How do inverters work?
- Individual solar panel performance (ie. other panels won’t be affected if one is impacted by shade, bird poo, leaf litter or 1 panel is underperforming). If ever there’s an issue with one of your panels, you get sent an alert and we do too, so you can resolve the issue right away.
- Individual solar panel monitoring via an app on your phone or PC, so you can see how each of your panels is performing at any given time.
- Future system expansion (by up to 300%)!
- Ability to bypass the grid operator from turning your system down or off when there’s too much surplus solar energy being exported in the middle of the day (possible when you install a battery).
- Smart home automation.
- Electric vehicle charging.
- Choose from a broader range of battery storage brands.
- Divert surplus solar energy to high-energy consuming appliances such as electric hot water systems, heat pump hot water, air conditioners, pool pumps, irrigation/stock watering pumps, underfloor heating and garden water pumps to start operating when there’s surplus energy. If a cloud then blocks the sun and your electricity production subsequently drops, the unit stops sending solar energy to these dedicated appliances.
- Longer warranty than other inverters (12 years; extendable to 25 years, compared to the average of 10 years).
- When the AC breaker is disconnected or the inverter is off/disconnected, the system automatically shuts down the voltage in the string wires to a touch-safe DC voltage.
SolarEdge optimised inverter technology
- Panel level performance and monitoring
- Ability to easily expand your system in the future
- Complete energy ecosystem: easily add EV charging, smart home automation and battery storage
Optimisers: 25 years
Inverter: 25 years (extendable to up to 25 years)
- Get individual panel performance so that other panels won’t be affected if one is impacted by shade, bird poo, leaf litter or 1 panel underperforming.
- Individual panel monitoring via an app on your phone or PC, so you can see how each of your panels is performing at any given time.
- Very reliable and efficient inverter technology
- Longer warranty than any other inverter technology
- Future-proofing functionality which allows for smart home automation, electric vehicle charging, battery storage, future system expansion and the ability to bypass the grid operator from turning your system down or off when there’s too much surplus solar energy being exported in the middle of the day (the latter is possible when you install a battery).
- The safest system on the market: when the AC breaker is disconnected or the inverter is off/disconnected, the optimisers automatically shut down the voltage in the string wires to a touch-safe DC voltage.
- Designed to seamlessly integrate with SolarEdge batteries, EV charger and smart home accessories, such as solar energy diverters and smart switches.
Fronius string inverter technology
- Robust and reliable
- Very high efficiency (97.8%)
- Able to easily add an AC-coupled battery at any time
10 year warranty
SunGrow string inverter technology
- High efficiency (98%)
- One of the best Chinese-made inverters
10 year warranty
- SunGrow manufacture both standard solar and also hybrid inverters, which easily allow the addition of a battery – with or without blackout protection.
- They’re economical to buy.
Types of inverters
There are 3 main types of solar inverters installed in Australia:
String system – most common, all the solar panels are connected in series on a string. If one panel reduces in performance because of shade, bird poo or leaf litter, all the other panels it’s connected to will produce at the lowest-performing panel’s output (a bit like the impact of one light going out in a string of Christmas lights). This obviously isn’t ideal. These type of solar inverters tend to have shorter warranties. However, they’re the most affordable systems you can buy.
Micro-inverters – the next generation. These resolve a few of the issues above but come with their own set of drawbacks. One micro-inverter is added to every panel and then installed on your roof which is a very hot and harsh environment. Micro-inverters consequently tend not to perform so well in extreme heat (they’re only rated to withstand up to 60°C, which a roof can easily reach in the middle of summer). Micro-inverter solutions are also the most expensive systems you can buy, as every panel needs its own inverter, driving the cost up, and installation involves a lot of work, adding lots of proprietary hardware to keep the 240V AC safe across your roof.
Optimised string system – this is the latest in solar technology. With this solution from SolarEdge, every panel has a small black box called an ‘optimiser’ mounted behind it. This maximises the power being produced by every panel, as they work together on the string like a team, so any shade on one panel is compensated for by the rest of the roof, maximising output. This clever technology is designed to work with smart home automation, electric vehicle charging and battery storage. One of the biggest perks of SolarEdge is its ability to bypass the grid operator from turning your system down or off when there’s too much surplus solar energy being exported in the middle of the day. And also being able to significantly oversize your system – even on single phase power.
Inverters we recommend
There are some really reliable string inverters available. eg. Fronius and SMA, but the main downside of this technology: if a panel is underperforming, all the other panels it’s connected to will reduce to the lowest-performing panel’s output.
For this reason and a raft of others, we tend to steer people towards DC Optimiser technology, which does a similar job to micro inverter technology (they both allow for individual panel performance, so if one panel’s performance is down, it doesn’t affect the rest of the system).
With SolarEdge, if there’s ever a fault, you’ll pick up on it right away. DC Optimiser technology is also more efficient (99.5%), comes with a much longer warranty (12 years; extendable to 25 years) and is compatible with a broader range of batteries than micro-inverters. It’s also very easy to add an electric vehicle charger or battery storage, as well as connect to smart appliances, so they run when your solar power system is on, enabling you to get the best return on investment from your solar power system.
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