Best Solar Inverters in Australia
The solar inverter is the second most vital part after the panels in a solar PV system, choosing the best solar inverters among many available ones is crucial for your solar system’s overall output. The primary job of any solar inverter is to convert DC power by solar PVs into AC power for home use. Inverters also help consumers to measure their overall power consumption.
Most people don’t know that the inverter is the part in a solar system that is most likely to fail in its 10~15 years of life. That’s for, like panels, they work around 10 hours a day and convert thousands of watts of DC power. Usually set outdoor, inverters may also bear rough climates, dust, heat, rain, etc.
When it comes to inverters, there are dozens of brands and hundreds of models to chose from. Even with some know how, cut through the noise and choose the best solar inverters is hard. Let alone, you need to buy solar once in your life, and you are new to it.
Types of Solar Inverters and their Pros and Cons
There are three main types in which you can classify solar inverters, and these types are as under:
- String Inverters
- Micro Inverters
- Hybrid inverters
All the types of inverters have one primary function; to convert DC power into AC power. However, converter types base on the method for power conversion and position in a solar system. Here we will discuss all three types of inverters one by one.
However, string inverters have some significant drawbacks that are worth consideration.
Partial shading: The main issue in string inverters comes due to partial shading on solar panels. Though only one of the solar panels is in the shade, output from all panels affects at the same rate. That’s because the solar panels are connected in series
Solar system expansion: A string inverter needs power near its own capacity to perform best. For example, for a 5 kW inverter, you should install panels with a power output of about 5 kW. Suppose you need to expand your solar
system and need more solar panels. In that case, you may need an additional
inverter and route all panels to it.
Shorter Lifespan: String inverters usually have a short lifespan, around 10 to 15 years. As compared, Micro Inverters can work efficiently for up to 25 years.
*SMA is the leading brand of string inverters
Hybrid inverters are the combo of an inverter and a storage battery. Thus, a hybrid inverter not only converts and manages current but also charges a battery system. In case of a blackout, the hybrid solar inverters can switch to battery storage. As a result, they may provide an even power switch. With this feature, expect the prices a little higher than the standard string inverters.
Pros and Cons of Hybrid Inverters
Due to unified battery storage, hybrid inverts have significant gains over others. Some are listed below:
- Even Power Supply: Due to the storage battery, the power supply is constant. The battery act as an inverter in case of a blackout.
- Low maintenance: Hybrid units are less prone to failures.
- Optimum Use of Green Energy: Due to the storage option, hybrid inverters ensure max use of reaped energy.
Hybrid inverters also have some downsides, such as:
- High Cost: Inverters include a battery system and are expensive for this reason.
- Slow ROI: Payback time is very high
- Limited Backup Power: Backup power is little, and in case of a blackout, you can’t run all appliances.
Monitoring is a prime function of solar inverters. If the monitoring function of your inverter is accurate, it is beneficial to determine the power yield and consumption. Reliable monitoring is also crucial to help you detect any fault in your solar system and rectify it.
The warranty period that budget brands offer is usually around five years. While best brands of solar inverters generally provide ten years of warranty and excellent services as well. The failure rate is meagre in quality brands’ inverters compared to the inverters of budget brands.
SolarEdge offers 12 years warranty period for solar inverters.
Top brands also ship a replacement unit within 2~5 days at their own cost. On the other hand, budget brands will ask to send a faulty unit to their repair site at your expense. Also, they may take much time to rectify even minor problems, and a complete repair can take months.
Clean Energy Council (CEC) is a non profit association. It signifies and works with Australia’s top renewable energy providers and solar installers. To assist and promote the clean energy industry in Australia, CEC guides consumers towards purchasing the best solar products.
CEC approves and enlists solar retailers and products (panels, inverters, batteries, etc.) that fulfil evident industry standards and criteria. To meet the modern advances and needs of the solar industry, CEC updates and publishes these lists every so often.
At the time, there was a list of 1,444 inverters and power conversion equipment (PCE) of 111 brands on CEC’s website. So, if a solar retailer claims to offer the best solar inverters in Australia, always look for CEC approval.
Top inverter brands like SMA, Fronius, ABB, and SolarEdge offer significantly more life than the budget ones. As the choice of inverter plays a vital role in your power output, and a poor inverter will blow the ROI of your solar system.
Investing in a solar PV system usually sustains and benefits for twenty to thirty. Therefore, a quality solar inverter has a vital role in getting this goal. It is a fact that inverters of low quality have failed in NSW climate and other hot regions of Australia. For this reason, we at Ultimate value best solar inverters over premium panels if your budget is low.