A solar panel inverter is an important piece of equipment.
Solar photovoltaic panels generate DC electricity. Now unless all of your lights and appliances are powered by DC electricity, you will need an inverter to convert the DC electricity from the solar panel and batteries into AC electricity.
There is a multitude of models available. You just have to pick the right one. Since this will probably be the most expensive component in your solar installation, there is a tendency to opt for a cheaper inverter just to save a bit of money. Don’t fall into this trap!
Its true that most lower cost solar power inverters are fairly reliable. However, they do not have the same robust overload and control features that are found on more expensive models.
An accidental system overload when starting an appliance may result in inverter or battery damage when using lower priced inverters. So its better to be safe than sorry.
If money is tight or you are using something that will only need RV or boat-type 12-volt DC lights and appliances, consider the 1500-2500 watt range. This is about as low as you want to go. But this is still able to power a refrigerator or microwave oven.
Also, I would recommend you shop around as prices can vary wildly.
Investors in this technology include Rockport Capital Partners, Third Point Ventures and Applied Ventures, the VC arm of solar equipment manufacturer Applied Materials.
Enphase Energy’s CEO Paul Nahi said the company raised money earlier than expected due to strong demand for its microinverters.
So what are these microinverters?
The Enphase Micro-inverter shifts DC to AC conversion from a large, centralized solar panel inverter to a compact unit attached directly to each solar module in the power system.
Distributing the conversion process to each module makes the entire solar power system more productive, reliable, and smarter than traditional solar panel inverter systems.
Usually, one single inverter is used to a rooftop array of panels. Enphase Energy, however, have built a DC-to-AC inverter that is placed on each single panel.
This makes it more reliable than a centralized inverter and more efficient, so panels can generate more electricity, Nahi said.
Enphase has already started shipping its microinverters and has tied up deals with several panel distributors and installers.
The future of inverters?
Enphase Energy has been able to improve the DC-to-AC conversion efficiency to around 95%.
Because of this, Nahi predicted more companies will turn to decentralized inverters.
“There’s been very little question on the benefits of microinverters, but people didn’t think it was possible to get the efficiency levels required,” he said.
Now it seems that they have.