Solar Inverters

What are they & why are they important?

SMA Sunny Boy Inverter (single-phase) solar string inverter. Installed by Electrical Sensations in Toowoomba

What is a solar inverter?

The inverter is certainly one of, if not the most, critical components of the solar system.

The inverter is the heart of a solar power system. It converts the DC output of the solar panel to AC power that can be used by your home appliances. With a substandard inverter, your solar power system is at best, underperforming and at worst, an expensive white elephant on your roof. Choosing an inverter is an important decision and one that warrants significant research and investigation.

There are many different brands of solar inverters and the variance in terms of quality, performance and longevity are hugeMost inverter manufacturers have a single-phase option for the most common inverter sizes and fewer three-phase options. The most common inverter sizes for residential applications are 3kW, 5kW and 10kW. Most commercial solar installations are 3 phase starting at 10kW.

Table of Contents:

Types of Solar Inverters

String, microinverters & power optimisers

String inverters

 String inverters, like SMA & Fronius, are the most commonly installed inverter in Australian. Their job is to convert the DC power to AC. String inverters are usually located in a central location – commonly beside the switchboard or in the garage. There is typically only one central inverter per system.

micro inverters

Enphase microinverters are used for more complex installations where there may be partial shading or tilted panels at various angles and/or panels facing multiple directions. An individual microinverter is installed under each solar panel, meaning that the number of panels = the number of microinverters needed. 

Power Optimisers

Power optimisers consist of a unit (optimiser) mounted under each panel similar to a microinverter, plus a large central inverter in a similar place to where DC string inverter would be located. SolarEdge Power Optimiser systems are most suited to larger type systems that have shade or multiple orientations. 

Things to consider when choosing an inverter

Fronius Symo (three-phase) string inverter. Installed by Electrical Sensations in Toowoomba

Questions to ask:

  • Where the inverter is made?
  • How long has that company been in existence?
  • How long has that company been producing inverters?
  • What warranty is provided with the inverter and can it be extended?
  • Does the manufacturer have a reliable service network in Australia and/or allow the installer to carry out minor repairs?
  • Is there an Australian office and how many people are in that office? Is it just a token office with a salesperson?
  • Does the DC inverter have a display that is easy to read and understand? You should be able to see how much power is being produced. LED indicators for power production can be difficult to read and not as accurate as a digital display.
  • Can you connect a computer to the inverter to see what power is being produced or does it cost any extra to have that capability?

 Inverters brands we install

SMA

Known for its German engineering and design, SMA is renowned for producing reliable, compact, high performing solar inverters for the past 40+ years. Electrical Sensations is a proud SMA PowerUp Partner.

Click here to read more about SMA.

Fronius

Established in 1945, Fronius is an Austrian solar inverter manufacturer. Fronius inverters are globally recognised as amongst the industry’s highest-performing inverters. Electrical Sensations is a Fronius Solutions Partner. 

Click here to read more about Fronius.

solaredge

Known for their long warranties, safety features and monitoring advantages, SolarEdge is a trusted brand that we recommend for our customers with more complex installations.

Click here to read more about SolarEdge.

enphase

Enphase was founded in 2006 and manufactured the world’s first microinverter system in 2008. Since then, Enphase has grown exponentially and is widely considered the global leader in microinverter technology. 

Click here to read more about Enphase.

selectronic

The Australian owned, designed and manufactured Selectronic inverters are regarded in the solar industry as the leading inverter for off-grid (stand-alone) solar and battery applications.

Click here to read more about Selectronic.