Run by the sun
Run by the sun

How solar inverters work and why it's a crucial part of a PV solar installation

Friday 13 November 2015

SolarEdge-Inverter.jpg

Wiring for PV Solar installation with SolarEdge Inverter

Solar inverters or solar converters as they are often called, do exactly that - they convert the direct current (DC) from a PV solar system into an alternating current (AC) electricity so we can use the energy generated to power household and business goods. 

With this in mind, it is undoubtedly a crucial component of any PV solar installation. In order to maximise the power generated from a PV array, solar inverters use maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to sample the output of the solar modules.  

Run By The Sun are trusted partners of Fronius, SolarEdge and SMA solar inverters. As a solar panel supplier and installer, we are not tied to any particular manufacturer of solar panels, energy storage batteries or solar inverters. All our PV solar equipment is supplied and installed based on sound, practical advice and the right solution for your PV solar installation. 

Types of PV solar inverters, their characteristics and their benefits

Solar inverters are either linked to a number of solar panels (this is known as string inverters) or designed to work with one or two solar modules, commonly referred to as micro-inverters.

String Inverters

A string inverter can be used when the solar panels installed share the same conditions. This can be particularly challenging since a good proportion of PV solar systems we install may have panels in shaded areas or panels which are required to be at a different orientation. Carrying out a thorough solar survey determines how we install the solar panels so that you receive maximum benefit. There are also solar inverters in the market that are capable of coping with more than one string of solar PV panels operating in different conditions.

Micro-Inverters

Micro-inverters are installed to the back of each solar panel. This means when the performance of a panel is affected say by natural shading or other obstructions, it will not affect the overall performance of the system.

The real disadvantage of string inverters is that over the lifespan of a PV solar system they will need replacing. Micro-inverters are designed to last the lifetime guarantee of solar panels – typically 25 years. However, if they do fail the replacement cost also has to include the access cost of taking the solar module off the roof to access the micro inverter.

Because micro-inverters are installed to each solar panel, naturally this is a costlier solution which is why we tend to opt for interim between the string inverter and micro-inverter.

A solar inverter giving you the best of both worlds

Although we’re not tied to a particular manufacturer, if you were to ask us what our preferred PV inverter is, we would choose the inverter from SolarEdge. The inverter is installed with power optimisers – a DC/DC converter connected to each PV module – which increase energy output from PV solar systems by constantly tracking the (MPPT) of each module individually.

We tend to do less string inverters now due to the fact that an inverter such as the one from SolarEdge allows us to install solar arrays with shading issues, tilt variations and various module types all in the same string. String inverters are best suited for flat or pitched roof installations where all the solar modules are facing in the same orientation.

When the SolarEdge inverter is married with the SolarEdge PV solar monitoring platform, it can prove to be a very intuitive tool for monitoring the technical performance of the solar panels as well as their financial performance.

Offering maintenance for PV solar inverters throughout Leicester

Run By The Sun offer a maintenance service on solar inverters to ensure that it is achieving the best possible solar power harvesting. Improving your energy harvest fundamentally results in increased income.

For a quick health-check on PV solar system contact Simon on 0116 270 1926.