Solar PV Inverter in Perth

A solar inverter is one of the crucial components of a solar pv system. The inverter is a device that converts the power generated by the solar panels into usable power for our homes. The power generated in the solar panels is Direct Current (DC) to be usage with in a household it has to be converter to Alternating current (AC), this is the job of the inverter and is usually considered the most complex part of a solar pv system.

Types of Solar Inverters

There are many types of inverters based on the way that are connected and how they function. But before we dive into that it is important to note that in Australia all inverters should be Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved and should meet Australian standard AS4777. 

String Inverters: 

These are the most common type of inverters and are generally the simplest and the least expensive option. A string (or several strings) of solar panels can be connected to one inverter. The inverter is usually installed near the switchboard or a secured yet high traffic area. One of the downsides of this inverter is, Because the panels in a string are connected in series to each other, if one panel falls into shade, or it’s heavily soiled, or fails outright, then the output of the whole string is diminished, usually to the level of the shaded panel.

In other words, if one panel drops to 50% output for some reason, the whole string of panels drops to 50% output. You can effectively lose most of the output from a whole string this way. But this is unlikely if there’s no shading problem, you keep the system well maintained and pay attention to the system’s performance so that you detect any problems early.

Some famous Brands Are: Fronius, Goodwe, Huawei, SMA, ABB, Sungrow, Growatt, SolarEdge

Hybrid Inverters: 

These inverters are also string based, however they have the added capability to connect a storage battery to the solar system without the additional components called retro fit adapter. These inverters also have the capability to keep running in the event of a blackout. Even though hybrid inverters are usually more expensive than a string inverter, but in the recent months the price of hybrid inverters have fallen and are now competing with string inverters.

Brand examples: Huawei, Fronius, Goodwe, SMA/Sunny Boy, SolarEdge

Battery Inverters: 

If you already have a solar system and you’re happy with your current inverter(s), but now you want to add a storage battery, then rather than swap out the inverter for a hybrid model, you could connect the battery in via a dedicated battery inverter. Battery inverters do the job of turning the stored battery power into AC power for your household circuits, and of course also deliver solar power to the battery for storage.

Brand examples: Enphase, SMA/Sunny Boy, Selectronics, Sonnen

Power Optimizer: option to deal with shading issues

Power optimisers are not inverters but can be fitted to a system with strings of panels and a string inverter. They have a similar effect to microinverters in that an optimizer attached to a solar panel will ensure that, should that panel become shaded, soiled, or fail in some way, the panel won’t affect the rest of the string’s output. They will add to the cost of the installation, though generally less than a full microinverter installation.

You can go for an integrated same-brand installation (inverter and optimisers) such as from SolarEdge, which also allows for software monitoring of the whole system. 

Some solar experts say, that a good installer may recommend installing optimisers only on the panels that really need them, i.e. the panels most prone to shading – a cost-effective way to improve system performance.

Brand examples: SolarEdge, Huawei

What size do I need?

The size of the inverter you need will depend on your usage of power. This can be found out from your electricity bill and your solar expert, designer should explain you how much power you require to generate to achieve the savings you are looking for.

The size of the inverter is rated in kilowatts (kW) and is the maximum amount of solar-generated power that the inverter can manage. 

The inverter’s maximum output capacity must be at least 75% of the solar array capacity.

Or, expressed another way, the array capacity can be up to 133% of the inverter capacity.

This rule is laid down by the CEC, and solar PV systems must follow their rules to qualify for STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates, the financial incentive scheme or “rebate” that applies to solar panel systems).

Warranties

Your inverter should last at least five years – and will usually have paid for itself in that time – but ideally should last 10 years or more.

Inverter warranties are typically five years, but look for warranties of 10+ years to cover the likely lifespan of the unit. For example, SolarEdge offers 12-year warranties and Fronius offers a five-year warranty with a free extra five years if you register the product online.

Extended warranties are often available but you will usually pay extra. We don’t usually recommend extended warranties for most products, but for peace of mind they may be worth considering in the case of your inverter, especially if you can negotiate one for low cost.

For consumers who have a problem with their inverter but can’t get help from the original installer, for example because the installer is no longer in business. The good news is that nearly all brands have stated that they’ll assist consumers in these cases and will support direct warranty claims.

Glen Morris from the Smart Energy Lab in Victoria points out that as long as your system (including the inverter) has already paid for itself, as it usually will after about five years or so, it’s not necessarily a disaster if your inverter fails outside its warranty period. While it’s certainly inconvenient to go without solar for a while, and to pay for a new inverter, you’re likely to get a better, more sophisticated inverter for the money than you could a few years previously.

Know your inverter:

Once it’s installed, familiarise yourself with your inverter. It will usually have a display and some indicator lights on it; get to know what these mean.

Whether you opt for smart software monitoring or just a visual check on the inverter’s indicator panel, it’s a good idea to periodically check in on your solar system. You’ll spot any problems early, and it will help you shift your electricity consumption to make maximum use of your own solar power. You don’t want to find out the hard way from an electricity bill that your system has been under-performing and you’ve been using grid power instead of solar!

Indicator panel and lights:

If the inverter has a display panel, this can show a range of data such as current power production, long term data and more.

Indicator lights will typically show whether the system is running normally, whether there’s a fault, whether the system is currently feeding power to the grid, and so on.

Have a look at the display/indicators from time to time, say monthly, to make sure there are no errors or warnings needing attention.

Monitoring systems

Many inverters and optimisers offer more sophisticated monitoring options. This is often done by a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth link to your home router. Your system’s performance is logged and can be accessed via an app or a website. You can see how your system performs across the day and across seasons, track power fed into the grid and more.

Note that if the inverter or optimiser brand goes out of business, the monitoring system might no longer be supported. Another good reason to go with major brands.

If the inverter doesn’t have a smart monitoring function, you could consider paying for a third-party monitoring system, such as Solar Analytics. These systems may involve ongoing fees for the service, but can deliver comprehensive reporting in return.

(source: https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/solar/buying-guides/solar-inverters)

Solar Inverter FAQ

  1. What does a solar inverter do?

The inverter is a device converts the power generated by the solar panels into usable power for our homes. The power generated in the solar panels is Direct Current (DC) to be usage with in a household it has to be converter to Alternating current (AC), this is the job of the inverter and is usually considered the most complex part of a solar pv system.

  1. What type of system is best for me?

If you are looking for not a very sophisticated system and have no shading on your roof then a string based system will suffice your needs.

  1. What size system should I put? 

The size of the inverter you need will depend on your usage of power. This can be found out from your electricity bill and your solar expert, designer should explain you how much power you require to generate to achieve the savings you are looking for.

  1. Why do I need a power optimized system?

Power optimisers are not inverters but can be fitted to a system with strings of panels and a string inverter. They have a similar effect to microinverters in that an optimiser attached to a solar panel will ensure that, should that panel become shaded, soiled, or fail in some way, the panel won’t affect the rest of the string’s output. They will add to the cost of the installation, though generally less than a full microinverter installation.

  1. What are the warranties on inverter?

Your inverter should last at least five years – and will usually have paid for itself in that time – but ideally should last 10 years or more.

Inverter warranties are typically five years, but look for warranties of 10+ years to cover the likely lifespan of the unit. For example, SolarEdge offers 12-year warranties and Fronius offers a five-year warranty with a free extra five years if you register the product online.

  1. What happens in case my inverter has some issues?

All inverters come with manufacturer warranties . If your inverter is within the warranty time period then your retailer should be able to replace it without any cost to you. If you want to purchase, extended warranties are often available but you will usually pay extra. For consumers who have a problem with their inverter but can’t get help from the original installer, for example because the installer is no longer in business. The good news is that nearly all brands have stated that they’ll assist consumers in these cases and will support direct warranty claims.

  1. Do I really need a monitoring system?

If you are opting for a optimized system then we suggest that monitoring will help you keep an eye on your system’s performance since the data is logged and can be accessed via an app or a website. You can see how your system performs across the day and across seasons, track power fed into the grid and more. Note that if the inverter or optimiser brand goes out of business, the monitoring system might no longer be supported. Another good reason to go with major brands.

To know mores your options contact us today or simply leave your contact details here. One of our friendly sales expert will be in touch with you.