Inverters are the ‘brains’ behind a solar system. An inverter is ultimately responsible for ‘inverting’ the DC current from your panels into AC current, allowing it to be used by your house, your battery or the grid.
There are three primary types of inverters: string inverters, micro inverters and hybrid inverters (technically there are also central inverters and battery inverters, but we won’t be covering those here).
String inverters are the most common type of inverter for residential use (although micro inverters are becoming more popular). Most residential systems generally have one string inverter per installation, which is responsible for the ‘string’ of panels. String inverters are about the size of a large backpack and are typically installed on an external wall or inside a garage.
Micro inverters are becoming more common, but they are generally more expensive than string inverters.
Micros are small inverters that are installed on the underside of each panel and are responsible for the power inversion of an individual panel. This can be especially beneficial for monitoring and optimising the performance of each panel and for managing partial shade. If a single panel in a string system gets dirty or even fails, the entire system is affected with no way of knowing which panel is the culprit. In a micro inverter system, the problematic panel would be reported, and the other panels would continue to perform optimally.
Hybrid systems enable you to connect batteries directly to the inverter through a technique called DC coupling. This means that the DC power from your panels can feed the battery directly. In a non-hybrid system, the power from your panels is converted from DC into AC (to connect to the grid and to your house) and is then converted back into DC again to charge the battery. This ‘double handling’ of power inversion means that a non-hybrid system is susceptible to greater energy losses than a hybrid.
In a hybrid system, the inverter is also responsible for managing the charge and discharge of the battery, which means it can often be smarter about how and when it uses the battery.Instant Solar Pricing
Which inverter is right for me?
Your choice of inverter totally depends on your needs. Some things to consider when making your decision are:
- Are you looking to add a battery?
- How much power do you use and at what time of day?
- What is your budget?
- Is shading an issue?
- Do you want in-depth metrics on your system’s performance?
- Do you have space for a wall mounted inverter (string or hybrid), or is a micro inverter more suitable for your space?
We also have a helpful product comparison tool, which you can find here.
If you’d like to speak to one of our team as you consider your options, we’d love to help you out! Give us a call on (08) 8374 1491, or contact us here.Compare Inverters
Some of our inverter brands
While solar panels might be what’s visible on top, Enphase knows it’s the inverters that do all the real work. This is why their advanced inverter technology means greater production and greater reliability. Enphase prides themself on rigorous reliability testing and meticulous manufacturing.Explore Enphase
With more than 35 years in the business of solar, SMA is setting high standards by driving new technological developments, contributing to the digitalised future of solar. Their groundbreaking inverter technology is moving solar from pioneer-phase into the everyday norm.Explore SMA
Four words sum up what Sungrow is all about: clean power for all. They also value top-shelf customer satisfaction, which doesn’t end with product delivery – they’re with customers throughout the entire solar process.Explore Sungrow
ABB’s commitment to sustainability is not only shown through their production of solar energy solutions, but in everything from the sourcing of materials to the disposal of waste. The environment is pretty important to them. And if you’re looking to invest in solar, we’re guessing it’s pretty important to you too.Explore ABB
Fronius’s 25 years of experience in solar stemmed from the development of their first inverter in 1995. They’re built on the holy trinity of solar – quality, service and sustainability – so they’ve got their priorities in the right place.Explore Fronius
SolarEdge works hard to prove that they’re world leaders in smart energy technology, focusing relentlessly on innovation. They power the lives of thousands all around the world, while they continue to push the boundaries toward innovation and progress.Explore SolarEdge