejecting. Are the materials high-quality? Does it keep out weather and insects? What is the IP rating (IP is the water resistance level) Is cooling considered carefully? Is the product using fan-based cooling or convection? There is a greater chance of malfunctioning with moving parts, and some moving fans can get noisy. Is it well-designed and has the right number of features? Is it already ready for the future of solar, being smart solar where many other products are integrated?  It is made where and backed by which company? Does your local installer back the technology strongly and has installed this inverter type for a long tome and had good experiences?

Inverters are now much more affordable than they were in the past, but you still get what you pay. They all look great from the outside, but the inside will make a huge difference over the years.

Performance is often measured by features and conversion efficiency. This is how much power is lost when DC is transferred to AC. It is a good idea to read the datasheets of inverters and ask your installer for their advice. Do not accept cheap inverter offers that sound too good to be true.