10 things you should know about a solar inverters
Your car wouldn’t get very far without an engine.
Your computer wouldn’t start without a CPU.
And your solar power system won’t work without a solar inverter.
The word “solar inverter” may sound complicated…
But don’t let the technical terminology scare you off.
If you’re going to install solar in your home…
You’re going to want to become well acquainted with solar inverters.
What is a solar inverter?
You can think of a solar inverter as being like a translator for a foreign language.
Think of a time when you’ve overheard someone speaking a language you didn’t understand.
You’d need a translator if the words were to be of any use to you.
The same is true for electricity…
Your electrical devices at home don’t speak the same electrical language as the sun.
A solar inverter closes the gap between the two different types of electrical languages.
The solar inverter receives the direct current (DC) energy input from the sun.
Then it outputs it into alternating current (AC) energy, which your devices can understand.
In other words, the solar inverter sends power to your television, phone, computer, fridge, washing machine etc.
As you can see, a solar inverter is an important part of a solar power system.
This means it’s also one of the most expensive components.
How much does a solar inverter cost?
The cost of a solar inverter depends on a couple of things.
For one thing, the solar inverter’s size has an impact on its cost.
The size of a solar inverter is measured by the amount of power it can output.
This is represented in kilowatts (kW).
The bigger your home, the more kilowatts you’ll need to power your home.
The brand of a solar inverter will also determine how much it costs.
Solar is notorious for rogue manufacturers that make cheap and nasty products.
So rather than going for bargain-basement prices, look for legitimate names in the market.
Saving money with cheap products will likely result in a faulty install.
When it comes to high-quality solar inverters, Fronius is at the top of the list.
Fronius inverters come with a warranty, and they provide excellent after-sales service.
What size solar inverter do I need?
The solar inverter size you need depends on the size of your home.
Most households need a solar inverter between 5 to 6 kilowatts (kW) in size.
If you own a larger house, you may need to go up to around 10 kilowatts.
How to choose a solar inverter?
The price of solar installation has come down in recent years.
But it’s still a relatively big investment for homeowners.
A solar inverter is a large part of the investment.
This means if you’re going to install solar, you need to choose the right products.
The right solar inverter should last for around 10 years and be covered by warranty.
It should also be supported by an ongoing maintenance plan.
For example, some consumers have been left high and dry by their solar manufacturer going out of business.
If you want to choose the right solar inverter for you, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you live in a small, medium or large home?
- Do you use more power during the day or night?
- What solar inverter brands are within your budget?
- Which electrical installers do you trust?
What is a hybrid solar inverter?
There are two main types of mainstream solar inverters in Australia:
- String solar inverter
A string solar inverter is the standard type of residential inverter.
Most solar installs in Australia are string inverters.
The solar panel layout is in a “string” of rows.
This system is low-cost. It also connects to an app that allows you to monitor your energy usage.
- Hybrid solar inverter
A hybrid solar inverter has the same functions as a standard inverter.
It also has the additional ability to store energy for later use.
This type of inverter is more costly to buy.
It’s recommended for people who mainly use energy during the night.
How is a solar inverter connected to the grid?
“The grid”, also known as the electric grid, transmits electricity from energy producers to consumers.
String solar inverters and hybrid solar inverters are connected to the grid.
When solar is installed at your home, Ergon or Energex will connect your meter to the grid.
Any solar power generation from your solar panels that goes unused by you, goes into the grid.
The energy companies buy this back from you.
At the time of writing consumers pay around 24c per kilowatt.
Consumers sell the electricity back to the grid at around 8c per kilowatt.
How to read solar inverter meter?
Reading a solar metre for a string solar inverter is easy.
You’ll have access to your meter readings through an app 24/7.
The readings will show you how much solar power is being generated and used by your household…
You’ll be able to track the figures over the day, week, month, and year.
This means you can compare your power bill to your solar meter every quarter.
A solar inverter is the brains of your solar power system.
Make sure you do your research before you jump into a solar install.
Pulse Electrical can help you understand more about solar inverters.
They can also provide a solar quote, without the pressure that resellers put on their customers.