Selecting the Right Type of Solar Inverter for Your System

A solar inverter is the critical piece of equipment needed to transform the sun’s energy into usable electric power. An inverter is necessary to convert DC electricity to AC power for use in your home or business. You have a few options when it comes to this important component of your solar energy system, depending on your goals and requirements. Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of different inverter options.

String Inverter

The most common type of solar inverter is the string version, which can be used in both residential and commercial applications. This grid-tied option is known for being particularly efficient, which is what most people seek when they adopt solar technology. It’s also durable and relatively inexpensive. This will appeal to you if your goal for adopting solar is mainly to save money on electricity. An additional benefit is that you can remotely monitor this type of solar inverter, which is especially helpful if you have a business or rental home.

The main downside of string inverters is that the panels are strung together in sequence. So, if one panel is a little shaded and therefore produces less energy, the whole string of panels produces less.

Micro Inverter

Another grid-tied option is the micro inverter. This option was once a popular choice, but by the early 2000s, it was phased out because it was not as efficient or inexpensive as other options available at the time. However, it’s back now, and it’s considered better than ever, due to the improved technology used to make it. One of its best features is power point tracking, which allows homeowners to monitor how well their solar system is working. Additional benefits of this type of solar inverter include lower DC voltage, which is safer, and a simple, flexible design that allows it to be angled in various directions.

One of the drawbacks is the higher cost per watt, which tends to be double that of a string inverter. The installation and maintenance costs are also a little higher.

Stand-alone Inverter

This type of solar inverter is not tied to the electrical grid, which means if you’re working toward full energy independence, this is what you need. In this scenario, any energy that your solar panels generate will be stored in a battery, so you can use it during periods of full shade or darkness. The main advantage of a stand-alone system is that you will not be affected if the power goes out in your area. Stand-alone inverters are usually more expensive than other types; however, most customers believe that true energy independence and disaster readiness are worth the small difference in cost.

Other inverter options are available today, and the technology of existing options is improving almost daily. Choosing the right solar inverter for your system requires a bit of research and planning, and you must prioritize your goals. Contact Intermountain Wind and Solar to learn more about solar technology. Serving customers throughout the Intermountain West, IWS can answer all your questions about solar energy and how to choose the right solar inverter.

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