What Solar Inverter Do I Need?

June 17 2021

Man installing solar panels and solar inverters on the roof of a house

A solar inverter is responsible for converting direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). Without a solar power inverter, the energy collected by solar panels from the sun would be unusable.

Solar inverter sizing and type both play a role in electricity production. That’s why finding the best solar inverter is so important.

In this article, we’ll help you make the right decision. Learn more about the different solar panel inverter types and how to choose one. Plus, get information on inverter sizing and how it affects solar energy production.

Maximize efficiency and make the most out of your investment with the right solar inverter. Learn more below.

What Is a Solar Inverter?

A solar inverter converts the sun’s energy into usable electricity for your home. It does this by converting direct current output into alternating current output. Home appliances run on alternating current, so this step is key.

Inverters can convert energy either directly from panels or battery storage, depending on how your system is set up.

A solar inverter also performs data monitoring and utility controls, keeping your system running efficiently and effectively.

Solar Panel Inverter Types

There are two main solar panel inverter types: string inverters and module-level power inverters/electronics (MLPEs). Learn more about each one below.

String Inverters

String inverters are connected to multiple solar panels. Because of this, the output is capped by the lowest producing panel in the array. That means the performance of each individual panel will equal that of the worst performing panel.

These solar power inverters are larger and are installed in a central place with access to many panels.

String inverters are:

  • The most common solar panel inverter type
  • Low cost
  • Easy to install and operate

String inverters are more popular than other solar panel inverter types because of how user-friendly and affordable they are. This solar power inverter works best with systems where each panel receives equal amounts of sun throughout the day.

Module-Level Power Inverters

Module-level power inverters work on the individual panel level, rather than the system as a whole. While these options are typically more expensive, they can improve performance, especially in less ideal conditions like shade.

There are two types of MLPEs: microinverters and DC power optimizers. Microinverters are small inverters installed on the individual panels themselves. These inverters are attached to one or a few panels. However, they’re not responsible for as many panels as string inverters.

Power optimizers combine string inverter technology with the efficiency of MLPEs. In this setup, an optimizer is installed on each panel. There, they optimize the DC power and send it to a central string inverter.

The string inverter finishes converting the DC to AC energy. This dual system is a good option for homeowners who want the efficiency of an MLPE without having to invest in microinverters.

Power optimizers are typically more affordable than microinverters.

Solar Inverter Sizing

Now that you know more about solar panel inverter types, let’s discuss solar inverter sizing.

Solar inverter sizing is directly related to the size of your system. In general, match your solar inverter size to the DC rating on your system. For instance, if you have a 7 kW system, your inverter should have a size rating of around 7000 W.

When choosing a solar inverter, look for the sizing guidelines listed by the manufacturer on the product spec sheets. Keep in mind that if you use an inverter outside of manufacturer-specified guidelines, you risk voiding any solar warranties available to you.

Factors like location, tilt, and orientation all affect solar inverter sizing as well. Certain states have higher amounts of solar radiation, so a system might produce more energy in one location than another.

Site-specific factors affect the system’s derating factor. Higher derating factors will prevent a system from hitting its maximum energy output. That means these systems can get by with smaller inverter capacities.

A good installer will be able to help you find the right solar power inverter for your system. Learn more about how to find a trustworthy installation company below.

10 panel solar installation with microinverters

Finding the Best Solar Inverter

Finding the best solar inverter doesn’t have to be difficult. Use a qualified solar installer to help you make the right choices regarding your home solar system.

Not sure who to trust? Greenlife Solar can help. We pre-screen installers nationwide and work with the best companies to provide our visitors with pricing on all their options.

Find a trustworthy solar installer near you. They’ll walk you through solar inverter sizing for your specific location and setup. They’ll also help you choose the right solar power inverter and will install it for you.

Getting the best solar inverter for your system is crucial to your system’s efficiency. Make the most of your investment by choosing a reliable solar installer from the beginning.

Save money by comparing free price quotes from different companies upfront. Check out all your options before you commit.

Find the best solar inverter for your system and the best company to install it.

Compare Free Quotes From Solar Installers Near You.