What's the best inverter for your solar system?
Thinking about solar?
Then you’ll need to become familiar with different inverter options.
Yeah I know, not the most interesting subject.
I’ll be quick!
So what’s an inverter?
Inverters convert the direct current (DC) produced by your solar panels into alternating current (AC) which is what your home needs.
There are 3 types of inverters: micro inverters, string inverters and string inverters with optimizers.
So which one is best for you.
Well with a string inverter, generally one inverter is all you’ll need for your entire solar array in order to convert DC to AC.
This string inverter is a large box mounted to a wall and the wires from each string of panels connect directly to this box.
A string inverter is great if you have NO roof shade because all of your panels will work together as one unit.
And string inverters are the least expensive option.
If your roof has shade, you might want to go with a micro inverter which will attach directly to the back of each panel.
This inverter allows each panel to work as a separate unit.
So if one panel is shaded it won’t affect the production of the whole string of panels.
A microinverter is more efficient than a string inverter.
And it’s visually appealing because you never see it.
Also, microinverters are more expensive, but have longer warranties.
Generally 25 years, whereas a string inverter might only be 10 -15 year warranty.
Finally, the optimizer. This technology is used with a string inverter to optimize the efficiency of each panel by putting an optimizer underneath.
Similar to a microinverter, an optimizer will prevent shaded panels from affecting the rest of the string and enable your array to produce more electricity.
And optimizers are a little less expensive.
So what’s best for you?
Well it depends. Ultimately, you have to weigh efficiency with cost.
Joe Collins is the owner of CIE Solar Energy, LLC www.ciesolar.com