Whether you are looking forward to upgrading your home’s power supply system to a solar one or find a complex solution for your property, it is essential to choose a quality solar power inverter as its performance will directly affect your expenditures and the overall experience. In a nutshell, the inverter is responsible for transforming the power produced by a solar panel, which is called DC, into a rather common type of energy — AC.
Thus, it can be used for regular needs like powering devices around one’s home or office. Besides, these smart converters can collect and monitor data and, afterward, translate it online so that either the house owner or other relevant individuals are capable of analyzing it.
Unfortunately, it might get tricky choosing a suitable solar power inverter as panels differ in the size of the covered area and the amount of the consumed sunlight. Also, the building owner’s needs for electricity vary. Therefore, we have prepared a complete solar inverters review, which will shed some light on the technology itself and provide information about types, manufacturers, and the best options available on the market.
Varieties of Solar Inverters
Inverters come in various forms as some of them connect to all panels at once, while others are attached to each one individually. Also, there are products that combine these and some other approaches, creating unique solutions.
Types of solar inverters include:
- String Inverter — a chain of solar panels connected to a single DC to AC converter. A great option for shadowless areas as the efficiency of the chain’s electricity production depends on its weakest link.
- Microinverter — a smaller tool mounted beneath each panel instantly converting the produced power to AC. A good choice when control over each panel is needed.
- Power optimizer — a special module, which is set separately on each solar PV. It makes the performance of the system independent from its weakest link. However, power optimizers don’t convert the energy itself; hence, a string (or central) converter is required.
It wouldn’t be fair to state that there is a universal selection as there are lots of factors that should be taken into account before buying and installing a converter. Nevertheless, the only test, which they all should pass, is the trustworthiness of the solar inverter manufacturer.
The market is filled with suppliers from all over the world, and among them, one can meet brands like Fronius, SMA, SolarEdge, and Huawei, one of the leading companies in the high technology industry.
Best Solar Inverters
Choosing the best inverter for solar panels, numerous parameters and aspects should be considered. As it was mentioned above, the manufacturer’s experience and reliability are among the most vital ones as they define whether the PV converter will feature warranties and refunds in cases when they are necessary.
People usually switch to solar power intending to save a certain amount of personal funds. However, a bad inverter will directly influence the performance of the whole system, decreasing the amount of energy received. Thus, the box’s efficiency is another vital parameter.
Thanks to the information provided by the California Energy Commission, which is available for everyone, customers can compare different products based on the CEC’s efficiency index.
We all live in different environmental conditions with the temperature heading up and down; hence, implemented protection measures will be really advantageous and, in some cases, even become the final argument for the purchase.
Sometimes, the solar inverter cost reaches sums that might scare some customers away. Still, it is more preferable to spend some extra money on a high-quality product as it should serve for more than 15 years.
The last but, nonetheless, crucial determinative is the capacity or size of the device. It specifies the amount of DC energy generated by panels that will reach the house itself. Nobody wants to have his or her produced electricity be spent pointlessly.
According to numerous reviews, SMA is praised for its reliable and time-tested products, which are likely to function properly for over 10 years. This is a great example of the best German practices as buyers get the most for their money.
Thanks to the Secure Power Supply implementation, under perfect conditions (no shadows and obstacles for the sunlight), SMA’s latest product can generate 2,000 AC watts.
As soon as Sunny Boy is a smart DC to AC transformer, its owners can receive data via their smartphones as well as monitor its performance online. Besides, they can view visualized pieces of information through the Sunny Portal.
The device is a rather weatherproof solution as its operating temperature ranges from -40 °F to 140 °F. Also, there is a 10-year warranty applying to this solar energy inverter, which can be extended up to 20 years.
- CEC efficiency: 96.5%
- Average price: $1,920.00
SolarEdge is on the market of photovoltaic systems for more than a decade now, and it represents one of the top-notch suppliers in the industry. Warranties are among its strongest sides as its inverters and optimizers receive 12 (extendable) and 25-year support respectively.
The option provided by SolarEdge is one of the greatest examples of a solar system inverter of the third type, which features the implementation of power optimizers. It is the single preferable choice for house owners whose property is located among trees or other sunlight barriers. With SolarEdge SE10000H, the performance of panels that are darkened won’t affect the rest of them in the chain.
From the box, the branded software allows users to take a glimpse of the primary information, though customers are offered to pay some extra cash for more detailed and descriptive data.
The highest AC energy that SolarEdge SE10000H is capable of generating is 10,000 of VA. The box can be installed both indoor and outdoor. Moreover, it is secured according to the IP65 standard with bounds for weather conditions ranging from -4 °F to 140 °F.
- CEC efficiency: 99%
- Average price: $1,949.00
For more than 75 years, Fronius has been exploring the depth of the electrical energy industry and successfully releasing innovative welding, charging, and, lately, renewable energy products.
Their Promo series, and, in particular, Primo 6.0-1, are a solid choice when it comes to a solar inverter for home. It has many novelties like SnapINverter mounting, which considerably simplifies the setup process. Additionally, the device remains protected according to the IP 65 standard and has an integrated fan cooling system, which allows it to function properly in various environments.
Statistics and other useful data are available via the company’s website or dedicated Android and iOS apps. Users also receive alerts and other summaries on system malfunctions.
Simultaneously, two types of guarantees, for hardware and service, are applying to the product for a period of 10 years.
While Primo 6.0-1’s output can reach 6,000 VA, it is proceeded by rather loud noise, which is, actually, its only weak spot.
- CEC efficiency: 96.5%
- Average price: $1,900.00
Today, the telecommunication giant is also listed among the biggest suppliers of the best Chinese solar inverters. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the wide range of convenient hardware options, which let customers choose the most suitable model.
The device itself represents a rather plain one as it was designed to keep itself cool at all times without a fan being integrated. Nevertheless, it is ready to work properly in a range of conditions from -40 °F to 140 °F.
Note: Huawei warns that its lineup of SUN2000s isn’t prepared for locations with a high concentration of salt.
Unfortunately, there is no display but a few indicators on the box. However, Huawei SUN2000 makes up for it with its handy monitoring smartphone application.
- CEC efficiency: 99%
- Average price: $2,374.00
Pikasola WiFi Micro Solar Inverter
In case there is a need for full control over every piece of the power system, the second type, a micro PV inverter stack, is the ultimate solution, and Pikasola is the choice recommended by lots of professionals.
First of all, as it is mentioned in the product’s name, changes to the device’s setup can be made even remotely as it can be connected to a Wi-Fi network, which truly is an eye-catching advantage.
While being capable of connecting to 4 panels, Pikasola’s size is 1,200 watts (300 watts per connection).
There is only one disadvantage following this purchase, which is the warranty of only 1 year.
- Energy transmission: 99%
- CEC efficiency: Unavailable
- Average price: $368.88
Almost every single product released by Solax is marked as an ideal choice for those suggesting that the hardware should be easy-to-use for regular people and easy-to-install for specialists. Fresh owners can find all the necessary manuals online along with the Solax Cloud system, which is responsible for providing details about the PV converter’s functioning and access to the control panel.
Solax A1-Hybrid-8.6 can deal with a maximum of 10,320 watts and result in 8,600 VA of electricity. Also, it is a rather quiet device, which will keep operating properly within temperature conditions between -40 °F and 140 °F.
There are 2 guarantee options for 5 and 10 years for this solar battery inverter.
- CEC efficiency: 96%
- Average price: $3,376.00
Enphase Energy IQ7XS-96-x-US Microinverter
Thousands of people will easily recommend Enphase as the single hassle-free choice to be made. These statements are not accidental as statistics confirm that Enphase products are not likely to break down.
The company is also aware of this fact and offers its purchasers a generous warranty of 25 years, one of the highest offers on the market.
Each microinverter is capable of generating a maximum of 320 VA and is resistant to water and temperature changes (between -40 °F and 140 °F).
MyEnlighten, the software dedicated to monitoring and controlling purposes, is available for iOS and Android mobile devices as well as for desktop via the web browser.
- CEC efficiency: 97.5%
- Average price: $171.00
Kate is an environmental consultant specializing on green technologies and nature preservation techniques. She has more than 3 years of experience and worked with several non-profit organizations to save our nature from disruptive influence of people.