Inverters

Inverters are basically the brains of a photovoltaic system.

They have two roles:

  • To convert DC current from your solar PV panels to AC current for use in your premises
  • To maximise the energy being generated from the panels.  This is known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT).

Inverters are generally wall-mounted and should typically be installed in a utility room or similar setting. This is preferable to installation in an attic area, just underneath the panels themselves, as it helps to regulate the working temperature – particularly on a bright and sunny day, when the attic is likely to be several degrees warmer than a utility room.

The other benefit of utility room installation (or similar) is that inverters normally have an LCD display to confirm the entire system is operating properly. Having this in an area where it will be regularly seen means that any warning message will be spotted much more quickly.

Inverter systems

There are three main types of inverter system – string inverters, micro inverters, and optimised inverters.

A string inverter system is the most common, and is suitable for the vast majority of installations. It sees all solar PV panels connected in series to one inverter. All the panels in the string must be at the same pitch and orientation, for this to operate at its most efficient.

A micro inverter system sees a smaller individual inverter linked to each panel. This overcomes inefficiencies that will develop in a string inverter system if one panel is shaded or suffers a fault. It also allows for easier diagnosis of any fault that may arise. As may be expected though, having an inverter for each panel can lead to expense.

In some cases, an optimised inverter system may be recommended. This is essentially a hybrid of the previous two, with power optimisers rather than micro inverters being connected to each panel, and these power optimisers then all linking to one central inverter. The inverter can now work more efficiently as it will always receive the same voltage from each panel, unlike in a string inverter system, where voltages can vary.

We will recommend what’s best

As part of our site survey and photovoltaic system design process, we will recommend which inverter system would be best for your installation. We can also provide an alternative choice and costing too, if desired.

Just contact us for further details and to start benefitting from our expertise today.